JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Spring turkey hunting season begins April 17, 2017 and runs through May 7,2017. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is urging people to practice safety while in the woods or hunting during turkey season.

A news release from the Missouri Department of Conservation says there is a popular fad catching on and could potentially be dangerous. The fanning turkeys fad is a technique that involves someone hiding behind a turkey fan and moving it around to attract other turkeys. The MDC does not recommend this technique because you could be mistaken for game.

A hunter being mistaken for game is the most common cause for turkey hunting incidents. MDC Protection Field Chief Randy Doman says, “Each year, most turkey hunting incidents involve hunters who shoot at sound, color, or movement. It’s very important to always identify your target and know what’s beyond it before aiming the gun at it and squeezing the trigger.”

Any turkey hunters or individuals planning on being in the woods during turkey season are encouraged to wear hunter orange.

The Missouri Department of Conservation gives the following spring turkey hunting safety tips:

  • Identify a turkey’s head and beard before aiming.
  • Never shoot at sound or movement. Assume it is another hunter until you can clearly see a turkey’s head or beard.
  • Wear hunter orange when walking through the woods.
  • Use hunter orange to identify your hunting location.
  • Wrap a bagged turkey or decoy in hunter orange when transporting it.
  • Dress defensively. Never wear red, white, blue, or black clothing because it resembles a turkey.
  • Be sure of your target and what lies beyond.
  • Never follow the sound of a gobbling turkey or attempt to sneak up on turkeys. Always call turkeys to you.
  • Sit against a large tree or other natural barrier to shield yourself from hunters approaching from the rear.
  • Shout “STOP” when another hunter approaches. Don’t move, wave, whistle, or make turkey calls to get their attention.

For more information visit the Missouri Department of Conservation website.