Some of the saddest stories in turkey hunting happen after you pull the trigger. And they are nearly 100% preventable. On this episode I am going to talk about what you should do immediately after shooting a turkey to make sure you take the bird home, and you make it home safe. This is about much more than the obvious.
There are two big concerns that present themselves immediately after pulling the trigger on a turkey.
- The first one is staying focused and on task until you can 100% confirm a clean ethical kill and the bird is not just stunned or wounded and about to run or fly away.
- The second one is safety for yourself and other people or property. So many things awful things have happened when people let their guard down and begin to celebrate a successful turkey hunt. Adrenaline is pumping, excitement is soaring, and we can easily make bad and unsafe decisions, and I am talking about a lot more than firearms accidents.
You will want to celebrate a successful turkey hunt, and you should. It is a great accomplishment. But many birds have been lost because people celebrated prematurely, and life and limb have been lost because hunters celebrated recklessly. YOU MUST take responsible action immediately to confirm the kill and then set a handful of events in order to assure safety. Yes, shotgun safety is paramount, but there are other serious injuries that can occur beyond firearms accidents.
When a turkey goes down, even with the cleanest possible kill, it will still often thrash and flail on the ground. Kind of like a chicken with its head cut off. The bird is dead. It is not suffering, but the nervous system of the creature is in shock and muscles will continue to spam, sometimes off and on for a few minutes. It is easy to forget that turkeys are armed with brutal spurs that can cause serious damage to people. Children are especially at risk for being injured as a result of moving too quickly.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that the hunt is not over until you have confirmed the bird is not breathing and tagged the turkey, and you are not out of danger until you are in your vehicle. Some of the worst accidents happen while walking out of the woods with a dead turkey. You all of these issues are largely preventable.
If the first thing you do is stop and pull out your cell phone to take photos and text people, you may find no bird to take photos of and have no idea where the bird went. You may also find yourself moments away from a terrible injury that you will likely not see coming.
In this podcast episode I share several real-life events from new hunters, professional hunters, and youth hunters where the simple steps I outline were not known or not followed. Taking very simple, obvious precautions can help you make sure you fill your tag with a spring gobbler and get you home in one piece to tell the story.
Listen to the full episode to hear it all.