With the wild turkey season starting up on Thursday the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is offering hunters some safety tips.

Conservation officers will be out over the spring months contacting hunters. While in the field conducting inspections, conservation officers will ask to see your licences and to inspect your firearms. Make sure you keep your licences with you as you hunt.

Conservation Officers want to remind everyone of some important information when hunting:

• At no time can you shoot from or across a roadway.
• Always handle firearms with care and attention.
• Never drink alcohol or take impairing drugs while hunting.
• It is illegal to have a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle, or discharge from a vehicle (including an all-terrain vehicle). There are a few exceptions noted in the Hunting Regulations Summary.
• Don’t wear red, white or blue beneath your camouflage, those colours show up on turkeys and you may be mistaken for one.
• Set up to call in open areas where you can see 40 to 60 yards.
• Sit against a tree or rock as wide as your back. This provides a shot-proof barrier covering your entire back and with a view 180 degrees to your front.
• If you see another hunter approaching your calling post, don’t wave your hands. Sudden movement could be mistaken for a turkey flushing in the brush. Whistle or speak out in a normal voice.
• Keep your shotgun’s safety on until you are ABSOLUTELY SURE OF YOUR TARGET AND BEYOND.

A wild turkey (MNRF)

Hunters also need to make sure they have the landowner’s permission to do any hunting on private lands. The MNRF is offering tips on how to secure that permission:

• Always ask for permission before entering private land, including to retrieve game.
• Plan ahead and get permission from the landowner well in advance of your trip.
• Don’t assume you have permission this year just because you had permission
last year.
• Ask the landowner what activities are permitted on their property.
• Do not use off-road vehicles, camp, damage vegetation, construct a permanent
structure (tree stands, blinds or platforms) or store personal property on their
land without permission.
• Ask the landowner where certain activities are allowed to avoid disturbing the
landowner’s neighbours, pets or other animals such as livestock.
• Ask about any other special concerns – if the landowner’s family is likely to be
in the woods or fields and where the property boundaries are located.
• Be sure to thank the landowner.

The MNRF says hunters with further questions can reach out to local MNRF enforcement units.