News release: Firearms safety is key to a successful turkey hunt

April 18, 2024

With tens of thousands of hunters set to hunt wild turkeys between now and the end of May, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources encourages them all to prioritize safety and remember a safe hunt is a successful hunt.

Hunting overall is a safe activity, and the DNR generally sees few firearms-related incidents specific to turkey hunting. However, even one injury – let alone a fatality – is one too many. Following are a few tips to help ensure a safe turkey hunt:

  • Treat every firearm/crossbow as if it is loaded.
  • Control the muzzle.
  • Be sure of the target and what’s beyond.
  • Hunters should keep their finger off the trigger until they are ready to shoot.
  • If hunting from a ground blind on public land, remember the blind must have a blaze orange safety covering on top of the blind that is visible from all directions or a patch made of blaze orange material that is at least 144 square inches on each side of the blind.

“Turkey hunting is a great way to get youth involved in the outdoors and for parents or mentors to reinforce the importance of always practicing safety in the field,” said Capt. Jon Paurus, safety training education manager for the DNR Enforcement Division.

Paurus also said firearms safety education is a key reason why the number of hunting incidents in recent years is far below historical averages . DNR volunteer instructors put on firearms safety classes and field days throughout the state. People should plan well in advance, as these trainings tend to fill quickly. See the DNR safety training calendar for a list of classes and field days, and to sign up to receive notifications as soon as new ones are added.

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