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NC: Hunting becoming more dangerous in North Carolina

April 8, 2010

Turkey hunting can be a dangerous sport

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - More hunters are taking up the sport of hunting turkeys in our area. With more guns in the woods, the number of shot gun related accidents have increased.

Last year, 3 people died while hunting in North Carolina and 40 other people were injured. Some of these injuries came from Columbus, Pender, Robeson and Brunswick counties.

Many accidents happen when a hunter tries to "stalk" his prey. Hunters should call the turkey from a seated position and allow the bird to come to them. When hunters "stalk" or "chase," they can easily become unaware of what's around them. Often they shoot at the sound of the gobble, which turns out to be a fellow hunter.

Lieutenant Matt Long with the North Carolina Wildlife Commission said stalking is the least successful and the most dangerous method of hunting.

The hunter who is calling will be the first to see the other hunter. "His job, in order to protect himself, is to say in a quiet voice, 'Hey, I'm not a turkey. Don't shoot!'" said Lt. Long.

Unlike other animals, turkeys can see color. Hunters are not required to wear blaze orange which easily identifies them in the brush.

"If the hunter wore blaze orange, he would never kill a turkey," said Lt. Long. "The turkey would see the color and go the other way."

Still, hunters forget that even a red bandanna or a white t-shirt turns them into a colorful moving target. Those are the same colors found on the bird.

"A hunter is looking for red, white, blue and black," said Lt. Long. "Those are the colors of the turkey and if he sees them, he's going to key in on them and say, 'There's a bird' and get ready to shoot."

Hunters can only hunt male turkeys and use a shot gun or a bow.

Turkey hunting season starts Saturday, April 10th and last until May 8th.

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