Daylight has lengthened and cold winds have finally given way to warm, gentle breezes, for the most part, anyway. This is the special time of year when many of us enjoy being outdoors, a welcome escape from the four walls that almost held us hostage just a few months back.
Our beautiful spring season provides many opportunities — be it fishing, hiking, bird watching, searching for Indian artifacts, searching for delicious morels or just taking in the splendor of our natural environment coming alive with new birth.
Spring also ushers in our state’s wild turkey hunting season which this year runs from April 23 to May 11. IDNR turkey specialist Steve Backs expects more than 20 percent of hunters will see success during the 19-day season. He believes over 12,000 birds will be taken by Hoosier hunters.
We’ve come a long way from the 62 hunters who took part in Indiana’s first wild turkey hunting season back in 1970. Last year, more than 60,000 sportsmen and women took to the wood lots in search of our state’s premier game bird and this year may be even higher.
Because of the huge number of people who will take advantage of the numerous spring time outdoor offerings, safety becomes paramount. Unlike our fall and winter seasons when the majority of those enjoying our natural consumptive resources are hunters, it’s a bit different during spring. Hunters need to recognize they may not be alone in the woods, even when on remote private property.
According to the National Safety Council, hunting is a relatively safe activity, resulting in fewer injuries per 100,000 participants than other activities like cycling, golf, tennis and yes, wait for it ... even bowling. However, as with any activity, you must always use good judgment and take full responsibility for your actions.
I am always reminded of one particular incident told to me by Robert Parson while turkey hunting a private Cass County farm.