Ministry talks turkey with hunters

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is urging hunters to be safe during the wild turkey hunting season that gets under way April 25..The ministry says that conservation officers will be out over the spring months contacting hunters.  While in the field conducting inspections, conservation officers will ask to see licences and inspect firearms.“Make sure you keep your licences with you as you hunt,” the ministry says in a news release.The ministry issued the following tips to follow 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.• With a few exceptions, it is illegal to have a loaded firearm in or on a vehicle, or to discharge a firearm from a vehicle (including an all-terrain vehicle).• 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.• Make sure you have landowner permission when hunting on private lands.The ministry issued the following tips on how to gain access to and use of private property:• 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.Hunters with question are urged to contact the ministry enforcement unit for the southern district at 1-800-667-1940.“Our conservation officers are here to help you and answer any questions you may have,” the ministry says.To report a natural resources violation, call the ministry TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free any time or contact the local ministry office during regular business hours.Violations also can be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).Visit Ontario.ca/mnrftips to view an interactive, searchable map of unsolved cases. “You may be able to provide information that will help solve a case,” the ministry says. read more