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Wildlife officer offers turkey season reminders

Hunters should be happy, because turkey season is here.

Youth Turkey season (for male or bearded turkeys only) began April 6, while the statewide turkey season began April 13 and will run through May 11, according to David Ritzheimer, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) officer.

Ritzheimer emailed the SNAP a few reminders and safety tips for hunters to remember during turkey season.

Hunters must have a valid hunting license for the wildlife they are hunting and they need written permission from the landowner or the lease of property where they are hunting.

Hunters must always make sure to keep the muzzle of their gun pointed in a safe direction and know what is in front and beyond their target.

Use caution when stalking a turkey because if you hear a turkey call, it could be coming from another hunter trying to lure turkeys. Also, never hunt turkey with the aid of bait.

When hunting turkey, never wear a color of clothing (like red, white, blue or black) that matches the color of the turkey. To be safe, Ritzheimer recommends hunters wear camouflage when hunting turkey.

Always be still and quiet because though turkeys can’t smell well, they do have very good eyesight.

Reporting poachers is also an important part of hunting.

The General Assembly created the Wildlife Poacher Reward Fund Rule in 2014 to encourage any concerned citizen who witnesses a conservation offense to report the violation.

The NCWRC established the NC Turn-In-Poachers (TIP) program as a silent witness, anti-poaching program that encourages the public to report any suspicious activity or knowledge about poaching violations.  The multi-optioned reporting system is available all day, every day of the year.

If hunters see any poachers, they can call 1-855-WILDTIP, text WILDTIP to 274637 or they can go to www.ncwildlife.org to fill out an online tip reporting form. All tips remain anonymous.

The NCWRC pays rewards to people who provide information that results in the arrest and conviction of poachers. The rewards range from $100 to $1,000 depending on the severity of the crime. To be eligible for rewards, people must provide their names to the NCWRC.

“Remember, what you do as a hunter reflects on us all,” Ritzheimer wrote.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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