Turkey hunting courses aim to reduce accidents in Delaware
Before they can hunt for wild turkey, Delawareans need to enroll in a hunter education course.
The state has never seen a turkey hunting-related accident, and Hunting Education Coordinator Mark Ostroski with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said he attributes that to turkey hunting safety courses that have been going on since 1994.
“With turkey hunting, everyone is hunting on the ground in camouflage clothing replicating the sound of a turkey,” Ostroski said. “So it’s a time where you have to be aware of the rules and the regulations and the safety parts that go along with the turkey hunting because you don’t want to be mistaken for a turkey and you don’t want to be shot.”
“Mistaken for game” is the no. 2 hunting-related accident, second to falling out of a deer stand.
DNREC is holding hunter education courses from the end of this month through March. The courses teach about laws, regulations and the biology and behavior of wild turkeys. At the end of the course, hunters are given a 25-question test they must place 80 percent or higher on in order to pass the class.
Ostroski said it’s necessary for turkey hunters to complete this course to receive a Delaware turkey hunter safety card, which they must have in order to legally hunt the bird in the First State.
“If you follow the instructions of the class, most folks walk out of here more knowledgeable and safe, ethical turkey hunters,” Ostroski said.
Spring wild turkey season will run Saturday, April 8 through Saturday, May 6.
Hunting education courses will be held in Kent County Saturday, Jan. 28 through Sunday, Jan. 29 and Saturday, March 11 at the Little Creek Hunter Education Training Center, 3018 Bayside Drive, Dover, DE.
In New Castle County, the program will be held Saturday, Feb. 11 through Sunday, Feb. 12 at Ommelanden Hunter/Trapper Education Training Center and Range, 1205 River Road, New Castle, DE. Sussex County course dates are to be determined.