Unfortunately, the unfortunate happened…
Many hunters knew it was only a matter of time before a relatively new, trendy, and effective turkey hunting tactic known as reaping or fanning would lead to a horrific hunting accident in the field. It was just that for a group of turkey hunters hunting the Kansas opener this past weekend.
For those that don’t know what turkey fanning or turkey reaping is, it’s when you, as the hunter, hide behind a fully expanded turkey fan and crawl towards a gobbler. Once the gobbler sees an “intruder” it usually triggers him to come running towards you to defend his turf. If that doesn’t make sense, just search “turkey reaping” on YouTube to see for yourself.
Obviously, you can see the dangers incorporated with using this method – especially when many hunters use real turkey fans to hide themselves. In an article I wrote about a successful turkey fanning mission, I stressed the dangers associated with this hunting technique. It reads as follows…
This method of turkey hunting can be extremely dangerous. Hunters should avoid using this method of hunting on public or leased lands, or anywhere that there may be other hunters in the area. Hiding behind a strutting tom decoy or fan should not be done in dense forested areas. Use extreme caution.
I highly prefer to call birds into range rather than pretending to be one, but if/when I do attempt to stalk behind a fan, I know I’m the only one on the land and do it in open fields where it’s easier for another hunter to see it’s not a real turkey, should there be someone in the vicinity. There’s always a potential for a trespasser, which is why I rarely use the reaping method.
Unfortunately, in Kansas, a group of three hunters split up into two groups on the same lease and one hunter ended up shooting the other two as they hid behind a fan, likely working in on the same actual live gobbler.
Here is a report of the hunting accident as written in Parsons Sun News:
A sheriff’s deputy spoke to the person who shot the hunters. The man reported being dropped off at the hunting area about dawn. His two acquaintances were going to a nearby location to hunt.
At about 8:40 a.m. the man said he shot at a turkey that he had been “calling-in,” but realized immediately after firing a single 12 gauge shot that his two friends had been hunting the same turkey. The two hunters who were injured were just inside of a wooded area, wearing camouflage and laying behind a turkey fan made of turkey feathers. The fan gives the appearance of a decoy turkey and the subjects could not be seen by the shooter, Sheriff Peak reported.
The victims were hit with shotgun pellets in the face and upper body. The hunter who shot them rendered aid and both hunters walked back to their truck, from which they were transported to the hospital.
The three hunters knew each other. One is a good friend of the shooter and the other is the shooter’s brother.
The investigation continues into the shooting.
Bottom line is BE SAFE! No turkey is worth injury or death. Please pray for those involved.