DNR offering free hunter education courses throughout state

Indiana Conservation Officers are encouraging hunters to be safe this spring when taking to the woods.

Indiana Hunter Education is a good place to begin and is required in order to purchase a license for anyone born after Dec. 31, 1986.

A person unable to complete Hunter Education may purchase up to 3 Apprentice Licenses in his or her lifetime, which allows them to hunt with the assistance of a licensed hunter at least age 18.

The DNR is offering free hunter education courses throughout the state. An online course is also available; however, there is a fee. A complete list of upcoming Hunter Education classes can be found online at www.passitonindiana.com. Online registration is recommended to ensure a seat in the class.

The 2013 spring turkey season opens April 24 and runs through May 12.  The youth spring turkey season is April 20-21. Hunters are allowed to take one male or bearded turkey during the regular spring season or during the youth season.

Indiana Conservation officers offer these safety tips for you to follow while turkey hunting:

• Whistle or shout to alert approaching hunters of your position.

• Never wave or stand up.

• Never sneak in on a turkey or use a gobbler call near other hunters.

• Never crowd another hunter working a bird.

• Never shoot at sound or movement.

• Be extremely careful using turkey decoys.

• Do not wear red, white, or blue outer wear or exposed inner clothing.

• Don't assume you are the only hunter in the area.

• Be certain of a hunting partner's location.

• Know and identify your target and what is beyond.

• Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction.

• Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

• Never use alcohol or drugs before or while hunting.

• Respect property rights and secure permission before hunting.

• Hunters should unload their guns when crossing fences, climbing into stands, jumping ditches or traversing steep ravines.

During this season, many people are also in the woods searching for wild mushrooms.  Before partaking in this seasonal activity, obtain permission from the landowner and ask if anyone has permission to Turkey Hunt.

Even if you are the only person allowed to be in the woods, never assume you are out there alone.

A mistake in property boundaries could put you in the woods with another hunter.  If you are hunting on state property, be sure to check that property's regulations for permitted activities and times.

Whether you are turkey hunting, mushroom hunting or enjoying a spring walk in the woods, be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

Things you may come across include baited areas, marijuana grows and methamphetamine activity. Anyone with information regarding any suspicious activity or fish and wildlife violations are urged to contact Indiana Conservation Officer's Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536.

Fish and wildlife violations can be reported by calling 800-847-4367 or on the TIP website www. 1800tipidnr.org.

Callers can remain anonymous and are subject to a reward if information leads to a conviction.