Just a few days ago I shared with you a Throwback Thursday video that showcased a DIY turkey fan system that mounts to the stabilizer of my bow. Click here to read my article and see the video. The topic of safety was a big part of my article.

We’ve also covered many stories through the years that highlight the turkey hunting tactic called “reaping” or “fanning,” and one of the most amazing featured an entire hunt filmed by a drone.

At the end of my DIY fan article, I wrote: “To my knowledge, no turkey hunter has died while reaping, but I don’t think it’s a matter of ‘if,’ it’s only a matter of ‘when.’ ”

Well, it almost came true last week in Kansas.

According to this report from The Joplin Globe, three buddies were hunting new land. Two of the shotgun hunters began searching for turkeys on one side of the leased private property, and the other man started hunting elsewhere on the land. Somehow they ended up moving into each other’s space. It appears likely that they were calling to each other, both parties thinking that the other was a real gobbler. While two of the hunters hid behind a turkey fan on the edge of the woods, the third man shot at the fan, hitting his hunting partners.

According to the news story: “Sheriff Dan Peak said the sheriff’s office learned of the matter when the shooter drove the two injured hunters to the hospital in Girard with potentially life-threatening shotgun wounds to their faces and upper bodies. They later were flown by medical helicopter to Freeman Hospital West in Joplin.”

This story serves as a grim reminder of the dangers of reaping/fanning a turkey, even on private land. Be careful out there!

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Image courtesy of Mojo Outdoors

  • Jeff Campbell

    Seriously? You can’t tell the difference between a real 15 pound turkey strutting and a fan mounted on top of a shotgun? Maybe you should go back to hunter’s safety class.

    • Ron Egan

      Some people can’t tell the difference between shit and shineola either.

      • Bonzaipilot

        I agree 100%

      • Jeff Campbell

        Very true, and they make us look bad in the process.

  • EJF, Sr.

    Amen to Jeff’s remark.

  • Robert Davis

    Turkey hunting requires full camouflage and no blaze orange articles of clothing because a turkey’s eyesight is good enough that it can tell the difference. As such, turkey hunting, especially when hiding behind turkey fans, requires paramount situational awareness, since any humans on the property are likely hard to see.

    • Brett

      Robert….not completely true. They have great eyesight, but there are a lot of things that go into a successful turkey hunt and camo is only one of them. Movement is the biggest thing, in my opinion (I have killed over 100 by many means) This is something we need to learn from, and we have to reiterate the fact that if you are not 100% sure of the target, take your finger off the trigger!) Pray for a speedy and full recovery for those injured.

      • Ben J Petrone

        To sit very still is the secret.Years ago i shot the head off a tom turkey with a 44 mag while hunting deer .To be still is the secret

    • Bonzaipilot

      You do not NEED anything but a way to kill the bird. Everything else is just fluff. Up intill 10 years ago most turkey hunters wore a pair of coveralls and a flannel shirt. Camp is just a convenience not a necessity. Learn to find natural cover or build a blind from branches and so forth and be still and quiet except for calling. When you have to move do so extremely slowly and deliberately and you will make your own luck. I do however agree with the situational awareness and making completely sure of what your target is or isn’t as the case may be before placing your finger on the trigger and firing. I have been hunting Turkey since I was a kid in Burney Ca and got my first in 1979 in a tee shirt and a pair of levy’s after sitting fire watch for my dads logging company. Since than I have been hooked on the taste of wild turkey and the development of the skills needed to take them. It is skill over what you are wearing.

  • johntravis

    One person in their group needs to give up hunting. He broke a cardinal rule, that is ‘be sure of your target’.

  • steve

    It amazes me how this tactic gained approval from Fish and Game. It not only draws attention to the hunter, it also totally blocks the hunters vision.

  • steve

    Another point I would like to make. Today, most turkey hunters believe they have to camo from head to foot, including mask and gloves. And you should use some type of decoy be it inflatable or some other. The REAL turkey hunters went out wearing flannel shirts, using 2.5 inch standard shells, a wide brim hat, and using a leaf as their call. Bout time we got back to nature, instead of trying to carry the entire sporting good store into the woods.

    • Valerie

      So true. I have a son in law who just snuck up on a tom who is so dumb right now because all it can think of is breading. My son in law was wearing a gray tee and shorts. It was on our privet land but this time of year they are not real smart. No matter what kind of hunting remember safety first.

  • Nunya

    As I read these comments I can’t help but sit here and wonder wow there are a lot of dumbass people out there that consider themselves hunters! I’m sorry but the comments about not understanding why people wear full camo masks and gloves? Are you serious ? You city folks need to pick up golf cause the outdoors is truly not for you. If you can’t tell the difference between a real live turkey and an Individual behind a decoy you don’t need to be hunting regardless.

  • Jeff Freuler

    Some people should not be allowed to breath, breed, drive or own firearms.

  • Paul Troalic

    Get rid of guns. They are dangerous. Doh!

    • Jaybird

      Guns are not the problem. It would have been the same result had they been how hunting.

    • Richard Manley

      Shut up stupid !