YOUR SPECIALIZED OUTDOOR GEAR SEARCH:
We've removed all ads from Outdoor News Daily but will continue to offer our popular OUTDOOR GEAR SEARCH for those looking for quality outdoor gear from trusted merchants.
Subscribe Via EmailOur daily news delivered directly to your inbox!

South Carolina turkey season legislative and regulatory changes

South Carolina turkey hunters need to be aware of several changes going into effect this season that impact season dates, bag limits and tag fees. These changes are a result of legislation passed by the S.C. General Assembly in 2019 (Act 51, S.575). This legislation was in response to declining trends in turkey numbers and harvests, as well as, recent research in South Carolina related to the timing of gobbling and nesting.

The decline in turkeys in South Carolina and other southeastern states has been well documented. Although causes of this decline remain uncertain, they are rooted in poor reproductive success and may include changes in habitat and forestry management practices, fire suppression, predation, and potentially the timing and intensity of hunter harvest. Keep in mind that the only factor that can be managed from a regulatory standpoint is hunter harvest activities, which are typically dictated by season framework and bag limits.

Unlike other game birds, wild turkeys are hunted during spring, a timeframe coinciding with reproductive activities such as breeding and nesting. There is a delicate balance between the timing of spring gobbler season and the timing of nesting because hens must breed in order to successfully nest. Given this period’s biological importance, wildlife managers and legislators are challenged to avoid negative population impacts due to harvest while simultaneously providing quality hunting opportunities.

Private Lands in Game Zone 1 and 2: April 1 – May 10
Private Lands in Game Zone 3 and 4: March 22 – April 30
WMA Lands Statewide: April 1 – May 5
Some WMAs may be more restrictive, refer to page 64 in the 2019-2020 SCDNR Hunting Regulations Guide for specific dates.

Residents:
– Three (3) gobblers per season, no more than one (1) gobbler per day.
– No more than one (1) may be harvested from April 1-10 on private land and WMAs in Game Zones 1 & 2.
– No more than one (1) may be harvested from March 22-31 on private land in Game Zone 3 & 4.

Nonresidents:
– Two (2) gobblers per season, no more than one (1) gobbler per day.
– No more than one (1) may be harvested from April 1-10 on private land and WMAs in Game Zones 1 & 2.
– No more than one (1) may be harvested from March 22-31 on private land in Game Zone 3 & 4.

Residents: $5 for a set of 3 tags.
Nonresidents: $100 for a set of 2.

**Turkey tag fees are dedicated and will be used for wild turkey research, turkey habitat management, costs associated with production and distribution of turkey tags and administration of the upcoming electronic harvest reporting program which will begin during the 2021 turkey season.

For youths 17 years old and younger. Youth hunters who have not completed the hunter education program must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years of age. No license or tags required for youth or adult on these designated youth days. Adult may call or guide, however, only the youth may take or attempt to take.

Private Lands in Game Zones 1 and 2: March 28-29 – Limit one (1) gobbler total for the weekend which counts towards the season limit.

Private Lands in Game Zones 3 and 4: March 14-15 – Limit one (1) gobbler total for the weekend which counts towards the season limit.

Wildlife Management Areas: March 28 Limit one (1) gobbler total which counts towards the season limit.

All WMAs normally open to turkey hunting except: Bear Island, Donnelley, Keowee, Santee Coastal Reserve, Santee Cooper, Hatchery Waterfowl Area, Bonneau Ferry, Belfast, Wateree River HP

For those who have already ordered or requested their turkey tags, they should begin arriving in mailboxes the week of Feb. 17.

Tags can be purchased online or by phone anytime and will also be available over the counter beginning March 2 at SCDNR offices in Clemson, York, Florence, Charleston and West Columbia (The Market).

If you have purchased or requested tags and don’t receive them by early March, please reach out to SCDNR Licensing at (803) 734-3833.

Once you receive your tags, please read them carefully and become familiar with them. Due to the staggered season dates in different game zones and WMAs and the limitation on harvest during the first 10 days of the season, each tag is different. Depending on when and where you are hunting, tags may not necessarily be used in the order they are printed.

Please refer to the detailed information on the back of your tag form and the 2019-2020 Hunting Regulations Guide for all laws and regulations for turkey hunting in South Carolina.