Talking Turkey with the Georgia opener
SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. – Let’s talk turkey. The Georgia turkey hunting season to be exact. The statewide turkey hunting season opens on private land on Sat., April 1, 2023, and on public lands, including Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and National Forest land, on Sat., April 8, 2022. Turkey season ends statewide on May 15, 2023, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
“Statewide reproduction in 2021 was above the average we’ve seen in the last decade, which means we should have more two-year old birds in the woods,” explains Emily Rushton, Wildlife Resources Division wild turkey project coordinator. “While still lower than what we saw prior to the mid-1990’s, the average number of poults per hen was higher statewide than it has been since 2011, which is a good sign for this year’s turkey season.”
What can hunters expect across state regions this spring? All regions of the state had above average reproduction two years ago, but the Coastal Plain regions in the southern half of the state had the highest poult numbers, averaging over two poults per hen. Although the Blue Ridge, Ridge & Valley, and Piedmont regions had slightly lower poult numbers than South GA, the regions still had similar bumps in reproduction.
Hunters should remember that the daily and season bag limits changed last year and remains the same in 2023. Only one gobbler may be taken per hunter per day, and a season total of two gobblers. On WMAs and National Forest land (outside of WMAs), the bag limit is one gobbler per area.
All turkey hunters, including those under 16 years of age, landowners, honorary, lifetime, and sportsman license holders, must obtain a free harvest record each season. Before moving a harvested turkey, hunters are required to immediately enter the date and county on the harvest record, and within 24 hours, must complete the reporting process through Georgia Game Check. More information at GeorgiaWildlife.com/HarvestRecordGeorgiaGameCheck.
Resident youth hunters under age 16 will not need a license. Hunters age 16 years or older (including those accompanying youth or others) will need a hunting license and a big game license unless hunting on their own private land. Get your license at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, at a retail license vendor or by phone at 1-800-366-2661.
Hunters, did you know that each time you purchase a recreational license or equipment used to turkey hunt, such as shotguns, ammunition and others, that you are part of the greater conservation effort for wildlife in Georgia? Through the Wildlife Restoration Program, a portion of the money spent comes back to states and is put back into on-the-ground efforts such as habitat management and species research and management. So, thank you hunters!