RALEIGH, N.C. — Results from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s wild turkey harvest summary show this year’s harvest was the second highest ever recorded, with hunters across the state reporting 18,730 birds harvested, including 1,478 birds taken during the youth-only hunting season.
This season’s harvest was only slightly below the record harvest of 18,919 birds, which was set in 2017. The total harvest statewide this year was 3.5 percent higher than the average harvest during the previous three years.
Turkey harvest in the coastal region was 9.6 percent higher than the average harvest during the previous three years, indicating turkey populations continue to grow in the coastal region. Similarly, in the Piedmont, this year’s turkey harvest was 6 percent higher than the average harvest during the previous three years. However, in the mountains, turkey populations are generally stable in some areas while declining in others. This year’s harvest in the mountains was 6.5 percent lower than the average harvest during the previous three years.
The top five counties for the number of turkeys harvested were:
Duplin – 497
Halifax – 479
Rockingham – 453
Columbus – 443
Bertie – 437
When considering the size of counties, the top counties for the number of turkeys harvested per square mile were Rockingham, Franklin, Northampton, Caswell and Lincoln.
North Carolina’s turkey hunting season opens the second Saturday of April each year and closes in early May. A week-long, youth-only hunting season opens the first Saturday in April. Hunters are allowed two bearded or male turkeys each year. Approximately 70,000 hunters pursue turkeys in North Carolina each year. About 15 percent of them will harvest one turkey and only 5 percent harvest their two-bird limit.
For additional turkey harvest information, including harvest numbers by county, game land, season and weapon type, read the summaries here under the Harvest Reports tab.
The agency posts annual harvest summaries on its website, for all game species, as well as live harvest reports, which are available anytime throughout the hunting season. For more information, visit the Commission’s wild turkey page.