From Georgia Department of Natural Resources
-- Hunters anticipating Georgia’s turkey season have a good outlook with the state’s current turkey population estimated at 335,000 birds. With a bag limit of three gobblers per season, it opens March 24 and ends May 15, providing hunters with one of the longest turkey seasons nationwide.
“Georgia appears to be set for a great turkey hunting season, with good turkey poult production in the Piedmont, Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley geographical portions of the state,” says Kevin Lowrey, Wildlife Resources Division wild turkey project coordinator. “And while reproduction in the coastal plain was poor because of drought conditions, the good news is that there are many vocal two-year old gobblers from the 2010 production year that will be available to harvest this year.”
For those looking to hunt turkey on public land, Georgia’s Wildlife Management Areas offer excellent opportunities. Through the WMA system, resident hunters have access to nearly one million acres of prime hunting land for just $19 a year. With many hunters pursuing wild turkeys on private land, WRD reminds hunters to always obtain landowner permission before hunting.
WMAs with the highest 2011 turkey hunting season success rates in the state were, by area: Northwest—Berry College and Paulding Forest; Northeast—Lake Russell and Dawson Forest; West Central—Blanton Creek and Rum Creek; East Central—Di-Lane and Tuckahoe; Southeast—Penholoway and Sansavilla; Middle—Big Hammock and Horse Creek; Southwest—River Creek and Chickasawhatchee.
A WMA license is required for any person 16 years or older who does not possess a valid honorary, sportsman or lifetime license when hunting wild turkey on a WMA or Public Fishing Area. In addition, a valid hunting license and a big game license are required to legally hunt wild turkey.
Legal firearms and archery equipment for hunting wild turkey are shotguns, loaded with No. 2 or smaller shot, any muzzleloading firearm, longbow, crossbow or compound bow. Licensees are available at retail license vendors, by phone at (800) 366-2661 or online at www.georgiawildlife.com/recreational-licenses.
Hunters are encouraged to review safety precautions before the 2012 season opens.
“Hunters should be 110 percent certain of their target AND what is in front of and beyond it before pulling the trigger and should never shoot at sound or movement,” said Walter Lane, WRD hunter development program manager.
“Turkey hunters have to utilize their firearms safety knowledge and remember ways to keep themselves and others safe while in the woods.”