Georgia Hunting Plantation Blog

Turkey Hunting - Victorious Hunter

Georgia Turkey Hunting

October 2, 2019

Georgia’s wild turkey population has undergone a tremendous change. In 1973, when the Georgias turkey restoration project was initiated, the estimated statewide turkey population was only 17,000 birds. Over 4,500 turkeys were trapped and relocated from 1973-1996. Today, turkeys exist in every county and the statewide population is nearly 300,000 birds. As the population exploded, many hunters developed an interest in hunting Georgia turkey. Hunters often inquire about changes to hunting seasons and When will Georgia initiate a fall hunting season? is a common question. We have to consider many factors when answering this question. These include wild turkey biology, hunter objectives, conflicting user groups, number of hunters, and population trends. Also included are hunting regulations that are compatible with the long-term good of Georgias wild turkey resource.

Ensuring the survival of the Turkey Population

The most important consideration is to maintain the long-term survival of the turkey population. It is difficult to over-harvest the turkey population with a gobbler-only season in the spring. This is because of the biology of wild turkeys. A single gobbler is able to mate with numerous hens during the spring. After mating, a hen lays about 12 eggs and incubates them for 28 days. Upon destruction of a hen’s nest, the hen is able to re-nest without mating again. A high spring gobbler harvest might mean you will hear fewer birds in the spring. However, enough will remain to mate with the hens to produce good turkey populations for future years. It is important to manage the Turkey population to maintain some healthy numbers. This benefits both the turkeys and of course the hunters.

Georgia Turkey Hunting Season

During Georgias spring season only gobblers, a smaller and expendable part of the population, exposes themselves to hunting. Fall seasons are typically either-sex seasons. It is difficult to differentiate between hens and gobblers during that time of year, especially in flocks of young birds. Consequently, fall hunting would impact all segments of the population. Additionally, a fall season would overlap our existing deer season. This could greatly increase the number of hunters in the woods pursuing turkeys. Georgia has many more deer hunters than turkey hunters. Consequently, it would be much easier to over harvest turkeys during a fall season than during a spring gobbler-only season.

Adding fall hunting pressure means exposing the population to significant harm. Turkey populations typically increase in years following excellent reproduction and decline following consecutive years of poor reproduction. Biologists collect data throughout the summer to determine turkey production trends. However, hunting regulations are established in the spring, long before production is known. When summer poult production is great, it may be possible to harvest a substantial number of turkeys in the fall without significant impact.

A declining Population

Unfortunately, during years of moderate or poor reproduction (years with poor hatching success or survival), overharvesting the population is easier. Thus it adds to the decline, especially when also harvesting hens. Some states that have attempted fall seasons show that 60% of the statewide turkey harvest occurred during the fall. When you compound these risks with concerns about overlapping turkey season with deer season, it is apparent that a fall turkey season could have a negative effect on our turkey population.

Because Georgia has no fall turkey season, we are able to have the most liberal spring season in the country. It is likely that a fall season would eventually mean a decline in the overall turkey population. Thus it would result in a significant reduction in spring hunting opportunities. This is a tradeoff that few avid turkey hunters would be willing to accept. Careful management of Georgia’s turkey population has resulted in some of the very best turkey hunting opportunities in the nation. Our goal is to keep it that way. We always see things in the long term. We aim to always have a thriving turkey population, and this takes careful planning and consideration.

You can book your hunt or call us today for more details. We offer great turkey hunting opportunities, our land is managed in a way that benefits both you and the animals you will hunt. Also if you have any questions, just ask us. We will always get back to you and fill you in on everything you need to know so you can have the best hunting experience.