FWC Opens Spring Turkey Season in Holmes County
For the first time since 1998, Holmes County in Florida’s Panhandle will have a turkey season. March 18-20, hunters will be able to take one gobbler during a limited, three-day spring turkey season.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) closed the county to turkey hunting eight years ago after local citizens expressed concern about the lack of wild turkeys in their area. This concern was verified by FWC biologists after careful examination.
With support from the citizens of Holmes County and surrounding counties, the FWC and local chapter members of the National Wild Turkey Federation mapped out a restoration project to improve turkey habitat within the county, while at the same time restocking the turkey population. The project released more than 120 wild turkeys at eight locations throughout the county, and the FWC imposed a ban on hunting turkeys until FWC biologists determined the restocked population could sustain hunting.
“The Holmes County turkey restoration project has been successful by re-establishing a 'huntable' turkey population in this area,” said Larry Perrin, FWC wildlife biologist. “This project involved a lot of coordination and support from numerous individuals, several large landowners in Leon and Jefferson counties and Eglin Air Force Base, which provided the turkeys for stocking."
Local farmers, landowners and hunters rallied around the restoration project and began to manage their lands for wild turkeys by thinning timber stands, initiating prescribed burning and planting food plots.
This turkey population will continue to be monitored by FWC biologists, and based on survey data, the agency hopes to ultimately re-establish a fall turkey hunting season as well as a full spring season like in the rest of the Northwest Hunting Zone.