Georgia Turkey Season Opens March 22nd

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Turkey hunters across the state are dusting off their calls in preparation for another exciting turkey season. Opening day is Sat., Mar. 22 and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) anticipates another enjoyable season.

According to WRD Wild Turkey Project Coordinator Chris Baumann, Georgia’s current turkey population is estimated at 300,000 birds. While the 2008 season should be respectable, the harvest levels are expected to decrease in comparison with past year's harvests. A variety of factors affecting the wild turkey population and wild turkey habitat account for this, including consistently low reproduction for the past few years, recent statewide extreme weather conditions and considerable habitat loss and habitat alteration in many areas of the state.

"Overall, the state's turkey population is good but in need of a few years of better reproduction and more of an emphasis on good brooding and nesting habitat across the landscape," explains Baumann. "While success rates remain variable from season to season, one major contributing factor continues to be the weather. As we continue to see relief from the extreme drought, hopefully reproduction will rebound and the future will remain bright for this important game bird."

Statistics from the 2007 season harvest summary indicate that an estimated 48,459 resident Georgia hunters bagged some 23,655 turkeys last year. The bird to hunter ratio for 2007 – .49 birds per hunter – was down by 22 percent from 2006.

Georgia turkey hunters, privileged with one of the longest turkey seasons nationwide, have nearly two months to bag themselves a bird or two, or maybe even three. With a bag limit of three gobblers per season, hunters have from Mar. 22 through May 15 to harvest their bird(s).

Because most hunters pursue wild turkeys on private lands, WRD reminds hunters to always obtain landowner permission before hunting.