The opening day of the Georgia turkey hunting season is Saturday and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division anticipates that the 2011 season should be fair, with harvest likely down from the 2010 season. Statistics from the 2010 season harvest summary indicate that an estimated 47,275 resident Georgia hunters bagged 34,001 turkeys last year.
"We had a real productive 2010, so there will be many juvenile turkeys available for harvest," said Kevin Lowrey, Wildlife Resources Division wild turkey project coordinator. "However, the poor reproduction levels in 2007 and in 2009 will lower the supply of vocal adult gobblers."
Georgia’s current turkey population is estimated at 335,000 birds and turkey hunters here are privileged with one of the longest turkey seasons nationwide. With a bag limit of three gobblers per season, hunters have from March 26-May 15 to harvest their bird(s).
Because most hunters pursue wild turkeys on private lands, the Wildlife Resources Division reminds hunters to always obtain landowner permission before hunting.
Conservation of the wild turkey in Georgia
The restoration of the wild turkey is one of Georgia’s great conservation success stories. Although the bird population currently hovers around 335,000 statewide, as recently as 1973, the wild turkey population was as low as 17,000. Intensive restoration efforts, such as the restocking of wild birds and establishment of biologically sound hunting seasons facilitated the recovery of wild turkeys in every county. This successful effort resulted from cooperative partnerships between private landowners, hunters, conservation organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Wildlife Resources Division.