S.C. turkey hunting season begins Wednesday

South Carolina's 2019 turkey hunting season starts this Wednesday. Are you ready to bag a gobbler like this one from Taryn McCutchen?

Follow these steps to kill an early season gobbler

South Carolina’s 2019 turkey hunting season opens this Wednesday, March 20 on private lands throughout the state.

Tyler Simmons of Florence said the first week, and especially the first day, of the season is the best chance to bag a gobbler. He hunts a 1500-acre tract on the Florence/Darlington County line. He said hunters increase their shot of success by following three steps.

1. Find out where a gobbler is roosting on the evening before your hunt.

“I like to get to a field that borders the woods in the late afternoon. I just set up and watch. Turkeys will come in and hang out in the fields before flying up to roost for the night. I pay close attention to where they walked into the field from. Chances are good they’ll head out for the day in that same direction the next morning,” he said.

2. Keep it simple. Don’t get bogged down with gear.

“For a hunt like this, you expect to engage that gobbler really quickly. You already know where he is. You know his likely travel route. Just bring your gun, one decoy, and a call. You’ll set up in the woods using natural cover as a blind,” he said.

3. Get set up super early the next morning, and call sparingly.

“I like to get in place a good hour before sunrise, and I will set up about 100 yards from where the turkeys are roosting. I set out one jake decoy facing the opposite direction the turkeys are roosting. As the woods begin to wake up, I make a plain yelp call. I’m already pretty sure the turkeys are going to come in this direction. The last thing I want to do is give them a reason not to,” he said.

Simmons said as long as he has roosted a gobbler the previous evening, this plan almost always works.

“Knowing where the turkeys are roosting is more than half the battle. If you know where they’re sleeping, and then follow these steps, you’ll kill plenty of gobblers,” he said.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1292 Articles
Brian Cope of Edisto Island, S.C., is a retired Air Force combat communications technician. He has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He’s spent half his life hunting and fishing. The rest, he said, has been wasted.