SCDNR considers turkey changes

Changes are being ironed out for South Carolina’s turkey hunting season.

Season dates, bag limit will likely change

The SCDNR has made three recommendations to South Carolina state lawmakers in an effort to increase wild turkey productivity throughout the Palmetto State. An overall decline in wild turkey numbers led to the recommendations, which were formed after gathering input from the public.

The agency hosted a series of public meetings and online presentations about the topic. More than 1800 people completed surveys after attending or viewing the presentations.

These surveys, along with harvest data, population monitoring data, and research led to SCDNR’s recommendations, which include a later start date to turkey season, a reduction in the number of hunting days, and a lower bag limit.

According to the agency, implementing these recommendations have the potential to increase wild turkey productivity. This is necessary because over the past several years, the annual reproduction rate of wild turkeys has not kept up with the hunting harvest and non-hunting mortality rates.

The SCDNR does not have the authority to make laws. Instead, they make recommendations to lawmakers after gathering data and public input to support those recommendations

The proposed changes will:

Change the season opener to April 10 for the entire state

Reduce the total number of days of the spring turkey season to 31 (April 10 to May 10 statewide)

Reduce the season bag limit to two birds per hunter, while maintaining the daily limit of one.

To view the full report on the public meetings and survey results, along with a full discussion of the recommendations, go to https://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/turkey/pdf/2023TurkeyPublicMeetingsSurveyReport.pdf.

About Brian Cope 2800 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at brianc@carolinasportsman.com.

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