SC’s 2023 turkey harvest data

Palmetto State’s turkey harvest declined in 2023

The SCDNR’s officials estimate a total of 13,074 turkeys were harvested during the Palmetto State’s 2023 spring hunting season. This marks a decline of about 3.1 percent from the 2022 harvest numbers, which totaled 13,488.

This decline continues a trend in recent years, not just in South Carolina, but throughout the entire southeast. This trend is often referred to as the “southeast turkey deline” by biologists and land managers throughout the southeast region.

Of the total number of harvested turkeys, 11,583 were adult gobblers, and 1491 were jakes.

Harvest numbers came from two sources, including the 2023 Turkey Hunter Survey, a questionnaire mailed to 35,000 randomly-selected hunters, and from SC Game Check, the SCDNR’s mandatory reporting process.

The number of turkey hunters also declined. Of all the hunters who received turkey tags for the 2023 season, only about half actually hunted turkeys. SCDNR determined 46,522 hunters participated in turkey season, a 3 percent decline from 2022’s numbers.

Another interesting statistic gathered through the agency’s survey is that of Hunter Effort. Hunters spent an average of 7 days afield during turkey season, an 11-percent decrease from 2022.

It is interesting to note that hunters who successfully harvested at least one turkey averaged 9.3 days afield, while hunters who failed to harvest at least one bird spent 5.6 days hunting.

About Brian Cope 2745 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

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