Time to talk turkey, and some changes in hunting regulations.
The Georgia turkey hunting season opens Saturday, April 2, 2022. However, if hunting on public lands, including Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and National Forest land, the season opens on April 9, 2022. Turkey season ends on May 15, 2022, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
Bag Limit Change! Hunters will need to note the season bag limit has changed for turkeys for the 2022 season. Only one gobbler may be taken per hunter per day, and a season total of two gobblers. On WMAs and National Forest land (outside of WMAs), the bag limit is one gobbler per area.
“Statewide reproduction in 2020 was slightly below average, which means we might have a slightly lower number of two-year old birds in the woods,” explains Emily Rushton, Wildlife Resources Division wild turkey project coordinator. “But, the good news is that in 2021 we had the highest reproduction we have seen in a decade, meaning that there are many young birds in the woods, and that is a great sign for seasons to come.”
What can hunters expect across state regions this spring? Harvest in the Ridge and Valley and Blue Ridge regions may drop, as reproduction was down in the northern part of the state in 2020. Fortunately, the Piedmont and Upper Coastal Plain regions of the state, where many of our hunters focus their efforts, saw a slight increase in reproduction in 2020, indicating harvest may be up in these areas. The furthest south regions of the state may see a decrease in harvest, as reproduction was down in the Lower Coastal Plain in 2020.
All turkey hunters, including those under 16 years of age, landowners, honorary, lifetime, and sportsman license holders, must obtain a free harvest record each season. Before moving a harvested turkey, hunters are required to immediately enter the date and county on the harvest record, and within 24 hours, must complete the reporting process through Georgia Game Check. More information at https://georgiawildlife.com/HarvestRecordGeorgiaGameCheck.
Resident youth hunters under age 16 will not need a license. Hunters age 16 years or older (including those accompanying youth or others) will need a hunting license and a big game license unless hunting on their own private land. Get your license at https://www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com/, at a retail license vendor or by phone at 1-800-366-2661.
Hunters, did you know that each time you purchase a license or equipment used to turkey hunt, such as shotguns, ammunition and others, that you are part of the greater conservation effort for wildlife in Georgia? Through the Wildlife Restoration Program, a portion of the money spent comes back to states and is put back into on-the-ground efforts such as habitat management and species research and management. So, thank you hunters!
For more hunting information, visit https://georgiawildlife.com/hunting/hunter-resources .