Let’s talk turkey. The statewide turkey hunting season opens on private land on April 1, and on public lands, including Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and National Forest land, on April 8.
Turkey season ends statewide on May 15, 2023, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
“Statewide reproduction in 2021 was above the average we’ve seen in the last decade, which means we should have more two-year old birds in the woods,” said Emily Rushton, wild turkey project coordinator with the Wildlife Resources Division.
“While still lower than what we saw prior to the mid-1990’s, the average number of poults per hen was higher statewide than it has been since 2011, which is a good sign for this year’s turkey season,” she continued.
What can hunters expect across state regions this spring? All regions of the state had above average reproduction two years ago, but the Coastal Plain regions in the southern half of the state had the highest poult numbers, averaging over two poults per hen.
Although the Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, and Piedmont regions had slightly lower poult numbers than southern Georgia, the regions still had similar bumps in reproduction.
Hunters should remember that the daily and season bag limits changed last year and remain the same in 2023. These include:
- Only one gobbler may be taken per hunter per day
- A season total of two gobblers per hunter
- On WMAs and National Forest land (outside of WMAs), the bag limit is one gobbler per area
All turkey hunters 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.
Georgia Game Check is available here.
Resident youth hunters under age 16 will not need a license. Hunters aged 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. For more information on licenses, call 1-800-366-2661 or click here.
Every time a hunter purchases a recreational license or equipment used to turkey hunt, a portion of the money is put back into on-the-ground efforts such as habitat management and species research and management.
For more hunting information, click here.
Need safety training?
Do you need hunter education before heading out in pursuit of a gobbler? You have options. Hunters in need of the Georgia hunter education course can choose to go completely online or attend a classroom course, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
“Giving different course options allows the individual to decide which type of course is easier to manage and allows them to coordinate with their busy schedules,” said Jennifer Pittman, statewide hunter education administrator with the Wildlife Resources Division. “Thousands of people will complete their hunter education this year using these different options, so we are glad that we can offer this flexibility on how to receive the information and take this important course.”
There are four available online courses each requiring a fee (from $19.95 - $29.00) but all are ‘pass-or-don’t-pay’ courses. Fees for these courses are charged by and collected by the independent course developer. The DNR classroom course is free of charge.
Completion of a hunter education course is required for any person born on or after Jan. 1, 1961, who:
- Purchases a season hunting license in Georgia
- Is at least 12 years old and hunts without adult supervision
- Hunts big game (deer, turkey, bear) on a wildlife management area
The only exceptions include any person who:
- Purchases a short-term hunting license, i.e. anything less than annual duration (as opposed to a season license)
- Is hunting on his or her own land, or is a dependent hunting on land of his or her parents or legal guardians
For more information, call 706-557-3355 or click here.