An estimated 50,000 hunters will take to the woods during the upcoming turkey season, generating an estimated $30 million in direct expenditures for South Carolina’s economy. The 2013 wild turkey season begins April 1 on private lands in 34 counties that make up Game Zones 1-5 and for all Wildlife Management Areas statewide where turkey hunting is allowed. The season opens March 15 on private lands only in Game Zone 6: Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton, Jasper and Orangeburg counties. The season closes May 1 throughout the state.

Saturday, March 30 is Youth Turkey Hunt Day in areas where the season opens on April 1. On this day, youths 17 and under who are accompanied by a properly licensed adult (age 21 and older) may hunt turkeys. Only the youth can take or attempt to take turkeys. Tagging requirements remain in place for this special youth day.

The outlook for the 2013 spring season is good for most areas of the state, according to Charles Ruth, Deer and Turkey Project supervisor for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Annually since the early 1980’s, DNR conducts a Summer Turkey Survey to estimate reproduction and recruitment of turkeys in South Carolina. The survey involves agency wildlife biologists, technicians and conservation officers, as well as many volunteers from other natural resource agencies and the general public. Indicators from the survey have been better the last couple of years compared to the previous 6 to 8 years.

What does better reproduction mean for the spring turkey hunter? Ruth indicated, “Harvest trends have followed the trends in reproduction in recent years and prior to 2012 we saw a cumulative 30 percent decline in turkey harvest since 2002. However, with better reproduction the last couple of years the harvest responded in 2012 with a substantial increase for the first time in many years. As was the case last year, there should be good carry-over of gobblers available during spring of 2013. However, statewide turkey numbers are still below record levels of ten years ago and it will take ongoing high levels of reproduction to get the population back where it once was,” said Ruth.

For more information on wild turkeys including how to order turkey tags online, the 2013 Turkey Regulations, the 2012 Summer Turkey Brood Survey or the results from the 2012 spring gobbler season, check out the DNR website.

Image courtesy South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

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2 thoughts on “South Carolina Spring Turkey Season Forecast Good, Youth Day March 30

  1. went out this past weekend to a spot in cherokee county on public land to scout sat by a creek to rest for a few after walking what as most turkey hunters know a country mile which feels more like 40 miles with the heat on this past weekend was smoking hot anyhow back to the point we sat down

    i was talking to my son about the importance of scouting on public land for alot of different spots instead of that 1 special spot he found drag marks from a strutting tom and also found alot of tracks some very large I made it a point to also show him all the boot tracks about yards away that were fresh so whoever was there if your reading this goodluck sir and nice spot that u found I belive if a man puts in his homework only to show up to someone in his spot is lowwww but anyhow once again back to the creek my son is kinda getting over a cold and he started coughing loud and bang bang double gobble and it was about 20 yards in the hardwoods on the bend of the feild so we had to hide and calmly walk out without him seein us but we heard multiple gobbles right before dark and no alarm putts so we did it we got out undetected I hope anyhow but just to get everyone excited if they gobble on public land then they should be gobbling everywhere good luck fellow hunters cant wait till the 30th itll be youth day and am very excited to get my son in the woods for his first thunder chicken it was great being a kid whos dad passed away when I was young I cherish every day in the woods with my son I love hearing his heart beatfrom 20 yards away

  2. not sure why but I checked out the turkey area in union and the game warden told us this year that property is off limits period no hunting due to its been baited

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