Wildlife biologist Kevin Lowrey provides his outlook for Georgia’s 2014 Turkey Season, as well as data from past seasons
Turkey season opens tomorrow, March 22! We know you’re ready to Go Hunt Georgia, so here’s what to expect this season.
Overall, statewide productivity was up slightly in the summer of 2013 (1.4 poults/hen). It’s considered low, though statewide productivity in 2012 was even lower at 1.3 poults/hen. Gobbler harvest levels in the spring of 2012 and 2013 were high. So in the last couple of years, poult production has been low and high harvest levels have reduced the annual carryover. In a nutshell, hunters may have to hunt harder and longer to be successful in 2014. The Piedmont and Ridge and Valley should see most of that change, while the rest of the state should be similar to the last few years.
In the lower coastal plain, 2013 poult production increased 24 percent from 2012 and remains stable in the upper coastal plain. These regions of the state should experience a season similar to 2013.
2013 poult production in the mountains increased 110 percent (0.65 v 1.4 pph) over 2012, but is still considered low. Season outlook in this region of the state is expected to be better than 2013.
The Piedmont of Georgia represents the “bread and butter” of the state turkey population. In 2012, this region recorded 1.2 pph and increased slightly to 1.3 pph in 2013. This data suggests that the Piedmont experienced low production in 2012 and 2013. As such, the outlook for 2014 is expected to be a challenging season for Piedmont turkey hunters.
The Ridge and Valley experienced a marked decrease in productivity in 2013 with an index of 0.80 pph (down from 1.4 in 2012). Similarly to the Piedmont, productivity has suffered the last 2 summers and the outlook for 2014 is expected to be a challenging season.
Check out Kevin’s 2014 forecast and 2013 recap in this video!
If you’re heading out this weekend, take some photos of your hunt. We want to see them! Share them with us on Instagram with the hashtag #gohuntga.
Opening weekend in Wilkes Co proved to be a good one for me. It was my first turkey hunt and first gobbler. A buddy of mine, who is also in the same club, went down Saturday morning and heard plenty. He came back and told me that he had found the hot spot. So Sunday morning we got down to the lease and settled in off of a logging road and into some pines for cover. We had set up a decoy in a food plot about 25 yards out. I was set up facing the west and him the east. The owls were talking and about sunrise the gobbler started up. It was thunderous, we had one behind us and one in front. Shortly afterwards we heard the one in front of us fly down and from there it was on. My buddy laid into a call and gobbled back and was fast and furious. Took only two calls and he was in shooting range. I watched him strut for just a few seconds and he appeared to be headed back into the woods, but needless to say I got my first gobbler. I took a 35 yard shot and down he went. He measured in good for a 2-3 yr old bird, oh and a double beard for my first one at that. He weighed in at 21#, had 1″ spurs that were sharp and had 9 3/4″ beard and a 2″ beard. After that we moved to another location and heard a couple more, but they were too preoccupied. Great weekend and can’t wait until this weekend. Good hunting everybody!