Thursday, March 26, 2015

Soggy, Slow Start to Turkey Season; Youth Day March 28

Busted! A Boss Gobbler breaks out of full strut
as his hens head for the woodline.
Turkey hunters in the Lowcountry's Game Zone 6 are looking forward to when the weather has a consistent chance to warm up and dry out. An abundance of grey days and wet weather has kept gobbling activity at a minimum, with too few warm and sunny days mixed in thus far.

A statewide youth turkey hunting day will be observed this March 28, including the 34 counties where turkey season doesn’t begin until April 1. Another option that opens up on the first of April is the public turkey hunting at Wildlife Management Areas across the state. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) estimates that 50,000-hunters will be hunting for wild turkeys this spring, which keeps the pressure on for a turkey population that is faltering in many areas.
SCDNR turkey biologist Charles Ruth shares that the overall outlook for the wild turkey season is only fair. “Reproduction in turkeys has generally been poor to fair for the last decade,” said Ruth. “Last summer the average brood size of 3.9-poults remained relatively consistent, but there were 59-percent of hens that had no brood at the time of the SCDNR summer turkey survey. With the exception of the lower coastal plain, reproduction was poor in most of the state.”
Depiction of Flying Gobbler
“The gobbler to hen ratio is the lowest since the year 2000, and that can affect the quality of any turkey hunt since the hens are extremely available,” said Ruth. “The state’s turkey population is about 35-percent below record levels, and we need better reproduction for several years to get the population back up. Given the right weather and habitat conditions they can bounce back naturally in a short period of time.”

To view this feature article in the newspaper click Colletonian

To view past blog entries from the start of Turkey Season click 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2010 - 2009

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