|Close up of wild turkey head and snood|
The change in turkey hunting season dates puts the entire state under one starting date and ending date for the first time. The new start date of March 20 means that Lowcountry hunters lose the traditional start date of March 15, and some will likely always feel they are losing five days of their most productive turkey hunting window. The start date on SCDNR managed lands will remain April 1, and the new ending date on May 5 applies to private lands and SCDNR lands.
The summer turkey survey estimates breeding success of wild turkeys and it recorded an all-time low 2013. While those same surveys were a little better in 2014 and 2015, they were only moderately improved. An observation from this turkey-hunting veteran is that turkey numbers are down in many areas, and that this downward trend should increase the value of any accrued turkey hunting memories from past seasons.
Almost certainly, the wild turkey vocalizations are decreased by the danger present from alerting coyotes to their location. With less gobbling activity, a hunter must be keen to decipher what that tom is communicating by the tone, direction and bellicosity of their gobble. Hunters imitate the calls of a hen turkey to attract the male, but so many other factors like topography and terrain are in play that one has to be cognizant of the big picture too.
To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Charleston Mercury.
To view past blog entries from the start of Turkey Season click 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2010 - 2009