Hunting and conservation go hand in hand. Hunters pay for licenses and those fees go into programs to boost the habitat of wildlife and the proper management of those populations. Many people don't know what happens in the woods when it comes to hunting and most people don't know the animals.
There are several types of wild turkeys throughout the continental United States. The Eastern turkey (pictured above) is the most common and the type found in throughout Georgia. In the wild, an adult turkey lives about 3-5 years. Turkeys can fly! In fact, they roost in trees, often near a field. While they travel a lot by ground, flight is one of their strongest defenses from coyotes and natural predators. The "long, dangling" part near a turkey's nose is called a snood and is an attractant to other mating turkeys. A turkey's head will go, almost white, when it gobbles due to the amount of energy they put into their mating call. A female hen will have multiple eggs but due to natural predation, only 11% of those will survive and an even smaller percentage will yield male turkeys.
A Georgia statewide survey, in 2020, found that of total license holders, a smaller percentage reported turkey hunting, even though total license sales were up. Due to covid, hunters spent more time in the woods and the success rate was up. In 2020, there were 45,205 turkey hunters. This was slighty fewer than in the 46,995 turkey hunters reported in 2019. These hunters hunted more days, on average, and had slightly better success than 2019, which gave us an overall similar statewide harvest total of 17,048.
March 20th is the opener of the Georgia turkey season.
Photo: Getty Images