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Turkey season opens: ATL’s old wealth is heading to the woods

turkey kill

This signature turkey was taken by an unnamed hunter at an unnamed site. Credit: theredish.com

By David Pendered

Georgia’s season for turkey hunting opens Saturday. The hunt is a major economic driver in communities that rely on connecting hunters with prey.

Atlanta may well be a major consumer of ballet and fine arts. But the region’s business elites also have interest in the state’s natural resources – such as the bird farms of the outer reaches of Atlanta.

The level of information available from the state is of note for its paucity.

turkey kill

This signature turkey was taken by an unnamed hunter at an unnamed site. Credit: theredish.com

Georgia environmental officials are hopeful conditions are good for turkey hunters. According to a statement from Kevin Lowrey, Wildlife Resources Division wild turkey project coordinator:

  • “Reproduction in 2016 was the best we have seen since 2011, so I am hopeful we can build on that recent success and expect 2017 to be a better hunting season. Turkey hunters also need to remember the Georgia Game Check requirement for all harvested birds.”

The bag limit this year is three gobblers per season. The season stretches from March 25 through May 15 – one of the longest seasons in the nation – to harvest their bird(s). The state reminds hunters to obtain landowner permission before hunting.

Evidently, the state has a good handle on the turkey population in Georgia. Here’s what the state reports about this year’s turkey population:

  • “The Ridge and Valley, and Lower Coastal Plain should have a good season. These regions maintained good reproduction the last few years. The Piedmont and Upper Coastal Plain will have a fair year, but a bad hatch in 2015 may result in fewer 2 year-old gobblers this spring. Based on the good mast crop, and a mild winter, the Blue Ridge region should have a fair season, with expectations for better than last year.”

City dwellers may chuckle at all this talk about turkeys. The notion? Can it really be that hard to capture and kill such a bird? And why would anyone do that?

Here’s an answer from the state:

  • “Never wear red, white, blue or black clothing while turkey hunting. Red is the color most hunters look for when distinguishing a gobbler’s head from a hen’s blue-colored head, but at times it may appear white or blue. Male turkey feathers covering most of the body are black in appearance. Camouflage should be used to cover everything, including the hunter’s face, hands and firearm.
  • Your clothing in the city should follow these guidelines.”
  • Other hunters. Do not move, wave or make tkey-like sounds to alert another hunter to your presence. Instead, identify yourself in a loud voice.
  • Be careful when carrying a harvested turkey from the woods. Do not allow the wings to hang loosely or the head to be displayed in such a way that another hunter may think it is a live bird. If possible, cover the turkey in a blaze orange garment or other material.
  • Although it’s not required, it is suggested that hunters wear blaze orange when moving between a vehicle and a hunting site. When moving between hunting sites, hunters should wear blaze orange on their upper bodies to facilitate their identification by other hunters.



David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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