For most of the state of Georgia, Saturday marks the opening day of turkey season. Hunters around the state will hit the woods with the hopes of bagging a gobbler (or two?) Saturday morning. Unfortunately, many hunters will be working in a completely different environment than they have been accustomed to.
Hurricane Michael devastated the southwest portion of the state and the hardwood bottoms that used to hold thousands of birds are now little more than a barren landscape of clearcuts. The picturesque pine forests that were a familiar southwest Georgia scene are now reduced to pulpwood. With Hurricane Michael just 5 months in the rearview, the 2019 turkey season is bound to be affected.
The Georgia DNR is predicting a “fair” season across the state.
“Reproduction in 2017 was lower than the four-year average, so that could mean a lower than usual supply of 2 year-old gobblers across much of the state in 2019,” explains Emily Rushton, Wildlife Resources Division wild turkey project coordinator. “However, that lower average comes between two better years, so hopefully other age classes will remain plentiful.”
Regardless of the availability of birds, the 2019 turkey season does retain one key ingredient from years before: the opportunity to get in the woods. Hunters around the state will wake up early and intently listen to the waking of the woods with the hope of hearing that familiar echo of an Ol Tom getting off his roost and calling to his ladies. Some things just never change.
If you’re interested in hearing an expert turkey hunter’s perspective on the 2019 turkey season, check out Episode 2 of the Great Outdoors Radio Show. Ryan Giddens talks about the 2018 deer season in review and previews what he thinks the season will hold.