EDGEFIELD, S.C. – The National Wild Turkey Federation applauds the South Carolina legislature for passing a bill to addressing declining turkey populations. The bill will restructure season dates and limits for residents and nonresidents.
The new structure creates two regional season periods: April 1 – May 10 for the upstate and March 22 – April 30 in the Lowcountry. The NWTF is pleased with the later season opener in the upstate as it more closely coincides with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ original proposal of April 10 as a start date.
Other provisions in the bill are designed to help reverse the statewide decline in wild turkey populations and they include:
- a daily bag limit of one bird;
- a one-bird limit in the first 10 days of the season, which is intended to reduce early season harvest so more gobblers will be available for breeding early in the season;
- state residents will still be able to take three birds during the season and nonresidents will be allowed to take two;
- a fee for turkey tags will be implemented to support future wild turkey research and management;
- and finally, the bill makes possible the development of an electronic check-in system for reporting harvests.
South Carolina State NWTF Chapter board members testified multiple times in the House and Senate promoting a later season open date, and NWTF members sent more than 5,000 messages to their senators and representatives.
“We thank our members for their participation in the legislative process, and our legislators, particularly committee chairs Senator Chip Campsen (R-43) and Representative Bill Hixon (R-83), for taking the time to craft the legislation,” said Joel Pedersen, NWTF director of government affairs.
“We couldn’t have made the progress we did without the help of our state board and NWTF members who contacted their legislators,” said Dal Dyches, South Carolina’s state chapter president. “Although this isn’t a perfect bill, we believe it is a step in the right direction for the state’s wild turkey population.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to raise $1.2 billion to conserve and enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org