Male Wild Turkeys Walking in Green Grass

ROBUST TURKEY SEASON — Despite a record-setting turkey hunting season last year, wildlife biologist say the wild turkey population is OK. Only male turkeys — shown here displaying courtship behavior — can be harvested, and they breed in early spring before hunting season starts.

Wild turkey hunting season opens in North Carolina on April 10 and ends May 8, with a limit of two turkeys for the season. A special youth season runs April 3-9.

Last year’s turkey harvest set a record, possibly because turkey season coincided with the height of COVID lockdowns when there was little else to do. The statewide harvest increased by 28% over the prior year, with a 33% increase in Haywood County.

Wildlife Commission turkey biologist Chris Kreh said the wild turkey population remains robust despite last year’s increase in hunting pressure and harvest.

“Five weeks of hunting is conservative compared to most states, and hunters must comply with a two-bird limit and may only take male or bearded birds,” Kreh said. “The season dates offer considerable opportunity for breeding before males are harvested.”

Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity such as poaching or baiting may be eligible to receive a reward (up to $1,000) by reporting information that leads to a conviction. Visit ncwildlife.org/wildtip.

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