The much awaited 2011 turkey season opens Saturday, and the lovers of this sport are chomping at the bit. Many hunters have the good fortune of hunting on private land but others are not as lucky. Today we will focus on some nearby Wildlife Management Areas that historically have produced quality turkey hunting as well as take a look at the forecast for the 2011 season.
Based on the studies of state wildlife biologists the 2011 season may be one in which turkey hunters will have to work a little harder to roll a gobbler. The 2010 season was an excellent one partly because there was a large hatch in 2008 and there were plenty of two year old males. That age group is especially vocal and somewhat easier to bag because they are going through their first year mating cycle and lack the experience and cunning of older birds. Those two year olds will make a run toward anything that sounds remotely like a hen while the older birds are more likely to be more suspicious.
One of the studies reported that for the 2010 season in the Lower Coastal Plain region of Georgia (of which Bulloch County is a part) hunters averaged spending a little over twelve hours of hunting time to kill a gobbler. In comparison the Upper Coastal Plain region hunters reported hunting over eighteen hours in the woods to make a kill and the state average was over twenty one hours. Those numbers added up to a bonanza for local turkey hunters in 2010.
The state wildlife biologists predict fewer numbers of two year olds for the upcoming season in the Lower Coastal Plain region as well as the entire state this season. That forecast is based on the 2009 hatch numbers which were down from 2.3 poults per hen in 2008 to 1.1 in 2009 statewide.
The bottom line for the upcoming season may well be that those hunters who have the most patience and the best calling skills are going to be the ones who bag those three year old toms.
As for the WMA’s the overall success rate in Georgia for 2010 was 7.6 percent but several of Southeast Georgia’s wildlife management areas beat the state average. Big Hammock is one of those but there is concern that it will not be open because of high water problems causing road closings.
If you need some help with anything concerning hunting the WMA’s of Georgia don’t hesitate to e-mail me and we’ll get it done.
These are just a few choices for hunting turkeys on public land and all of them offer the opportunity to get to the woods and bring home a prize.
Articles and columns by Alvin Richardson about hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports will appear weekly in the Statesboro Herald. Richardson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wildlife Management Areas
There are at least five WMA’s close to the Bulloch County area where the public can hunt and where the opportunity to score is good.
1) Big Dukes Pond is located seven miles northwest of Millen may not be the top choice but the numbers of people you will run into at that location will be low. Hunter success rate there last season was just under six percent.
2) Big Hammock WMA is comprised of around 6900 acres and is located about ten miles southwest of Glennville. Its success rate of seventeen percent last season may be a little bit on the misleading side because of a low number of hunters and the fact that river flood water cut down on the access. The hunters who went in by boat however found good success because the turkeys had a limited number of places to use. Check before going because they may still have closures.
3) Bullard Creek is seven miles north of Hazelhurst and is a large tract at nearly 14,000 acres. Two hundred and forty eight hunters bagged fifteen birds for a success rate of six percent in 2010. The harvest per square mile statistic came in at 0.7.
4) Moody Forest WMA is a 3500 acre property located eight miles from Baxley. 2010 hunters had a nearly ten percent success rate and a harvest per square mile approaching one. It is not heavily hunted so if you are looking for a place where pressure is not as great this is a good choice.
5) Tuckahoe WMA is another large tract with one of the best success rates in South Georgia. It is located about ten miles east of Sylvania. In 2010 two hundred and seventy hunters killed thirty five gobblers off the property and the harvest per square mile came in at one and a half birds, one of the best in Georgia.
Here are a couple of web sites where you can get all the information you need on these WMA’s and others all over Georgia. You can find maps, directions, special rules and any other details specific to that particular place.