The start of spring signifies the opening of Turkey Season! As the season is now in full swing throughout South Carolina, we wanted to bring together some information for anyone looking to get into turkey hunting or brush up on the basics before the first hunt of the year.
We sat down with Travis Sumner, Hunting Heritage Center and Habitat Manager for the National Wild Turkey Federation, and talked about introductions to turkey hunting, how to stay up to date on hunting and wildlife news, and how turkey hunting and conservation go hand-in-hand.
1. Turkey Hunting 101
Especially if you’re new to Turkey Hunting, Travis’ first recommendation is to check out the Turkey Hunting 101 course from the National Wild Turkey Foundation. This course will teach you about hunters’ safety, turkey calls, and help you to become familiar with each step of the process from guns to strategy. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and NWTF both host Learn to Hunt programs as well, which is a great first step. They periodically host courses specifically for women’s hunting groups as well.
Before you head out, your next steps are to find the right gear. Travis recommends keeping it simple, “Focus on the essentials; camo head to toe, something comfortable to sit on, and the right firearm.” It’s always best to work with whatever you are most comfortable with. Taking the time to learn your gear, the process, and particularly the right tool (gun or bow and various modifiers) is the key to building that comfort.
2. Keep up with SCDNR and NWTF
Follow SCDNR and NWTF on social media and check their websites before your hunts. It’s always a good idea to stay up to date on when seasons are open and closed throughout the state, when to apply for tags, and much more. Hunting seasons can pass by in a flash, so it’s important to be prepared! The goal is to keep hunting accessible, fun, and responsible as we work together to manage our valuable natural resources.
3. Learn through culture
In the Lowcountry, hunting season is an important part of our culture. Like every other hunting season, Turkey Season has some traditions of its own. Just as families pass on this culture to their children (note that youth have an earlier season start and special tags), friends join friends in comradery to take part. According to Travis, the best way to get into turkey hunting is to find someone who wants to share their passion.
For many hunters, teaching others is just as important as the hunting itself. So, if you already know someone turkey hunting, don’t be shy about giving them a call. If you’re new to the Lowcountry and don’t yet have a friend or hunting mentor, consider signing up for an SCDNR or NWTF event! It’s a great way to learn the culture and join the community.
The best part of Turkey Season is an excuse to be outside and enjoy nature, but there’s always room for some friendly competition. LLT is a proud sponsor of the 11th Annual Low Country Turkey Invitational, hosted by the newly formed Low Country Game Bird Foundation. Keep an eye out for pictures of our Director of Rural Land Protection, Josh Bell, and Board Member, Bo Blessing!