The Mid-South Turkey Hunting Forecast

By author of Turkey Blog with Steve Hickoff

Turkey numbers are trending down in much of the region due to poor poult production, but the hunting tradition remains strong

The Mid-South Region has some of the prettiest land you'll ever turkey hunt. Image by Kerry B. Wix

South Carolina

Traditionally, South Carolina has a deep turkey hunting tradition and good numbers of birds in the right habitat areas.

Unfortunately, estimates of South Carolina’s turkey population are down 20,000 birds from just a year ago, to 100,000 statewide. Numbers, officials say, have declined due to poor hatches over recent years.

[Read More: Turkey Hunting in South Carolina]

North Carolina

In 2020, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission documented a record high turkey kill during the five-week hunting season. The statewide take increased by 28% and the youth harvest increased by 110% compared with the average of the three previous years.

The increase, the commission says, is likely due to North Carolinians spending more time outdoors due to COVID-19. 

That said, the 2020 pandemic season saw 23,431 birds taken; last year, the take dropped just a bit to 21,974 turkeys.

[Read More: Turkey Hunting in North Carolina]

Tennessee

If you can picture a Mid-South setting in which to chase gobblers, Tennessee probably has it.

With abundant public land, Tennessee offers room to roam for spring gobblers. Wildlife management areas are good places to start, though hunter pressure is high in some.

Recent hunting regulation changes over the past several years have been based on turkey population declines.

[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Tennessee]

Kentucky

Though 95% of the state is privately owned, there are some good wildlife management areas and public spots where you can turkey hunt, including Land Between the Lakes in the west and Daniel Boone National Forest in the east.

And some of the best turkey hunters in the country call the state home.

[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Kentucky]

Virginia

Virginia has a great turkey hunting tradition, spring and fall. Why? Public land. That’s the real story when it comes to Virginia: opportunity.

[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Virginia]

West Virginia

Biologists and veteran hunters alike will tell you that West Virginia’s turkey population is lower than it was a little over a decade ago. That said, poult production is on the upswing, with some reserved caution.

[Read More: Turkey Hunting in West Virginia]

Maryland

The state’s turkey population estimates are up, and stable, though kill numbers declined just slightly last spring.

[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Maryland]

Delaware

Public-land access is limited, but satisfactory if you can find it. And there’s the lottery process for those public-land tags.

Also, all first-time turkey hunters in Delaware are required by law to attend and successfully complete an agency-sponsored turkey hunting safety class. Tricky for the traveling turkey hunter from afar, but doable.

[Read More: Turkey Hunting in Delaware]

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