Turkey Hunting in South Carolina

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  • B
  • 120,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 40,000

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • $18

    Hunting license ($12) and big-game permit ($6).

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • $225

    Annual hunting license ($125), and big-game permit ($100). Ten-day ($75) and 3-day ($40) hunting licenses are available.

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

South Carolina hunters had long enjoyed a generous bag limit of five spring turkeys. In some ways, they’d been the envy of some of us living in states with just a one- or two-bird limit.

That’s changed.

As you know from this Realtree.com turkey blog post, it's been cut to just three gobblers per season (check Wildlife Management Areas for other regulations).

Still, that's a higher season limit than other spring states around the country, perhaps owing to the fact they offer no fall turkey hunting.

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

Just over a decade or so ago, the Palmetto State probably would have pulled an “A” grade, but turkey populations have declined due to poor hatches from 2002 to 2009, and since then.

We're inclined to give the state a "B" (but with a minus) for an outlook this season.

Hatches had fared somewhat better in recent years, so populations stabilized a bit; however 2013 held the poorest hatch since the early 1980s.

South Carolina turkeys can be exceedingly tough – these are cagey Easterns indeed. Recent data (2014) shows 19,211 turkeys were taken that season.

Turkey Hunting in South Carolina (c) Tes Randle Jolly photo

Hunters remain optimistic, though.

Want upside? With 40,000 hunters, you’d peg South Carolina for heavy hunting pressure.

But, if you're willing to hike a little, you can find seclusion in the state's 630,000 acres of Wildlife Management Areas.

Add to that another million acres of public hunting on U.S. Forest Service lands (600,000-plus acres between the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forest), more than a quarter-million acres of DNR lands, plus state Forestry Commission lands as well as timber company properties open to public hunting.

Fun Fact: Edgefield, South Carolina, is the longtime home of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

– Steve Hickoff

2018 South Carolina Turkey Hunting Regulations

Go here for more Realtree turkey hunting.