Turkey Hunting in North Carolina

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  • B
  • 260,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 57,000

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • $25

    Annual hunting and big game license.

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • Varies (see below)

    Hunting annual non-resident license (varies depending on state of residency): $60 ($100 Georgia, $125 South Carolina, $90 Tennessee, & $110 Virginia); big game annual license: $60 ($195 Georgia, $100 South Carolina, $160 Tennessee, & $85 Virginia) or hunting 6-day license: $40 ($40 Georgia, $60 South Carolina, $50 Tennessee, & $80 Virginia); big game 6-day license: $40 ($110 Georgia, $80 South Carolina, $90 Tennessee, & $80 Virginia). Check current regulations.

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

As of this writing, North Carolina has a little over twice the estimated wild turkey numbers (260,000) as its southern cousin South Carolina (120,000).

The state has a rich turkey hunting tradition.

Good news is wild turkey numbers are steady after some challenging years.

Recent information shows flock sightings have increased just slightly in some areas of the state since.

Go here for some of these North Carolina wild turkey studies.

Annual spring harvest numbers run around 16,000 turkeys or slightly more; one would hope for 20,000 or so from a state this size, but mountain hunting is a challenge, as it should be.

Still, habitat is available, and both turkeys and turkey hunters take advantage of it.

From swamps and coastal lowlands to farm country, rolling hills and full-scale Appalachian ridges and mountains, North Carolina has a range of diverse turkey habitat.

Part of the reason for a solid B grade is the state’s extensive network of Game Lands – more than 2 million acres in all – open to public hunting.

This will always get our Turkey Hunting Nation attention. (Check specific regulations to hunt these areas, of course.)

The Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie and Croatan National Forests are included in this list, as is the Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge.

Traditionally, the Tar Heel State’s top turkey country includes the northern Piedmont and the foothills, but all counties have at least some birds.

In North Carolina, it's illegal, game laws specifically state, to:

  • Use dogs during the spring wild turkey season.
  • Use any type of handgun or rifle to hunt wild turkey.
  • Take wild turkeys from an area in which bait has been placed. (An area is considered baited until 10 days after the bait has been consumed or otherwise removed.)
  • Possess live wild turkeys or live birds that are indistinguishable from wild turkeys.

Go here for more information on the state's turkey hunting.

Have you ever turkey hunted North Carolina?

Anything to add? Please comment below. 

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

Fun Fact: Three counties (Northampton, Halifax and Rockingham) typically account for about 10 percent of North Carolina’s annual turkey kill.

– Steve Hickoff

Go here for more Realtree turkey hunting.