The National Wild Turkey Federation backs two bills in the South Carolina General Assembly that provide more opportunities for turkey hunters, establish a permanent youth turkey hunting day and help turkey populations recover following a multi-year decline in reproduction.
South Carolina house bill H4838 and its senate companion bill S1070 propose significant modifications to current turkey hunting regulations to benefit wild turkeys and turkey hunters throughout the state.
If passed, the bills would equalize season dates statewide to six weeks from March 20 to May 5. This change decreases confusion from having multiple seasons in the state. It also increases opportunities for more turkey hunters to spend time in the woods.
To counterbalance the extended season and the decline in turkey reproduction, hunters will be limited to four turkey tags, three for use with any traditional method (archery or legal firearm and ammunition) and an optional archery-only tag.
“We applaud the intent of these bills, which are not only designed to simplify regulations but also establish an equitable season length statewide and allow more turkey hunters to share in the harvest,” said Becky Humphries, NWTF executive vice president of conservation. “Reducing the bag limit while expanding the season work together to protect our wild turkey resource.”
In addition, the bills set a permanent South Carolina Youth Turkey Hunting Day for the Saturday immediately preceding March 20.
A built-in review process requires the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to complete an assessment of the law at the end of three years to determine if any modifications need to be made to ensure there are no long-term negative impacts on wild turkey populations or the tradition of turkey hunting.
The NWTF urges all members in South Carolina to contact his or her state representatives and encourage them to support these important bills.