The S.C. Department of Natural Resources recently mailed turkey tags for the 2014 spring season. Those who have not received them should order tags now so they will receive them before the season opens. Hunters can determine if they should have received their tags by mail by checking their hunting license. If “Turkey Tags” appears on their hunting license the tags should have already been mailed to them. If “Turkey Tags” does not appear on the license then they will need to order the tags. Turkey tags are free and can be ordered online at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/turkeytags/.
In order to legally hunt turkeys, all hunters including hunters under the age of 16, must possess a set of turkey tags. Hunters 16 and older must also possess a hunting license and big game permit. Hunters may not possess more than one set of turkey tags and all harvested birds must be tagged prior to being moved from the point of kill.
Hunters should remember to specifically request their turkey tags each year when they get their hunting license. For hunters who purchase their license over the counter they should order the tags at the license vendor. For hunters who renew their license by mail they should check the “Turkey Tags” box on their license renewal form. Tags are mailed to hunters in February prior to the turkey season each year. For those hunters who do not get tags by mail, handwritten tags will be available in March at DNR offices and some local businesses. For a list of businesses that have over the counter turkey tags see the following link on the DNR website: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/regs/pdf/turkey.pdf
An estimated 50,000 hunters will take to the woods during the upcoming spring turkey season, generating an estimated $30 million in direct expenditures for South Carolina’s economy. The 2014 wild turkey season begins April 1 on private lands in 34 counties that make up Game Zones 1-5 and on all Wildlife Management Areas statewide where turkey hunting is allowed. The season opens March 15 on private lands only in Game Zone 6: Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton, Jasper and Orangeburg counties. The season closes May 1 throughout the state.
Saturday, March 29 is Youth Turkey Hunt Day. On this day, youths 17 and under who are accompanied by a properly licensed adult (age 21 and older) may hunt turkeys. Only the youth can take or attempt to take turkeys. Tagging requirements remain in place for this special youth day.
For more information on wild turkeys including how to order turkey tags online, the 2014 Turkey Regulations, the 2013 Summer Turkey Brood Survey or the results from the 2013 spring gobbler season, see the following link on the DNR website: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/turkey/index.html