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Forecasts Hunting Turkey

North Carolina Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014

by Craig Holt   |  March 7th, 2014 1
Gobbler, Turkey, Turkey Hunting, Hunting Turkey, North Carolina Turkey Hunting

Stepbrothers Trevor Robbins (left) & Ashton Webb (right) got their first turkey on Youth Day in Wilson County North Carolina.

If you’re looking to do some North Carolina turkey hunting this spring, this is your one-stop shop for population numbers, harvest info, and hunting opportunities.

About five years ago, residents of Franklin, a small town in North Carolina’s southwestern corner, became accustomed to seeing two wild turkeys appear at a fast-food restaurant’s parking lot.

“They’d show up every day or three, and people would feed them French fries and stuff,” said local NWTF chapter president Tex Corbin. “Then they’d go on their way.”

The pair of gobblers, of course, earned the nicknames “Mac” and “Donald.”

They grabbed some local notoriety, but other than providing a photo op for tourists, no one thought much about two wild toms in town for a stroll.

But biologists and hunters who observe wild turkeys knew their behavior was unusual. Mostly they understood when wildlife (that isn’t black bears) venture into a town to mooch fries and Big Macs, it means the species is healthy — or the natural food supply has dwindled. But food availability never has been a problem for western turkeys.

The region always has had untapped habitat. The late Wayne Bailey, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s first wild-turkey restoration biologist, believed in 1971 the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests and their mostly unspoiled 1 million acres held North Carolina’s best hope for wild turkey expansion. Bailey and his successors, Brian Hyder and Mike Seamster, put most of their early restocking efforts into the Blue Ridge landscape.

Unfortunately, despite good efforts, their attempts fell flat.

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