TURKEY

Hanna Bradley and her first gobbler (Photo courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources))

With the end of 2019-20 Hunting Season only a couple of weeks away, it is already time to begin thinking about the upcoming turkey season. This is especially true for those Monroe County hunters that plan to participate in one of the quota turkey hunts offered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

There are two deadlines to circle on your calendar.  The deadline for submission of applications for hunts offered on state wildlife management areas is 11:59 (EST) Feb. 15.       The deadline for hunts scheduled for the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge and Bond Swamp NWR is Feb. 19.

All applications for hunts scheduled for state wildlife management areas must be submitted electronically at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com. If you have any questions regarding the quota hunt selection process call 1-800-366-2661.

Remarkably 59 Quota Turkey Hunts are slated to take place on 59 state and federal management areas and refuges this season. Here is a brief rundown of those hunts that will take place on public lands within a short driving distance of your Monroe County home.

If you want to apply for an application to hunt on a turkey hunt on the Piedmont NWR or Bond Swamp NWR, you must contact the Piedmont Refuge Office to obtain applications and refuge specific hunting regulations.  For more information, call (478) 986-5441 or email piedmont@fws.gov.

Three Quota Turkey Hunts will take place on the Piedmont NWR. A total of 300 hunters will be selected in random drawings to take part in each of these hunts.  The dates of the hunts are  March 31-April 4, April 14-18, and April 28-May 2.

The Bond Swamp NWR Quota Turkey hunts are scheduled for March 21-22 and April 3-4. A quota of 40 hunters will be chosen for each hunt.

The dates for the two Quota Turkey Hunts that will take place on Monroe County’s own Rum Creek WMA this spring are April 4-10 and April 20-26. Only 25 hunters will be picked to hunt during these events.

Three Quota Turkey Hunts are on tap for the 2020 Turkey Hunting Season on the B.F. Grant WMA. The dates of these hunts are March 21-29, April 4-12, and April 18-26. Eighty hunters will be picked for each hunt.

The Clybel WMA will stage two quota hunts open to hunters of all ages and two youth hunts this year. The dates of the general turkey hunts are April 4-10 and April 20-26. The dates of the youth turkey hunts are March 21-29, and April 11-19. A quota of 25 hunters will be randomly chosen for each hunt.  

Keep in mind that one adult must supervise each young hunter selected for a hunt. Groups of up to three children are allowed to submit a group application.  

Three Quota Turkey Hunts are offered this year on the Big Lazer Creek WMA. Some 50 hunters will be selected to take part in each hunt. The dates of these hunts are March 21-29, April 4-12, and April 18-26.

If you have never taken advantage of the high quality hunting opportunities offered by a quota turkey hunt, I urge you to toss your hat into the ring and see if you are selected to take part in one of these special events.

For more information regarding quota turkey hunts, check the free 2019 - 20 Georgia Hunting Season and Regulations Guide. It can also be viewed online at GoHuntGeorgia.com.

Terry Johnson is retired Program Manager of the Georgia Nongame-Endangered Wildlife Program. He has written the informative column ‘Monroe Outdoors’ for the Reporter for many years. His book, “A Journey to Discovery,” is available at The Reporter. Email him at tjwoodduck@bellsouth.net.