JUMP TO: Season Dates | Bag Limits | Game Check | Licenses and Fees | Hunter Education | Where to Hunt | Best Public Lands | Quota Hunts

Georgia was once a prized destination for nonresident turkey hunters due to its early season, high turkey population and generous bag limits. Unfortunately, turkey numbers have been on the decline in the Peach State, and many of the factors that once made it attractive to out-of-state hunters have changed in recent years.

That’s not to say that great turkey hunting can’t still be found in Georgia, but it may take a little more time and effort than it once did. Fortunately for nonresidents, the state makes it an easy process to hunt here.

Photo of a turkey taken during the spring turkey season.

For the most part nonresident turkey hunters in Georgia have the same opportunities and rules as resident hunters. The season dates and bag limits are the same, and nonresident hunters can apply for the same public land quota hunts. The only real difference is the price you’ll pay to hunt here, which we’ll cover below.

Georgia Turkey Season Dates

Starting in 2022, Georgia began taking measures to address the turkey population decline by opening the season later and reducing bag limits. As a result, the state’s turkey season now opens the first Saturday after March 26 on private land, and one week later on public lands. 

The 2024 Georgia turkey season will open Saturday, March 30 on private lands and Saturday, April 6 on public lands, and will wrap up May 15 statewide.

Youth hunters 16 and under continue to have a one-week jump start on the season with a March 23-24 Special Opportunity Season on private lands only.

Turkey SeasonSeason Dates
Special Opportunity Youth/Mobility ImpairedMarch 23-24, 2024
Statewide (Private Land)March 30 – May 15, 2024
Statewide (Public Lands)*April 6 – May 15, 2024

* Each Georgia WMA has its own season dates and regulations, so be sure to check the current hunting regulations for the WMA you intend to hunt before heading afield.

Bag Limits

The bag limit for turkeys in Georgia is two per season and one per day. Public land hunters may only take one bird per WMA, and any birds taken on public land count towards your two-bird season limit (there are no ‘bonus birds’).

Game Check

For hunters fortunate enough to kill a turkey in Georgia, keep in mind that you MUST report your harvest to the Georgia DNR through their Game Check system prior to moving the bird. That can be done online, through the Outdoors Georgia app, or by calling 1-800-366-2661.

Game Check data provides important county-level information for hunters and land managers, assists conservation rangers in enforcing game laws, and informs management decisions made by professional biologists.

Hunting License Requirements and Fees

Nonresident turkey hunters will need the following to legally hunt turkeys in Georgia:

  • Nonresident hunting license — $100 (annual) or $20 (one day) and $6 each additional day
  • Nonresident big game license — $225 (annual) or $130 (on day) and $8 each additional day
  • Big game harvest log — FREE

So your total out-of-pocket license cost to turkey hunt in Georgia will be $325 for the year, or $150 for a day and $14 each additional day. Keep in mind that if you buy the annual licenses, you’ll be able to return to hunt deer, bear, and an assortment of small game.

Those two licenses not only cover you on private land, but also make you legal on public land. There is NO separate permit needed to hunt Georgia wildlife management areas (WMAs) or national forests.

Hunter Education

In Georgia anyone age 16 and over, born on or after January 1, 1961, must complete a hunter education course prior to hunting. Youth hunters ages 12 to 15 will also need to pass hunter education if they plan to hunt unsupervised. This applies to both residents and nonresidents. 

Georgia recognizes other states’ hunter education certification, so if you’ve already taken the course where you live, you DO NOT have to retake it in Georgia to hunt here.

Where to Hunt

Georgia offers excellent turkey hunting opportunities on both private and public lands across the state. The Piedmont and Upper Coastal Plain regions of Georgia have consistently produced the highest turkey harvests over the last two decades.

Graph of Georgia's turkey harvest by physiographic region, 2010-2022.

But on a local level, several counties in northwest Georgia actually lead the statewide harvest.

Georgia’s top turkey-producing counties for 2023 were:

  1. Polk County — 258 birds
  2. Floyd County — 249 birds
  3. Burke County — 244 birds
  4. Bartow County — 240 birds
  5. Gilmer County — 206 birds

For detailed county-by-county turkey harvest data, check out Georgia DNR’s Interactive Turkey Harvest Map.

If you don’t have access to private land, there are plenty of public land options for Peach State turkey hunters. Georgia hunters are fortunate enough to have access to over 1 million acres of public hunting land spread over 100 wildlife management areas and two national forests.

Some of these WMAs only allow turkey hunting through a quota system, while others are open for anyone who wants to sign in and hunt. More about the quota hunt system below.

In 2022, both hunter and harvest numbers decreased on WMAs. 11,452 hunters signed in, a 28% decrease from 2021. These hunters harvested 556 gobblers, down 48% from 2021’s total harvest. Jakes comprised 19% of the WMA harvest.

Graph of Georgia WMA turkey harvest 2001-2022.

Overall, hunters had a success rate of 4.9% on wildlife management areas in Georgia. In 2022, Hunter satisfaction among public land hunters was 52%, a significant decrease from previous years.

Georgia’s Best Public Land Turkey Hunting

While I can’t cover every public land option in this one article, what I can do is hit the areas with the highest turkey harvests last season to give you a potential starting point. But keep in mind that the overall turkey harvest on a property doesn’t paint the whole picture.

The size of the property and the total number of hunters using it are also important factors in determining how good the turkey hunting truly is. For example, more turkeys were killed on the Chattahoochee National Forest than any other public land, but when you consider the massive size of the forest, other WMAs actually produce more turkeys per acre.

A photo of the author with a public land turkey he killed using the tips and tricks in this article.

With that in mind, here are some of the top Georgia public lands for turkey hunting in terms of total harvest:

Public Land2023 Turkey Harvest
Chattahoochee National Forest174
Fort Stewart58
Oconee National Forest32
Paulding Forest WMA32
Pine Log WMA30
Piedmont NWR26
Coopers Creek24
Redlands WMA24
Dawson Forest WMA23
Fort Gordon20

Applying for Georgia Quota Turkey Hunts

As I mentioned earlier, many of Georgia’s best public land turkey hunting opportunities are quota hunts. That means you must apply for the hunt prior to turkey season and be drawn in order to participate.

Each year you apply for a hunt and don’t get drawn, you will earn a preference point, which improves your odds of being drawn in future seasons. The best hunts will probably take two to four years to draw.

You can see the odds of drawing specific hunts based on previous years on the Georgia DNR’s website at this link.

That application period for quota turkey hunts begins June 1 each year with a deadline of February 15. The DNR typically conducts the drawing and notifies everyone a day or two following the deadline.

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