2024 Georgia Turkey Season Update

GON Hunt Advisor Team files reports from the turkey woods across the state.

GON Staff | May 3, 2024

Nick Anweiler and his 6-year-old daughter Everly doubled-up on Bartow County gobblers April 2.

The reports from the turkey woods aren’t great—Georgia is certainly not back to normal and acceptable levels of birds in most areas. Some tracts continue to hold good numbers of turkeys, and one thing’s for sure… if a gobbler gets killed, we are fortunate to see pictures of happy hunters! Some of those photos appear here, and many more will show up in upcoming issues of the magazine.

Averee Hart, 13, rolled her first-ever gobbler on opening day of the youth season while hunting in Haralson County. Averee’s big bird weighed 22 pounds, had a 10 3/4-inch beard and 1 1/4-inch spurs.


GON subscriber Buck Cole, of Dallas, with his Paulding County bird.

Here are the Hunt Advisors reports:


Various Counties: Greg Grimes, of Ball Ground, reports, “The season has been typical in the fact that it’s hit or miss. Good news is—mostly hits for us. If measured in fun and enjoyment, all hunts have been awesome. The season started in Madison County where my son called in not one but two gobblers, and that was a problem. When it came to pulling the trigger, he would’ve killed two (there’s now a one gobbler per day limit). The following day we had two gobblers coming to us right off the roost, but right before gun range, hens called them away.

“I then proceeded to get beat on a couple of hunts on our lease in Cherokee County. I just love to be in the game and play the chess match, even if I was beat up. Things got serious on April 6. After the bird had tricked me three times, I finally had him dead to rights only to realize I had never loaded my shotgun. That evening I went back and roosted the bird. Hens flew up right beside me and the gobbler was just across the gully. The next a.m. just as planned he flew down in the field in the rain. The bad part is I got there 30 seconds too late. Long story short, he left the field, but I knew where he was going with the hens. I put the sneak on him through the briars and cut him off and got him in the rain. It was definitely the proudest moment I’ve had personally in turkey hunting as I think this is the same bird that had kicked my rear earlier this year and possibly  last year, as well. The spurs were 1 11/16 inches. Once the dominant bird was eliminated, the other gobbler was killed two days later by my employee.”

Hunt Advisor Greg Grimes killed the “smartest bird” he’s ever tangled with on April 9 in Cherokee County. It’s longest spur was 1 11/16 inches long. Greg pulled it off hunting in the rain.

“April 20 found me with my son on a youth quota hunt on a WMA in Lumpkin County. Not a single gobble was heard all day. However, we saw multiple birds and probably should’ve killed a few jakes. We had a blast fishing and playing in the river.

“April 27 I took my son and two of his close friends who have never been turkey hunting to Bartow County. Here we never heard a gobble, but we had a blast in God’s creation. While we were out eating Mexican at lunch, it turns out they had come to the blind I set up and beat up my jake decoy. If only we had stayed and eaten the jerky instead of going to lunch…

“For sure, the turkey population is still strong in general in northwest Georgia. The population in middle Georgia is very property dependent, with not a single gobbler on my 180 acres in Monroe County, but lots of birds in Madison County on a well-managed property. I hope the population rebounds to past levels. I’m hopeful with increased burning regimes, habitat management, as well as properly timed trapping, that we will be able to continue chasing this challenging, great-tasting bird.”

First bird for Lilburn’s Anna Lee Patterson! Anna Lee was hunting on her husband’s Pierce County family land on April 13 when she shot the gobbler.

Chattahoochee National Forest: Tim Dangar, of Ball Ground, reports, “There is nothing like hunting in the mountains, whether it be turkey or deer. It is truly my first love when it comes to hunting and fishing.

“The wind this spring has not been my friend. The wind has made it difficult to hear any response to calls on the ridge tops. There are plenty of birds in the mountains, and last week I saw a lot of fresh scratching looking for acorns that are still sound. I’m seeing some hens singled out but not as many as last year. I think the cold spring and wind may have played havoc on early breeding. Late season is different in the mountains. Birds will still respond to calls and they seem to move more in a day’s time than flat-landers. My late-season strategy would be to first pick a still morning, and then ease around calling periodically. An old sawmill road is a good place to walk and call. Don’t move too soon, birds will come in silent and sometimes that could be the one you are looking for. I believe we have better-than-average chance for harvesting a bird in the mountains than years past due to numbers and low hunting pressure. Until September, stay calm and HUNT on!”

Cherokee County: Tim Dangar reports, “The woods have changed a lot since opening day. First morning out was exciting with gobblers sounding off before daylight and still sounding off at 9 that morning. We have a good number of birds here around home, which helped in all that thundering on opening day. We got a group of six jakes and four longbeards with many hens of all ages. We do not have a lot of hunting pressure, which also helps with number of birds.

“Back to opening morning, we got them in as close as 75 yards, but the hens with them won out. Oh well, that’s why it’s called hunting! I sat the same ridge this week and heard nothing. The hens that got bred early are singled out looking for nesting areas with some already on nest.

“On a morning walk this week, I observed a longbeard and one lone hen in a field. He was showing off for his lady friend in full strut. As I came back by about an hour later, they were still there within 25 yards of first viewing. This is another reason hunting late season is tough due to birds not moving around like early season. If you have a large tract of land to hunt, my late-season strategy would be to ease around and try to locate the tom and hen like I observed on my walk. The gobbler probably will not respond to a call, but the hen may. Until September and deer season, stay calm and HUNT on!”

Congrats to Chloe Carver, 20, of Acworth, on her first gobbler. Chloe was hunting in Cherokee County.

Madison County: Keith Ingram, of Comer, reports, “Been a pretty tough season so far through middle to late April. I didn’t do any preseason scouting because of the logging that was going on at our lease. Have not hunted near as much this season either, because of it, but they finally finished up in the middle of April, and it was just a thinning not a clearing. I don’t know if the birds got pushed off our property or just shut down, but it’s been a challenge to even hear a gobble. I finally ran across a mid-morning, 2-year-old bird that was looking for love. Less than 10 minutes after I sat down, he was flopping. I was actually headed to my golf cart to head home because the morning had been dead. Didn’t have to carry him but about 50 yards to the golf cart.

“I did get invites to Oglethorpe and Wilkes counties that I gladly took. I heard gobbling in both counties but none wanted to play the game. I’m not gonna try to take another off our lease, but I will go with my son the rest of the season and try to help get him one. Hopefully the logging didn’t hurt the nesting, because they were pretty much finished with the cutting, and they weren’t running all over the woods early in the season. I am hoping the hens will hatch off some poults, and with the timber thinning, next season will be much better. Good luck to everyone the last two weeks of the season.”

Congrats to GON subscriber Chris Abouzeidan, of Conyers, who got his first-ever turkey while hunting in Taliaferro County. Chris said, “I am absolutely hooked on springtime thunder chickens!”


GON subscriber Bobby Day, of Gainesville, with his Baldwin County gobbler killed on April 6.


Opening day father-son double in Lee County! Archer Tomlinson, 10, helped call in and shoot his turkey, and then Archer passed the 410 over to dad Aaron Tomlinson to get the second gobbler at around 12:30 p.m.


Fayette & Meriwether Counties: Jeff Scurry, of Peachtree City, reports, “Turkey season started off slow this year. Seems like opening weekend the mature toms were already with hens somewhat. I did not have much activity first two weeks of the season, although I did see a few young jakes and a few hens during that time.

“On Friday, April 12, things cranked up. I was fortunate to call in a nice tom. I called in two jakes around 8 a.m., and then a solo hen came in from the other side of the field. After a few cutts on my box call, I heard a faint gobble about 200 yards in the distance behind the hen. I hit the gobble tube and heard another gobble, and he was closing the distance. The tom came out in the field and saw the two jakes. He ran the two jakes off, which I caught on video, and then he proceeded coming toward my decoys and the hen, which was about 20 yards from me. I was able to get a clean shot at 45 yards. He had a 10-inch beard and 1-inch spurs. I think now that a lot of hens have been bred, it’s a great time to call in a nice tom that is out searching for new hens. Middle of the day has always been a great time to call when toms are out searching the most. Focus on fields and logging roads. Toms like to strut in areas where they can be seen the most—open fields, logging roads and fire breaks.”

Hunt Advisor Jeff Scurry with his Meriwether County gobbler killed on April 12 after calling it into a field after first calling up two jakes a lone hen.

“I think turkey numbers are up compared to last year based on trail cameras. I saw a lot of poults that made it through the summer, which was more than in years past due to predation in my areas. I have also seen an increase of jakes this year, which shows an overall increase in numbers. Good luck to everyone.”

Luke Zech with his mature Jasper County gobbler.

Jasper County: Tim Zech, of Monticello, reports, “Turkey season in Jasper County has been a mixed bag of success and struggle. It started with a bang on opening day of youth/disability. I believe the turkeys were in ‘peak rut’ around youth weekend. It was the most gobbling we heard all season.

“Opening day of youth season I was guiding a young man named Bodee, who loves to hunt so much that he has adopted my wife and me as an additional set of grandparents. Bodee has been looking for his second big tom, and you gotta love it when the first owl hoot of the season gives you gobbles from two toms and one jake. These birds roost in nearly the same spot every year, and usually head to the large ag fields away from our property. This year was no different. So, after an hour or so of listening to them gobble away from us, we switched locations to the other side of the property and had gobbles at my first calls. We worked two toms for about an hour and finally got them to 50 yards. Unfortunately, they would look and gobble good but would not come any closer. It was too thick to try to force a shot even though I had Bodee set up with TSS in my trusty, single-shot 20 gauge. The turkeys moved on. We moved again, and soon we were able to get another bird to fire off… but we could hear a hen with him, and he just would not break any closer than 125 yards.

“We had an eventful morning, but not as eventful as the hunt my son Luke Zech had. As it had rained overnight Friday and was clearing out Saturday morning, Luke decided to sleep in and hit the woods late morning. At 11:11, he texted me that he was rolling into the woods in his wheelchair. By 11:25, he sent me a video holding up a trophy tom. As crazy as it sounds, he was able to use his wheelchair in stealth mode. We have noticed over the years that deer and turkeys don’t seem to notice a wheelchair rolling through the woods like they do humans and human footsteps. Luke literally rolled into the field and was sitting behind the blind at the field edge when he saw a hen stand up in the wheat and oat food plot about 60 yards away. When she stood up, a tom raised up right behind her and went into full strut. We believe a person walking upright would have been spotted by the wary turkeys. With his first set of calls of the year, he had the hen run right up to the blind and pass by into the woods behind the blind. The gobbler lost his mind and just exploded with gobbles trying to call her back into the field. No more calls were needed as the tom strutted and gobbled after the hen… right to the gun barrel.  Luke videoed the whole thing, and it just seems like a miracle when we look back. The mature bird was at 3+ years old with a long beard and sharp hooks.

“Opening weekend of the regular season we were at it again. We hunted several days that week as Bodee decided to skip spring break at the beach and spend it with his new ‘Papa and Memaw.’ We hunted hard all over the county and finally had some birds do right and get in range. Again, due to typical turkey hunting circumstances, we got a great show on three toms in one day but did not get a shot. It’s a lot harder hunting now than it was a few years ago. There just are not as many turkeys around due to a variety of reasons.  “

Sara Evans got her first-ever turkey Easter morning. Sara said, “I was so excited that I didn’t realize something was different about him, but there was! He is a melanistic turkey, and according to the taxidermist, he also has the red erythristic coloring on his body. He had a 12-inch beard and 1 1/4-inch spurs. He was harvested in Lee County at our family farm. Not sure how I can ever top this one!”

“After three weeks of guiding and running all of our six properties pretty hard, I decided it was time to pick up my gun and try some new spots. Bodee had school and I had time. I tried several of the old public-land spots that had produced in years past without even hearing a gobble. I did call in a few hens, which in years like this seems rewarding. I have not seen the first jake while hunting. I would guess the turkeys may be down to 20% of what they used to be in Jasper County.

“That being said, there are still a few around if you want to work for them. I put in 100,000 steps in a five-day period looking for my first bird of the season. Fortunately, I got some help. Luke went to a public spot after work one day during the third week of April. That evening the birds were on fire for some reason. He had three birds gobbling right up to the roost. As he had to work the next day, he gave me the location advice, and I was heading in after them in a spot I had never hunted before. The birds did not gobble one time the next morning. I was thinking that they had probably played this game enough this year as other hunters were in the woods even that midweek morning, as well. I think they could hear the trucks coming down the gravel road.”

“A week later on April 23, I was heading home from work out of town and figured I would stop by the public spot as it was almost dark. Sure enough, my first call had a bird gobbling on the roost on the other side of the road from where my son heard him.  He gobbled 10 times in 10 minutes. I made a note and a plan.

“I arrived early and parked a quarter mile from where I knew the bird was. If he heard a truck this time it wouldn’t be mine. Twenty minutes of slipping, in moonlight only, had me in a spot where I figured I could hear him if he gobbled on his own. I had decided not to owl hoot or crow call as I am sure he has heard it all. Just before daylight a turkey flew out of a pine tree right above me. Talk about deflated, I was scratching my head and thinking I had blown it. I told myself to be patient and trust the scouting and within 10 minutes the bird I was after gobbled 300 yards from me where I figured he would be.  The hunt was on.   

“As I eased in on him, I realized he was on the other side of a swamp.   Wishing I had my hip boots that were still in the truck, I started wading through in my Alpha Burleys. The tom was gobbling steady the whole time… but on the ground now and moving down the swamp. Thanks to the beavers I got through to the other side dry…  but late. I set up and called softly.  The tom gobbled in front of me and a hen immediately answer from behind me where I came out of the swamp.   The tom gobbled again on his own further away but the hen came right up to 10 yards looking for me. I decided to run her off so she would not cross past me to get to the tom.  After 30 minutes of silence, I decided to move up on him a little closer to his last gobble.

“I set up again and just about the time I was ready to start circling back around to the truck he answered my loudest yelping sequence from 300 yards. It was thick so I jumped up and cut the distance and set up again. At my next calls he lost his mind double and triple gobbling. I had not been there 30 seconds and I could see a turkey approaching… but it was a hen. She came down a hill and right up to me at about 30 yards and stared into the bushes looking for me. The tom was hating it and never stopped his gobbling at 100 yards or so. She circled back up the hill to him and he went quiet. I gave a few calls here and there for the next 20 minutes or so and he would gobble at me occasionally but not hot. I have hunted enough to know that if the gobbler has the high ground and a hen the odds are not good. That being said I figured I would wait it out and see if she led him off or if they stayed around.   

“After a few minutes of silence, I did a series of three increasing intensity hen yelps. Within a minute I could not believe my eyes as the gobbler strutted out into the open at 80 yards. He broke strut and ran right in my direction. I thought he was coming to me but he was actually chasing the hen. She was leading him right to me. The hen ran in to about 40 yards and he was in hot pursuit. She stopped to look for me again and he did the same. The gun was up but he started back into strut. As soon as he came out, he stretched his neck to look for me one last time. At 9:45 am it was over.”

Hunt Advisor Tim Zech won a duel with a public-land gobbler on Oconee National Forest property in middle Georgia.

“This mature bird made my year. I don’t think I will take another one from Jasper County, even if I have the chance. There are other places around the state with the same low number issues and some with better populations. I think the later season dates and lower limits should help… but it will be a long time before it gets back to the way it used to be.   

“On a final positive note, the cicadas are in epic numbers in Jasper County at the time of this writing. They say that not only will the turkeys feast of them, but many of their predators will also. So, well-fed turkeys and turkey predators (like raccoons too full to eat eggs) sounds too good to be true. We can only hope. Shoot Straight.”

Hunt Advisor Xane Bennett and his daughter with Xane’s Walton County gobbler taken early on opening day.

Walton County: Xane Bennett, of Monroe, reports, “The turkey population is low in most parts of Walton County. I was only able to hunt a few times this season due to a knee surgery that had very bad timing to say the least. I was fortunate enough to harvest a bird on opening day this year, and the two other hunts in separate locations were very silent. I have acquired most of this report from others who turkey hunt throughout Walton County, and the evidence seems identical to previous years—either your property holds turkeys in the spring months or it simply doesn’t. The property that I hunted opening day consistently produces mature toms in groups and is very exciting for the future. I spot broken eggs from time to time on the properties that hold turkeys, so it’s always a friendly reminder in conservation to eliminate predators and pests from your property for the sake of nesting hens.

“If your property does hold spring turkeys in Walton County, be prepared for an exciting last couple weeks of the season. The males will travel farther looking for that last unbred hen, which opens up an opportunity to catch a quiet traveling tom. Enjoy the last couple weeks of the turkey season, have fun and stay safe!”

Easter morning double in Charlton County for the Chesser brothers, Andrew and Tyler.


Crisp County: Jodi Manders, of Cordele, reports, “I wish I could report that we have had a great turkey season so far, but that is not the case. We were seeing a good number of turkeys during late deer season and earlier in the year. Things looked real promising, but we have not seen the numbers since season opened. I believe the cause to be a number of reasons—first, I think hunting pressure has pushed them out at times, and second, we have neighbors who don’t turkey hunt and feed the deer year-round, and it’s hard to compete with a buffet of corn on the ground. I have been seeing a group of five almost every time I hunt, three jakes and two longbeards. They always fly down into a neighbor’s field between 7:15 to 7:30. I’ll keep trying and maybe eventually they will fly down my way.

“The gobbling has been really sparse. Sometimes I’ll hear a few gobbles after flydown, but mostly they just stay quiet and feed around for an hour or so, and then head over to the corn buffet. We did see plenty of hens during early season, so hopefully they are all nesting and the eggs survive the various nest robbers. I do believe we have a decent sized group of birds on our property and surrounding properties, they are just staying hidden.

“One thing is for sure, I won’t give up. There’s still plenty of time to get one. Hope you all have a successful season. Hunt safe and God bless!”

Morgan (left) and Matt Moye, brothers from Vidalia, doubled up on gobblers in Wheeler County on March 31.


A public-land hunt on April 8 at Oaky Woods WMA produced a first-ever tom for Noah Petty.

Harris County: Jimmy Harper, of Hamilton, reports, “The wild turkey population in Harris County, and the hunting associated with it, appears to have somewhat stabilized at ‘new normal’ levels with lower turkey populations and lower hunter harvests compared to the good old days. As of April 28, there had been 106 gobblers reported killed via Game Check during the 2024 season in Harris County compared to 105 birds reported killed as of that same date in the 2023 season. On the properties we hunt, it’s obvious to us that habitat is the most important factor in having solid turkey populations. It’s not the only factor, obviously, but the most significant one. On our 791-acre timber lease, which is currently in various stages of timber growth ranging from new clearcuts to 15-year-old planted pines, and with the only hardwoods remaining in narrow creek and stream bottoms, the turkeys have essentially disappeared over the last 10 to 15 years. However, on our 16-acre private farm, which is adjacent to our timber lease but comprised of high-quality wild turkey habitat, we still have a strong population of turkeys using our private property, even if they don’t spend all of their time there. In fact, my wife, Christina, killed her first turkey there the last afternoon of the season last year, which is one of the reasons why we always try to hunt until the last hour of the last day of every season!

“I’ve never understood why turkeys gobble one day and not others, or more one year than other years. But on our Harris County properties, gobblers that lit up the woods almost every day of the season last year have been very quiet this season. We’ve also not seen as many turkeys while hunting, but our trail cameras are showing they’re still there, so we’ll stick with it until the end. I just hope the turkeys will be able to hear our calls over all the cicada noise!”

On April 7, Troy Leeson, of Dawson, was rewarded with a very special tom. Troy’s Terrell County gobbler had six beards and 1 1/2-inch spurs.

Muscogee County: Jimmy Harper reports, “With urban sprawl continuing in Muscogee County, and the habitat loss associated it, the wild turkey population is much lower than it was a decade or so ago. Turkey hunting success has also decreased, with Game Check reporting only 12 gobblers killed in Muscogee County as of April 28 this season compared to 21 birds harvested by that same date in the 2023 season. I’m very lucky in that the private Muscogee County farm I hunt is intensively managed year-round for both turkeys and deer. Because of that, the turkey population has remained relatively stable over the last several years. But even with this strict management program, turkey populations on this farm are still less that half what they were 20, or even 10, years ago.

“I was lucky enough to call in two mature gobblers on the afternoon of April 4 and kill one with my .410 shotgun. My landowner hunting friend, Bud, followed that up by calling in a pair of mature gobblers on the morning of April 17 and dropping the largest tom with his .410 shotgun. Gobbling activity has been sporadic this season, and although we’ve seen mature gobblers on almost every hunt, strutting activity by those gobblers has been almost nonexistent. In fact, until the later part of April, the mature gobblers on this farm were showing very little interest in hens, including both live ones and decoys. That leads me to believe almost all mating had occurred before the turkey season even started. I’m hoping, since studies are now showing that the later start date to our turkey seasons have no real effect, good or bad, to the turkey mating process, the Georgia DNR will quickly move to restore the earlier start dates to our future turkey seasons.”

Blake Heilman (left) got his first gobbler—11 1/4-inch beard—on April 21 in Tattnall County thanks to the calling of Parker Cox (right). “Two-plus years of the two of us chasing them. Blake was with me last year the first time I called in my own bird,” said Parker.

Twiggs County: Richie Green, of Jeffersonville, reports, “Where have all the turkey gone around here? There is not one bird on the three tracts of land I leased in Twiggs County. No gobbles heard or scratching seen. We might need to go to one bird for a few years to help things out. I had some turkeys during deer season, but now they’re gone to a better place, I guess.

“At least some people are killing birds, so those hunters are happy. Jackson Little got his first turkey in Twiggs County on opening day of youth season. He said it didn’t take long, and his heart was beating out of his chest. I’d say he’s probably hooked. He’s already got two nice bucks on the wall, so he knows how to hunt.”

Congrats to Jackson Little on his first-ever gobbler! The Twiggs County bird was a good one, with an 11-inch beard and inch-long spurs.

“Harley Hopson killed her first in Wilkinson County. She said, ‘Redemption was our goal, and oh boy was it that and more. This was an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget. We get to the spot before daylight, and we waited to start the owl calls. This guy was immediately going off and was on fire. He couldn’t get one gobble out without two more coming. Triple gobbling one after the other was enough to rattle my heart. Cody Howell (her boyfriend) was going back and forth with a hen when he decided this gobbler was the one, and we made our way to him. Right out of the roost at 7:28 he was on us, but we were ready and I got my first turkey ever! Little over 10-inch beard and one spur that is 1 1/4 inches. We are so blessed,’ Harley said.

“That’s what it’s all about right there. Little does she know that rarely happens, but when it does, you’ll never forget it.

Harley Hopson with her Wilkinson County gobbler. It had a 10-inch beard
1 1/4-inch spurs.

“Chance Floyd, who is Cody’s cousin, got a good bird, too, on opening day. Chance said, ‘I got into the field, and he was hammering like crazy. When he hit the ground, he gobbled once, and I called one time and he was coming in silent. When I clicked my gun on fire my buddy moved and the bird was like 65 to 70 yards away and started clucking, and I blew him in the dirt.’

“Chance’s bird had a 10-inch beard and 1 1/2-inch spurs. Wow I remember those days. It’s been six years since I killed a turkey in Georgia.”

This gobbler had 1 1/2-inch hooks! Chance Floyd rolled the big bird in Twiggs County.

“No matter how many turkeys I kill (or don’t), I still love the season and seeing my friends kill them.

“Good luck to y’all, and see you at the Blast in Emerson the last weekend in July.”

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