Marty Fischer-March 26 Hunt Report

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The Ides of March mark a magical time in the South Carolina Lowcountry, as March 15 is the traditional spring turkey opener in that part of the Palmetto State.  Like most of the South, this region of the country experienced warmer than normal temperatures once 2012 rolled around, and the gobbling and most likely the breeding activity got an early start. 
Once the season got underway in SC, there were lots of reports of gobbling turkeys and kills up and down the Savannah River basin, which serves as the southern boundary for the Lowcountry.  My particular club in Jasper County was holding a large number of birds in early March, but come opening day, they had all but disappeared.  We had turned off our feeders just over 10 days before the season to conform with state baiting laws, and it is apparent that those swamp chickens moved on to higher ground.
Not all areas of the lower Savannah River basin shared our experience, as one private property reports six gobblers taken the first week of the season.  Word is that gobbling is sporadic, but the birds are still there, somewhat henned up.
Reports from the Palmetto Bluff area near Bluffton, SC indicate that gobbling is at an all time high, and hunters who probably have no business taking a tough Lowcountry gobbler are having success.
I did manage to take a tremendous bird in southern Allendale County four days into the season.  The 20 pound gobbler sported seven beards and had 1 1/4 inch spurs on each leg.  I had hunted that tract on March 17 and heard one bird.  Two days later, I took this bird and heard eight different gobblers sounding off on the limb.
Southeast Georgia is a different story.  Hunters are reporting lots of gobbling and turkey harvests after the season opened on March 24.  Two of my SC club members also have a membership in a Georgia club, and they reported a double kill early on opening day.  Another friend heard five or six birds around a plowed field, but said they didn't want anything to do with his full fan gobbler/hen decoy set.
I traveled to hunt with my stepson and a friend in western Ware County, Georgia.  We hunted the same area two consecutive days and the guys took a double on opening day and a single bird early Sunday morning.  Sunday's cool, crisp morning produced an unbelievable amount of gobbling.  All three of the birds we shot for my TNT Outdoor Explosion television series on Pursuit Channel were taken before 7:30 a.m. 
A lot of two year old birds are currently being taken, and things will probably get a bit worse before getting better in the regions of the country.  Once the hens start nesting on a consistent basis, the more mature birds will start looking again, and things will pick up later in the season.
Marty Fischer
Marty Fischer is the host and executive producer of TNT Outdoor Explosion seen each week on the Pursuit Channel. He is a professional wingshooter and instructor, a book author, video host, gun club designer and avid turkey hunter. He is the author of two books, "The Gun Digest Book of Shotgunning" and "Limbhangers and 4-Letter Words - The Trials and Tribulations of a Turkey Fanatic."
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