Georgia Mulling Open Hunting Season on Raccoons and Possums To Help Turkey Population

by Chase Thomas
(Photo by Lino Mirgeler/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Folks in Georgia love to hunt turkey. However, the state is mulling open hunting season on raccoons and possums, too, to help the turkey population. Essentially, Georgia legislators want to make hunting raccoons and possums a year-round deal. They want this to increase the turkey population in the state. You need one to have the other, potentially. Why raccoons and possums? Well, these two critters are known to eat turkey eggs and measle their way into turkey nests. These two things, as you might guess, cause a bit of a problem for the turkey population.

Georgia Potentially Making Changes To Raccoon And Possum Hunting

H.B. 1147 aims to address this turkey population issue. If this bill passes, it would give private landowners the opportunity to trap and hunt the two species on a year-round basis. The only thing left is for the bill to be signed into law by Governor Kemp. There is data to back up the need for this bill to come into effect. The turkey population has shrunk by 30 percent in the last few years, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Trey Rhodes, who is one of the legislators sponsoring the bill and a lifelong turkey hunter himself said, “Bottom line, we’ve got an overpopulation right now of raccoons and possums.” He continued, “They’re very adaptive animals, they can live a lot of places and they’ve really taken off. They’re really taking a toll on our nesting game birds.” There are a lot of raccoons and possums and not enough game birds like turkeys from Rhodes’ perspective.

A biologist with the DNR, Emily Rushton, said to Outdoor Life, “A lot of places where our turkey populations have decreased the most are in the Piedmont-Central region of Georgia, where we’ve seen a lot of development, and those are the kind of habitats that raccoons and possums really thrive [in].” She continued, “But turkeys do not nest as successfully in those types of habitats. So it sort of created the perfect storm.”

Raccoon on The Loose At LSU

Last month, a raccoon got out in the LSU dining hall. It was a chaotic scene when it all went down. Pierson Murray told The Reveille, “I heard screaming and someone bolted by my arm.” He continued, “I thought that it was a serious threat like a shooter was inside the building.”

It was a wild time at LSU. Hannah Accius also told the paper, “Animal Control finally came and tried to catch it in a trash can.” The raccoon did not want to be caught. However, he certainly needed to be caught and they finally did nab the critter. She concluded, “A cook even tried to use a basket to catch it. It was a mess.”