Wild turkeys are on the increase across North Carolina. Over 6,000 wild turkeys have been released on 358 restoration sites across the state since 1953. The wild turkey population has increased from an estimated 2,000 birds in 1970 to about 130,000 birds in 2000. Wild turkeys now exist in all 100 counties in the state and all 100 counties now have a spring gobbler season.
The wild turkey harvest has increased from a reported 144 birds in 1977, when mandatory reporting began, to nearly 9,000 birds in 2004. The first winter harvest in over three decades was held in nine counties in January of 2004 with 181 birds being reported for a combined total harvest in 2004 of 9,027 birds.