Beaufort County part of record turkey harvest

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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North Carolina’s 5-week wild turkey season had its highest ever recorded harvest of 24,089 birds, according to recent results from the Wildlife Commission’s annual turkey harvest summary. The 2023 season surpassed the previous record of 23,341 harvested birds set three years ago in 2020. This year’s total harvest statewide was 9.5% higher than the average of the previous three years, and three ecoregions had noticeable increases in harvest in relation to the 2022 season, particularly in the coastal region.

Beaufort county hunters harvested 341 birds, good for 21st among the states 100 counties. Duplin Co. led the way with 829. Pender (689), Bladen (652), Sampson (585), Brunswick (571), Columbus (559), Halifax (529), Franklin (51), Northampton (502) and Onslow (471) completed the top 10.

In other wildlife news, Neil Jernigan of Snow Hill won the 2022-23 Wildlife in North Carolina Photo Competition with his dramatic portrait of a bobcat on a beaver dam bathed in early morning light. Jernigan said he loves photographing in and around the swamps and rivers of eastern North Carolina and his favorite subjects are black bears and elk. His specialty is employing remote camera traps—not trail cameras—to capture shots of elusive animals like his winning bobcat. Out of 1,700 entries, Jernigan took home the grand prize: $200 and the cover of the July/August magazine.