Wild turkey eggs are protected from being taken

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By HEATHER WALTERS

State officials are reminding the public that is illegal to take wild turkey eggs from nests. According to officials with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), local agents have been “frequently contacted” about wild turkey nests that appear to be abandoned.

This is “resulting in concern for the welfare of the nest and eggs,” according to the S.C. DNR. “Some people have the desire to take the eggs and attempt to hatch them, however, it is against the law to rob any wild turkey nests or to possess wild turkey eggs,” a press release states. In South Carolina, wild turkeys begin nesting in mid-April. Nesting continues through May and can often go into mid-June. S.C. DNR officials say that farmers who are cutting and baling hay are likely to see the nests/eggs as turkeys’ nest around the same time. “Although hens are occasionally killed by the equipment, many times they are simply flushed from the nest and typically do not return because there is no cover left in the field once the hay is cut,” a press release states.

There are state laws that prohibit people from robbing turkey nests. State law also prohibits the release of pen-raised turkeys into the wild. “SCDNR has contacted many of these hatcheries and asked them to place South Carolina on the ‘no ship to’ list in their advertisements,” a SC DNR press release states. “South Carolina is noted for having the purest strain of Eastern wild turkeys and this importation restriction is in place to protect the genetic integrity of our native birds, in addition to guarding against diseases that may be associated with hatchery birds. This importation restriction only pertains to wild turkeys or birds advertised as being from wild stock and not to domestic varieties of turkeys like the Bronze, Bourbon Red and Narragansett.

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