CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The Division of Natural Resources says West Virginia hunters bagged 9,017 bearded turkeys this spring, down 19 percent from the previous year.
DNR wildlife resources chief Curtis Taylor says most of the state's districts saw a harvest decline from last year during spring gobbler season.
Top counties for 2014 were Preston, with a take of 344, Mason with 297, Jackson with 294, Wood with 268 and Harrison with 264.
In most years, a significant portion of the spring gobbler harvest is composed of 2-year-old birds. Taylor says poor wild turkey reproduction in 2012 resulted in fewer birds of this age class available to hunters during the spring season.
Biologists are hopeful this spring will continue to provide moderate-to-average rainfall, support above-average reproduction and allow wild turkey populations to expand.