Spring Gobbler Season Underway
`Spring gobbler season opened on April 28 and will run through May 24, according to Curtis I. Taylor, chief of the Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section. While hunters may kill only one bearded turkey per day, they are allowed two per season.
A one-day youth season was held on Saturday. A turkey harvested that day counts towards the season bag limit of two gobblers.
“Turkeys that are more vocal and prone to come to calls are obviously taken during the first week of the season, but good to excellent hunting can still be had through the end of the season,” said Taylor. “Some of the best hunts take place in the last week, if not the last days, of the season as gobblers that are interested in breeding easily come to calls.”
Since the typical gobbler harvested is usually a two-year-old bird, the DNR routinely uses the brood reports from two years prior to estimate harvest trends. On a statewide level, the brood reports from 2012 were lower than the five-year average, indicating that the statewide harvest may be lower in 2014. There were regional variations in the data. Hunters in the southern region may not see a decline. Hunters in the mountain and western regions, however, will likely notice fewer birds.
Taylor wants to remind sportsmen and women that hunting turkeys over bait is both illegal and unethical in West Virginia. This activity disrespects the great sport of spring gobbler hunting. He encourages turkey hunters to report any such activity to their local Natural Resources Police Officer. The West Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation pays a reward of $100 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of persons attempting to kill wild turkeys through the use of bait.