2005 Fall Wild Turkey Harvest
The unofficial fall wild turkey harvest in 2005 was 1,110, according to Paul R. Johansen, Assistant Chief of Game Management with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. The kill was 18 percent lower than the 1,357 reported in 2004 and was the lowest fall kill since 1967. There were 21 counties open to a 1-4 week fall season in 2005.
The top five counties during the fall season were Greenbrier and Preston , tied for first with 108, Monroe (91), and Nicholas and Hampshire (76). The Eastern Panhandle (District 2) had the highest kill with 317 birds followed by the Mountain counties of District 3 (253), the Southeastern Mountains counties in District 4 (251), the northwest counties of District 1 (170), the southwest counties in District 5 (74), and the Ohio River counties of District 6 (45). The kill was down 42 percent in District 2, down 30 percent in District 1 , down 24 percent in District 4, and down 9 percent in District 3. Districts 5 and 6 were not open to fall turkey hunting in 2004.
“This is the 5 th year that we have observed a decline in our fall wild turkey harvest in West Virginia,” said Johansen. “The primary reasons for the continued decline in our wild turkey population are the lower-than-normal survival of wild turkey broods caused by cold and wet weather during the late spring and a better-than-average year for mast production which scattered the birds during the fall season.” Johansen also noted, “Next year's turkey hunting may be better since brood production this year was 80 percent of our long-term average production, up from the previous several years, and this, combined with a better-than-average fall mast crop, should lead to better winter survival of turkeys.”
The Division of Natural Resources is presently researching the gobbler population to find answers to better regulate the wild turkey resource.