2008 West Virginia Fall Turkey Harvest Down
Preliminary figures for the 2008 fall turkey hunting season indicate that 1,128 birds were harvested this fall. This represents a 25 percent decline from last year's fall harvest of 1,511. The largest harvest declines were reported in the western counties of District 6 (down 62 percent) and the southeastern counties of District 4 (down 61 percent). More moderate harvest declines were reported in the central and eastern counties of District 3 (down 20 percent) and the eastern-panhandle counties of District 2 (down 10 percent). District 1, located in the north-central and northern-panhandle regions of the state, reported an overall harvest increase of 15 percent. Mason County, the only county open to fall turkey hunting in District 5, reported a 48 percent harvest increase.
The counties reporting the highest turkey harvests this fall include: Randolph (108), Mason (99), Preston (89), Greenbrier (79) and Pocahontas (74).
Wildlife Biologists had forecast a lower fall turkey harvest based upon poor poult production in the spring and abundant food sources this fall which tend to scatter flocks and make them less accessible to hunters. "Prior to the season, it was predicted the fall wild turkey harvest might drop as much as 15 percent," noted Paul Johansen, Assistant Chief in Charge of Game Management. "Wet, windy weather during the first week of the season, particularly in our southeastern counties, probably reduced hunter turnout and hampered those who did venture forth, causing a larger than expected decrease in our fall turkey harvest."