Conservation Officers Stepping up Wild Turkey Baiting Enforcement

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The 2004 spring turkey hunting season will open on April 26, 2004 , and run for four weeks through May 22. Hunters are eagerly awaiting springtime, when the gobblers will start to become active and vocal. The Division of Natural Resources Conservation Officers also have this on their minds. But with the poor mast (food) conditions the state has experienced the past couple of years in most areas, the officers are not thinking so much about hunting as about the illegal baiting of turkeys that takes place each year. This year turkeys will be more susceptible to baiting than usual because food has been so scarce.

Conservation Officers are asking for your help to find poachers because it is against the law to hunt turkeys over bait. Officers are asking concerned hunters and citizens to keep a watchful eye during their scouting and other outdoor activities for signs of illegal baiting. All reports to officers will be kept confidential and will be investigated.

In addition, the WV State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation offers monetary rewards to those who report violations which lead to arrests and convictions. These awards are administered by the DNR. A reward of $200 may be paid to persons providing information that leads to the apprehension and conviction of an individual for the illegal killing of a wild turkey. A reward of $100 may be authorized for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a person attempting to kill wild turkeys through the use of bait during the months of April and May.

Anyone who observes what they believe to be illegal killing or baiting of wild turkeys should contact their local conservation officer or call 1-800-NET GAME (638-4263).

DNR Law Enforcement District Offices:
Main Office, Charleston – (304) 558-2784
District 1 , Fairmont – (304) 367-2720
District 2, Romney – (304) 822-3551
District 3, Elkins – (304) 637-0245
District 4, Beckley – (304) 256-6945
District 5, St. Albans – (304) 759-0703
District 6, Parkersburg – (304) 420-4550