Virginia Gobbler Season Opens Soon
Spring Gobbler Season runs from April 14 to May 19 this year in Virginia with a change in hunting hours midway through the season. From April 14 to May 5, turkey hunting will be allowed from one-half hour before sunrise until noon. From May 7 through May 19, turkey hunting will be allowed from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.
There is also a Youth Spring Turkey Hunt on April 7 that is open to young people 15 years of age or younger who must be accompanied and directly supervised by an adult hunter. The adult hunter can help with calling birds but can not carry or discharge a firearm. Adult hunters accompanying youth must possess the appropriate hunting licenses. Youth between the age of 12 and 15 must have appropriate hunting licenses. This is a great opportunity for hunters to pass the tradition down to the next generation.
Hunters in pursuit of wild turkeys must use a great deal of strategy to coax a gobbler into range. The large birds have highly sensitive eyesight and hearing and are quick to flee from any unusual movement or sound. A gobbler on the strut is a magnificent sight but it takes a lot of preparation to create that situation.
Familiarize yourself with hunting regulations, specifically those related to the Spring Gobbler Season and to ordinances that apply to the area where you plan on hunting and confirm sunrise and sunset times. You can get a free copy of the Hunting & Trapping in Virginia regulation booklet from a license agent when you purchase a Hunting License and a Bear, Deer, Turkey License. Or you can view regulations online at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) Web site www.dgif.virginia.gov. Take time to review bag limits, legal hunting hours and how to check game. A sunrise and sunset chart is included in the publication. Spring turkeys may be checked by telephone by calling 1-866-GOT-GAME. The regulations booklet walks you through the process.
Not sure where to hunt? The Department has more than 20 wildlife management areas (WMAs) across Virginia open to turkey hunting. The VDGIF Web site has information about WMAs including descriptions of the sites and what hunting opportunities are available as well as directions and maps of the sites. Hunting opportunities also exist at the National Forests, State Forests, military installations and in designated areas of some state parks. Use Find Game, an interactive Web-based map viewer designed by the Department, to get information about hunting land locations and access. Information associated with these public lands includes: hunting quality by species, land manager contact information, site description, facilities available, access information, and associated Web links.
Take a Hunter Education course. Classes are taught statewide and the Basic Hunter Education course is free. Search for a class near you on VDGIF's Web site. New hunters must pass the course before they can purchase a license. For seasoned hunters, taking a Hunter Education course provides an opportunity to brush up on their knowledge and network with other hunters. In addition, VDGIF offers many hands-on outdoor education programs. A growing number of outdoor enthusiasts are women who want to learn more about hunting, fishing, boating and related outdoor activities. The Department offers several programs designed for women, youth, and disabled people. Visit www.dgif.virginia.gov for details and contact information.