West Virginia Fall Turkey Harvest Highest in Four Years

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Preliminary harvest figures show a kill of 1,491 wild turkeys for the fall 2007 season. "This number should exceed 1,500 birds when the official count of game checking tags is tallied in early 2008," reported Paul R. Johansen, Assistant Chief of Game Management for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. The harvest is currently 26 percent higher than the 1,186 recorded in 2006, and the highest in the past four years.

The top fall counties during the fall season were Monroe (181), Greenbrier (170), Summers (111), Pocahontas (106), and Nicholas (101). The harvest was 33 percent higher in the traditional fall hunt counties of the Mountains Region, located primarily in Districts 3 and 4 of the state. The kill was down 7 percent in the traditional fall hunt counties of the Eastern Panhandle.

"Our biologists had predicted a higher kill in the mountains region because of good brood counts and poor food conditions that tend to concentrate and expose turkeys, making them more vulnerable," said Johansen. "In addition, our staff also expected a lower kill in the Eastern Panhandle because of good acorn crops that tend to scatter flocks into more remote areas, thus challenging hunters and lowering the harvest in that area."

Also aiding in the increased harvest for 2007 was the addition of four new counties (Jackson, Mason, Monongalia and Summers) to a one-week fall season. "Information from past fall seasons and data from our ongoing gobbler population research study allowed for liberalizing our management strategy for opening counties for the fall hunting period," stated Johansen. "This strategy formally permitted opening counties to fall hunting when they showed harvest of one gobbler per square mile for the preceding spring turkey kill; the new strategy was lowered to 0.75 toms per square mile." The four new counties added 226 birds to the total count, lead by Summers County with a harvest of 111 turkeys.

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