West Virginia Hunters Harvest Over 10,000 Turkeys

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Preliminary figures indicate West Virginia hunters harvested 10,006 bearded turkeys statewide during the recently completed 2010 spring gobbler season. This year's spring harvest is approximately two percent above the 9,787 birds taken in 2009. It is the first time the spring harvest exceeded 10,000 since 2006.

The top five counties in 2010 were Mason (536), Marshall (316), Putnam (315), Lincoln (278), and Harrison (269). Four of the state's districts had slight declines; however, two districts showed an increase in harvest from last year. Harvests in the western and southwestern portions of the state were higher in 2010. District 5 showed the greatest percentage increase (35), while District 2 had the largest decrease at 12 percent.

"Our biologists predicted a very similar kill in 2010 based on brood reports," said Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. "Normal weather conditions across much of the spring season enabled hunters to have plenty of time afield. In addition, a good carryover of mature toms provided many mornings of recreation for Mountain State hunters."

Biologists had forecast a spring harvest of approximately 10,000 gobblers for 2010 based on past data. The lack of available mast during fall 2009 may have affected gobbling in some regions but the overall population survived the winter in good shape.

With more favorable winter weather conditions and sufficient fall foods, there should be an abundance of gobblers for the 2011 spring season, Taylor predicted.