West Virginia Turkey Harvest Numbers Reported

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Hunters in West Virginia harvested 9,895 turkeys during the 2008 spring gobbler season, according to Frank Jezioro, Director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR). Preliminary harvest figures indicate this year's spring turkey harvest was about the same as last year's harvest (less than 1 percent lower than the 9,965 birds taken in 2007).

The top five counties this spring were Mason (396), Preston (371), Jackson (319), Wood (316) and Harrison (291). Thirty-five of the state's 55 counties had lower harvests this year. Three districts had lower harvests this year with District 2 (11 percent lower), District 6 (4 percent lower) and District 4 (2 percent lower) decreasing in harvest when compared to 2007. Three districts had higher harvests rates with District 5 having the largest increase at 5 percent. The highest harvests were reported in DNR District 1 (2,184), followed by District 6 (1,944), District 4 (1,868), District 5 (1,705), District 3 (1,372) and District 2 (822).

"The reduced gobbling activity and a slightly lower harvest rate this past spring were the result of cold and wet rains, particularly during the first week of the season," according t

Biologists had predicted a slightly higher spring gobbler harvest in 2008 than in 2007, based on better-than-average brood reports the past two years. Wildlife Biologists have determined the level of brood production accurately forecasts spring turkey harvests two years later, as these older birds tend to gobble more and are more susceptible to harvest. Field reports indicated that hunting pressure in many areas of the state was lower than normal. Also, higher gas prices may have kept hunters from traveling to favorite hunting grounds. Hunters can look forward to better spring gobbler hunting next year, since brood production was good in 2007.