Spring Gobbler Season Underway

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The 2006 spring wild turkey season in West Virginia opened on April 24 and will run through May 20, according to Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section. Wildlife biologists expect the spring wild turkey harvest to be similar to last year when 10,000 to 13,500 birds being harvested. The 2005 spring gobbler kill was 10,957, of which 302 birds were harvested during the youth spring gobbler hunt.

“ West Virginia has some of the best wild turkey hunting in the nation,” said Taylor. “Our mountains are even more beautiful this time of the year, abundant wild turkey populations are found in all 55 counties, and each of these counties is open to spring gobbler hunting. With careful planning and common courtesy, hunters in West Virginia can generally gain access to private lands because of the generosity and thoughtfulness of our state's landowners. In addition, the hunting pressure on most public lands is not heavy in West Virginia , and these public lands offer outstanding opportunities for sportsmen and women.”

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has designed the spring gobbler hunting season to protect the wild turkey resource, provide quality hunting recreation, and assure aesthetically pleasing hunting experiences. The opening date of the spring season is set to occur during the week when the majority of the hens are incubating eggs and are less likely to be illegally killed by poachers.

Hunters are reminded that shooting hours begin one-half hour before sunrise and end at 1 p.m. , at which time hunters are required to be out of the woods. The spring gobbler season bag limit is two bearded birds, and hunters are required by law to check their gobblers at an official checking station.

“The harvest data obtained from these official checking stations provides essential information used by our wildlife biologists to monitor turkey populations and better manage the wild turkey resource in West Virginia,” said Taylor .