West Virginia Turkey Season Now Open

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The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters to get their gear ready for the upcoming spring gobbler hunting season. The four-week gobbler season opened April 23 and closes on May 19, according to Bill Igo, the DNR's Wild Turkey Biologist. Igo recommends spring gobbler hunters make sure they are prepared with proper clothing, a shotgun that is appropriately patterned, and adequate hunting gear (e.g., turkey calls, knife, rain gear, compass/GPS unit, matches, maps and a pencil for completing field tags).

Wildlife Biologists are predicting a slightly lower harvest of birds this spring when compared to last year's kill of 11,735. "West Virginia experienced a lower brood count in 2005," Igo said. "Our data indicate brood counts accurately predict spring turkey harvests two years down the road. These two-year old toms are generally more 'talkative' than other gobblers and vulnerable to harvest. With fewer two-year old birds in the population this spring, a slight decline in overall harvest is expected."

Bill Igo also advises hunters to be aware that radio transmitters and/or leg bands have been placed on some gobblers. These marked birds are part of a statewide gobbler survival study to determine causes of mortality, effects of hunting and gather other biological data designed to assist the DNR in its efforts to effectively manage the state's wild turkey resource. Hunters harvesting a banded or radioed bird should contact their local DNR District Office or the Elkins Operations Center.

The DNR, in conjunction with the West Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, is also conducting the Annual Spring Gobbler Hunting Survey. Cooperating turkey hunters submit daily records of their hunts and complete a brief questionnaire. A hunter does not have to kill a gobbler to provide useful data. Much of the survey information collected involves what a hunter hears, sees or has an opinion about. Any hunter interested in participating in the survey are encouraged to contact Patty Fordyce , West Virginia DNR, P.O. Box 67, Elkins, WV 24241, telephone: (304) 637-0245 or e-mail: [email protected] .