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West Virginia’s spring gobbler season to open

Photo by McKenzie Young, provided courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Turkey hunters in West Virginia can anticipate increased harvest opportunities during this year’s spring gobbler season, scheduled to open Monday, April 20.

West Virginia Division of Natural Resources biologists make spring harvest predictions by looking at brood reports from two years earlier because the average harvested gobbler is a 2-year-old bird. In 2018, brood production was 16 percent above the five-year average.

“Having increased harvest opportunities this year is really encouraging,” said Mike Peters, a turkey biologist for the DNR. “And with everyone avoiding crowds due to the Coronavirus, I can’t think of a better way to relax and forget about your worries than to go turkey hunting. Nothing is more distancing than being alone in the woods, sitting with your back against a tree in the middle of nowhere, trying to call in ole’ Tom.”

The youth turkey season has been expanded to include an extra day. In past years, the youth turkey season was on the Saturday before opening day of the regular spring turkey season. This year, the youth turkey season will be Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19.

“By adding an extra day to the youth season, we wanted to give kids more opportunities to get out and enjoy a hunting adventure,” Peters said.

Youth under the age of 18 can harvest one bearded bird, which counts towards their season bag limit of two. The statewide four-week spring gobbler season will run through May 16 and adult hunters can harvest one bearded bird per day with a season bag limit of two.

All hunters age 15 and older are required to have a West Virginia hunting or sportsman license and a valid form of identification while hunting. A West Virginia hunting or sportsman license can be purchased at approximately 180 retail agents around the state or online at www.wvhunt.com.

DNR officials also remind sportsmen and women that hunting turkeys over bait and killing hens is illegal. Turkey hunters are encouraged to report any illegal activity to a DNR Law Enforcement officer. The West Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation also pays a $100 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone using bait in an attempt to kill wild turkeys.

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