From West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
-- Preliminary harvest figures for the West Virginia spring gobbler season show hunters checked in 8,332 bearded turkeys. This year’s harvest is a 10 percent decline from the 2011 harvest, and a 15 percent decline from the previous five-year average.
Biologists have long recognized that the brood counts two years prior are fairly accurate predictors of harvest since most of the kill is composed of two-year old birds. Brood production in 2010 was 28 percent lower than 2009; therefore, the 2012 spring harvest was lower because fewer birds were available. Brood production was higher in 2011 but still below the long-term average.
The spring harvest is the lowest since 1989, when 7,245 birds were taken by hunters. While all the other districts saw a decline in harvest, hunters in District 1 (northern counties) registered a 7 percent increase over last year. The southern districts saw the greatest reduction in harvest, with Districts 5 and 4 declining by 25 and 21 percent, respectively.
The top counties were Mason with a kill of 343, Preston (330), Harrison (282), Wood (237) and Greenbrier (235). Rounding out the top 10 counties were Jackson (229), Marshall (227), Upshur (224), Monongalia (222) and Kanawha (213).