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West Virginia spring turkey season opens April 23

From West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

-- West Virginia’s four-week season begins April 23 and closes May 19, with hunters allowed one bearded turkey per day, two per season.

“Spring green-up is early this year, but the cool weather we just experienced likely will enhance the gobbling that hunters will hear,” according to Curtis I. Taylor, Wildlife Resources Section chief.

Taylor expects the gobbler harvest may be very similar to 2011, provided hunters don’t give up early in the season. “With the early arrival of spring, many counties are in full leaf-out, which may reduce the distance one can hear a gobbler, but it has no impact on gobbling activity.”

Since the typical gobbler harvested is usually a two-year old bird, the DNR routinely utilizes the brood reports from two years prior to estimate harvest.  “With all factors considered, we believe 2010 to be an average brood production year and anticipating an average hunter participation and harvest, the 2012 season should see between 9,000 and 10,000 birds,” Taylor said.

The recruitment of young birds is highly influenced by weather conditions and crucial to turkey populations and harvest.  Turkey productivity is best during mild, somewhat dry springs.

A special one-day, youth spring gobbler hunt opened the season April 21. Last year, youth hunters harvested 392 toms during the one-day youth spring gobbler season.

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