Conservation Officers from the West Virginia DNR are wasting no time in tracking down turkey hunting violations. The season opened Monday, but C-O’s were patrolling many trouble spots well ahead of that looking for illegal activity.
Several were cited for killing turkeys prior to the opening of the season. However, the majority of violations involved hunting turkeys over bait, which is illegal in West Virginia.
Conservation Officers in WoodCounty cited two people on April 26th, which was designated as a Youth Turkey Hunting Day in West Virginia. The men told officers they hoped the bait would make it easier for the two kids to kill a turkey.
"Our officers have been scouting areas in their designated counties for bait prior to the season, and their efforts have paid off,” Lt. Colonel Jerry Jenkins said.
Penalties for illegal baiting of turkeys can range from $20 to $300 fines and $160 court costs. A judge could also sentence violators to to 100 days in jail.
“We request that anyone witnessing violations of the state’s game laws to call our toll free hotline at 1-800-NET-GAME and provide us with information to help with our investigations. All information received will be kept in confidence,” said Lt. Col. Jenkins.
The National Wild Turkey Federation also offers a reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction for illegally hunting wild turkeys.
The following are the incidents reported as of April 30:
· RitchieCounty – Two Ohio residents were arrested April 29 for hunting over bait.
· WoodCounty — Two subjects were cited during the pre-season Youth Spring Gobbler Hunt April 26 for baiting the area they were hunting. Their excuse was that it would make it easier for the two kids to kill a turkey. Three warnings also were issued.
· JacksonCounty — One 16 year old was cited last week for killing a turkey out of season.
· BraxtonCounty — On Saturday, April 26, conservation officers apprehended a man and a woman for hunting turkeys during closed season. The woman was also charged with killing a hen turkey during closed season. They said they thought they could get away with it since the youth season had come in that day. Also, on April 29, conservation officers apprehended three subjects for hunting turkeys over bait.
· Randolph and Upshur counties — Conservation officers apprehended a subject near Coalton April 29 for hunting turkey over bait.
· SummersCounty — On April 28, conservation officers made two arrests, one each for hunting turkey over bait and taking a turkey over bait.
· GreenbrierCounty – Conservations officers on April 26 and 27 made four turkey related arrests, including charges of shooting from a motor vehicle, hunting without a license, and hunting out of season.
· RaleighCounty – Conservation officers made an arrest for taking a turkey during closed season and hunting without a license.
· TuckerCounty – On April 29, conservation officers apprehended a person and charged him with hunting turkeys over bait.
· PutnamCounty – A hunter was issued citations and charged with hunting turkey over bait. This will be a second offense for game violations and his items were confiscated.
· PendletonCounty – On April 9, two West Virginia residents were cited for hunting turkey during closed season.
· HardyCounty – On April 10, a hunter was cited for hunting turkey during closed season, conspiring in a game law violation. On April 14 a hunter was cited for killing turkey during closed season, illegal possession of wildlife, and shooting from a vehicle.
· Hampshire County – On April 12, a hunter was cited for a license violation
· Berkeley County – On April 25, a hunter was cited for carrying an uncased gun in a vehicle, hunting without a license, killing a turkey during closed season, and illegal possession of wildlife for offenses committed on or about April 11.
· MineralCounty – On April 26, two subjects were cited for hunting turkey over bait with underage hunters during the special youth season.
· GrantCounty — On April 28, two subjects were cited for hunting turkey over bait.