Turkey Harvest Strong Despite Ill Weather


Despite less than favorable weather conditions, turkey hunters in West Virginia managed to find success during the 2008 spring gobbler season.   The DNR recently released the final numbers on the spring harvest.  Hunters killed 9,985 turkeys during the four week season.

"To be quite honest, I was surprised that it was that high," said DNR Wildlife Chief Curtis Taylor. "Given the fact that it rained across most of the state every week, the first week was a total washout."

Biologist had predicted the kill would be about what it was in 2007, and the numbers reflect they were correct.   Hunters killed 9,965 turkeys last year.    The weather is believed to have protected a number of mature gobblers making next year’s season look even more promising.

"I’m sure we left a lot of gobblers in the woods for next year," said Taylor. "The turkeys were out there.  Everybody I talked to that got to hunt said they were hearing turkeys and seeing turkeys everywhere."

The wet spring is always a concern for the nesting birds.  However, Taylor said the heavy rain that struck during the four-week season probably had little to no impact on the hatch.   He says the first two weeks of June are the critical time for young poults.

"Birds that are newly hatched, the hen can get all of them under her wings and brood them to keep them dry.  It’s when they get too big for her to cover them you have to worry," said Taylor.

The first two weeks in June did have a lot of rain for parts of the state.  Flooding rains beset northern, central, and eastern panhandle counties.   However, Taylor said those rains were not accompanied by cold weather, which is the other half of the combination that is lethal to the young birds.  

The top counties for the 2008 harvest were Mason where hunters killed 396.   Preston County was second with 371 birds.   Rounding out the top five were Jackson, Wood, and Harrison Counties.

Get the county-by-county harvest breakdown by clicking HERE


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