Edited from a Press Release
Hunting prospects for the 2016 West Virginia spring turkey season

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Hunting prospects look promising for the 2016 spring turkey season in West Virginia, which runs April 18 through May 24, with a special one-day youth season April 16.

Since the typical gobbler harvested is usually a 2-year-old bird, the Division of Natural Resources routinely uses the brood reports from the previous two years to estimate harvest trends. On a statewide level, the brood reports from 2014 were 30 percent higher than 2013 and mimicked the 5-year average, indicating that relative number of birds should be higher than last year. 

 

Additionally, the brood reports from 2015 were 22 percent above the year before and 14 percent above the 5-year average on a statewide basis, indicating that more turkeys should be available this spring gobbler season than last. Despite this improved abundance, surviving hens at this time of year are absolutely critical for future population growth. Hunters are strongly urged to protect their hens. Killing a hen in the spring ensures fewer birds both in the fall and following year.

 

As spring progresses, many hunters quit hunting for a variety of reasons, including a perception that the birds have finished gobbling. Highly vocal turkeys that are more prone to calling are taken during the first week of the season, generating 58 percent of the season’s harvest. 

 

Good-to-excellent hunting, however, can still be had through the end of the season. According to a number of hunters, some of the best hunts take place in the last week and the last days of the season as gobblers that are interested in breeding easily come to calls. Also, the earlier start of the season means there will be less vegetation to block a hunter's vision during the last week of the season.