By: Carley Posey
In the past ten years there have been a couple times that West Virginia didn’t have a spring turkey hunting season, but in the last couple of years with hunters taking less turkeys in the season that usual should we be worried about overpopulation of turkeys in the same way white tail deer are in the mountain state? Spring turkey season in West Virginia is set to kick off this weekend on Saturday April 25th, 2015 with a youth hunt available to all children ages 8-18. The official start of the season begins on April 27th, 2015.
Turkey hunting season of 2013 yielded the highest kill rate in a few years at 10,974 birds. Hunters say the success of that hunting season was due to the favorable weather, a low kill rate in the 2012 season, and a good 2011 poult production. 52 out of the 55 counties in West Virginia reported their highest amount of kills since 2006 this year.
Turkey hunting is a season where you have multiple fall season broken up around different parts of the state with some counties having multiple weeks.The spring season is state wide for all counties. During fall season your bag limit is one bird of either sex, but during the spring season you are allowed one bird daily with a two bird season limit, but they may only be bearded birds. During spring female turkeys are having their little ones, and are otherwise protected.
Baby turkeys and their moms on a Lewis County roadway.
However, many hunters say the state opens up season too late for them to be successful, because the turkey are already out and about as early as March. While the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) says that the spring season is set to ensure the future of the turkey population. The DNR says that other states around us that start their season early arte really hurting their turkey population because it doesn’t give the female turkeys enough time to bed down with babies.
2013 has been the largest harvest of turkeys in the last several years, so will there be overpopulation of turkeys before we know it? There seems to be far less turkeys than white tailed deer that we are over run with. Only time and hunting season turn out will be able to tell if we will be overrun with turkeys in the future.