West Virginia Forecasts Higher Fall Wild Turkey Hunting Harvest

West Virginia DNR Forecasts Higher Fall Wild Turkey Hunting Harvest

West Virginia DNR
West Virginia DNR

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – -(AmmoLand.com)-The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources predicts a slightly higher harvest of wild turkeys during the 2009 fall hunting season compared to the fall 2008 harvest of 1,206, according to Paul Johansen, Assistant Chief in Charge of Game Management for DNR. This prediction is based upon the increased number of turkey broods reported in July and field notes reported by cooperators in the 2009 West Virginia Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook.

“The poor and spotty mast conditions reported this fall will tend to concentrate birds, and wildlife biologists expect many flocks to be out feeding in open fields or along field borders,” Johansen predicted. “These factors will serve to make birds more accessible to hunters and vulnerable to harvest.”

The spotty hard mast production found in the Eastern Panhandle and mountain counties should concentrate turkeys in areas where the beech and oak mast “hit.” This concentration of turkeys around available food sources in the traditional fall-hunted counties will provide turkey hunters with greater opportunities for success.

Wildlife biologists expect the fall turkey harvest in the mountain counties to be up slightly, while the fall harvest in the Eastern Panhandle is expected to be similar to last year’s numbers. The non-traditional fall-hunted counties found in the Northern Panhandle and along the Ohio River Valley are also expected to see fall turkey harvests similar to last year.

Hunters should be aware of changes in the counties that will be open for fall turkey hunting during the 2009 hunting season. Fourteen traditional fall-hunted counties will be open to a four-week season Oct. 24 through Nov. 21, 2009.

Preston County will have a two-week season from Oct. 24 to Nov. 7. Nine counties (Brooke, Hancock, Harrison, Marshall, Mason, Ohio, Upshur, Wirt, and Wood), will be open Oct. 24 through Oct. 31. Consult the 2009 Hunting and Trapping Regulations for details or log onto the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Web site at www.wvdnr.gov for additional information.