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Joe Manchin III, Governor

Frank Jezioro, Director

News Release
For release:
March 10, 2005


Hoy Murphy , Public Information Officer (304) 558-3380

Contact: Jim Pack, Wildlife Resources Section (304) 637-0245

Get Ready for the Spring Gobbler Season April 25 – May 21

First Youth Spring Gobbler Season April 23


  The 2005 Spring Gobbler season is right around the corner and gobbler hunters are already dreaming about opening day, according to Jim Pack , Wild Turkey Project Leader for the Division of Natural Resources.

  For the first time in West Virginia, there will be a special youth spring gobbler season for one day, Saturday, April 23, just prior to the regular season. The youth season will be the ideal time for hunters to pass their hunting knowledge on to another generation and to have a most memorable and rewarding hunt with a young hunter. Youth hunters must be at least 8 years of age and no more than 14 years of age on the opening day of the season. They must be accompanied by a licensed adult, at least 21 years of age, who cannot carry a gun or a bow and must remain close enough to render advice and assistance. The only legal weapon that may be used by a youth hunter is a shotgun, and only shot sizes 4, 5, or 6 will be permitted.

  The regular season for all other hunters will begin April 25 and end May 21. Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. “Now is the time for hunters to start hiking to get into shape,” said Pack. “Walking up and down our mountains now will make it easier when the season comes in.”


  Hunters should make sure they have the proper clothing, hunting gear, and that their shotgun is patterned before opening day. Hunters need to check and outfit their hunting vests or backpack for matches, rain gear, compass/GPS unit, sharp knife, maps, pen or pencil, ammunition, and turkey calls.


  Although gobbling can be heard any time of the year, it becomes more predictable beginning the first week of April. This is a good time for spring gobbler hunters to start scouting areas that could be productive during the season. "Some hunters complain about scouting that includes calling up gobblers prior to the season being detrimental to successful hunting for others by making gobblers more wary," said Pack. "Considerate hunters should keep this in mind and consider saving their calling until opening day."


  West Virginia has experienced some bad brood years over the past several years, but fortunately, this past summer was a good brood year over most of the state. DNR brood counts were 9 percent higher than normal last summer and the count was the second best during the past five years. This means there will be more one-year old birds (jakes) this spring, plus some wise old toms from previous years.


  Based on the Wildlife Resources' brood data, the 2005 spring harvest should fall in the range of 11,000-14,500 birds. Where the final total falls will be very dependent upon the weather, which has a major impact on hunter participation and turkey gobbling.


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