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Joe Manchin III, Governor
Frank Jezioro, Director

News Release : April 9, 2009

 Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-2003 ext. 365 hoy.r.murphy@wv.gov

Bill Igo, Wildlife Resources Section (304) 637-0245

Get Ready for Spring Gobbler Season

            The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages hunters to get their gear ready for the upcoming spring gobbler hunting season. The four-week season opens Monday, April 27, and closes on Saturday, May 23, according to Bill Igo, the DNR wild turkey project leader. Hunters may kill two bearded turkeys during the season but are allowed only one per day.            

            A special one-day, youth spring gobbler hunt is open Saturday, April 25. Youth participating in this hunt must be at least eight years of age and no more than 14 years old on the day of the season. The youth must be accompanied by a licensed adult of at least 21 years of age, who cannot carry a gun or bow and must remain close enough to render advice and assistance to the youngster. The only legal firearm that can be used by a youth hunter is a shotgun with shot sizes 4, 5 or 6. The bag limit is one bearded turkey.

            Last year, youth hunters harvested 385 toms during the one-day youth spring gobbler season. “This special youth hunt provides an ideal opportunity for seasoned hunters to introduce young people to the joys of spring turkey hunting,” said Igo. “In addition to having a great day afield, these adult mentors pass along their hunting knowledge, create great memories and keep the fine hunting tradition alive for the next generation of hunters.”

            Igo recommends spring gobbler hunters make sure they are prepared with proper clothing, a shotgun that is appropriately patterned, and adequate hunting gear (e.g., turkey calls, knife, rain gear, compass/GPS unit, matches, maps and a pencil for completing field tags). He urges hunters not to wear clothing with the colors of red, white or blue – the colors of a mature gobbler’s head and neck area. 

            Igo also advises hunters to be aware that radio transmitters and/or leg bands have been placed on some gobblers. These marked birds are part of a statewide gobbler survival study to determine causes of mortality, effects of hunting and to gather more biological data designed to assist the DNR in its efforts to wisely manage the state’s wild turkey resource. Hunters harvesting a banded or radioed bird should contact a DNR District Office or the Elkins Operations Center.

            Hunters must be out of the woods by 1 p.m. during either season. After putting their firearms or bows away for the day, sportsmen may want to grab a rod and reel to go fishing for trout, which are stocked in more than 100 waters in the spring, or warmwater fish, which become more active as temperatures rise.