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Current Wild Turkey Hunting Regulation Strategies



Regulations used for traditional fall-hunted counties.

Fourteen counties including Berkeley, Grant, Greenbrier, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral Monroe, Morgan, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, and Tucker have always had wild turkey populations and have had a longstanding tradition of fall hunting. One county, Preston, has had a tradition of two-weeks of fall hunting since 1960. These above 15 counties are classified as traditional fall hunted counties. The strategy is to continue to have a spring gobbler season and a general fall season without limitation on the number of hunters unless wild turkey populations decline in these counties. Any county depicting a declining trend in its wild turkey population will be proposed for either (1) a reduction in fall season length to one or two weeks or (2) to be placed under the strategy used for non-traditional counties. Any such action would require approval by the Natural Resources Commission.

Regulation Strategy for non-traditional fall hunted counties as approved by Natural Resources Commission, April 30, 2000.


    All West Virginia counties except the traditional fall-hunted counties will be managed for maximized spring hunting recreation with limited fall hunting. These counties are those that have wild turkey populations that were (1) restored by the wild turkey restoration program, (2) were from expansion of wild turkeys from adjoining counties that historically always had turkeys or were expansions from restored populations, or (3) are counties with low wild turkey populations that cannot sustain unlimited control of hunter numbers and hunting pressure.

    All counties currently closed to fall turkey hunting will remain closed until the county has a spring harvest of 1 bird per square mile of turkey range.
    Any county qualifying for fall hunting will initially be opened to 7 days of either-sex hunting with a limited number of permits. The season will open the same date as the traditional fall hunted counties. Any county opened to fall permit hunting must maintain a spring gobbler kill of at least 1 bird per square mile of range to remain open. Only resident hunters will be permitted to participate in permit hunting. All resident hunters except landowners will be required to apply for permits.

    Calculation of number of permits issued shall be predicated on the following criteria:

    1. Permit numbers will be based on maintaining a maximum fall harvest of no more than 5 percent of the population.

    2. Population levels are based on spring gobbler harvests which are considered equivalent to 10 percent of the total population.

    3. Hunting success to be determined from permit survey data and research results.

    4. Landowner success to be based on the average estimated percent of reported kills from landowners.

    5. Permit allocations and counties opened for a current year will be adjusted by brood reports and mast data available by September prior to opening of a fall season.

    Non-traditional counties will be considered for opening to a general fall season without limitation on the number of hunters when a county that is opened to fall permit hunting reaches the point that it has more permits available than applicants. The initial season shall be 7 days in length commencing with the standard fall opening date. Extending the season beyond 7 days in length will be based on continued growth in the spring gobbler harvest. Public lands within counties that are to be opened to a general open season may be open to general hunting, closed, or be opened only to permit hunting. If permit hunting is allowed on public lands, permit numbers will be based on the size of the area in relation to the size of the county(s) the area is located in and the permits that would be available if the county was open to limited permit hunting.

    To be opened or to remain open to a general fall turkey season a county must meet the following criteria:
    1. County must be adjacent to a county that qualifies for a general opening or is presently open to a general fall turkey season.

    2. The county must maintain a spring gobbler harvest of 1 gobbler per square mile of wild turkey range.

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2003 West Virginia Division of Natural Resources