W.Va. autumn turkey harvest slightly below normal

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W.Va. autumn turkey harvest slightly below normal
A wild tom turkey puffs up in a grassy glade in West Virginia glade. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Dept. of Commerce)

Turkey hunters in West Virginia harvested 1,113 birds in autumn 2019, according to preliminary figures provided by the state Division of Natural Resources.

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Mike Peters, a game-bird biologist for the division said the harvest was slightly low as a result of more available food, which allowed birds to disperse more.

“As reported in the 2019 West Virginia Mast Survey and Hunter Outlook, this year’s wild turkey brood observations were down slightly from last year, and we predicted the fall turkey harvest would also be lower,” Peters said.

This harvest was only eight percent below the 2018 season and the 10-year average, though still on par for a typical fall season, he said.

The decreased harvest was partly related to mast conditions, which were slightly above the long-term average.

“Good mast conditions can disperse birds across the landscape and make it more difficult for hunters to harvest a bird,” Peters said.

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This autumn harvest was the fourth in which all 55 counties permitted at least a one-week season and the second in which Sunday hunting was permitted in all 55 counties on both private and public land."

"This increase in opportunity seems to be having little impact on our wild turkey populations.”

Leading the state was Greenbrier County, in which hunters harvesting 65 birds, followed by Randolph (61), Upshur (59), Monroe (56), and Nicholas (51). All had a four-week season, except Upshur County, which had a two-week season.

District 3 harvested 284 birds, followed by District 4 (248), District 1 (186), District 6 (151), District 2 (130) and District 5 (114).

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