SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia turkey hunters harvested 1,215 birds during the fall season, according to the Division of Natural Resources. That’s an increase of 28 percent above the 2017 season, and only 4 percent below the five-year average.
“Even with the incredibly wet summer we had this year, poult production was up from last year,” said Mike Peters, DNR game bird biologist. “That was a good indication fall harvest would also be up, as was predicted in the 2018 West Virginia Mast Survey and Hunter Outlook.”
Two main factors contributed to the improved harvest numbers, according to Peters. Brood production was up from last year and mast conditions were slightly below the long-term average. Poor mast conditions will concentrate birds and make it easier for hunters to bag a bird. The uptick in harvest from last year could also be attributed to the increase in hunting opportunity.
“It’s the third year all 55 counties had at least a one-week season, but it’s the first year that Sunday hunting was permitted in all 55 counties on both private and public land,” Peters said.
Leading the state was Randolph County, with hunters harvesting 76 birds, followed by Nicholas (68), Greenbrier (65), Upshur (58), and Preston County (54). The top three counties had a four-week season with Upshur and Preston County having a two-week season. District 3 hunters harvested 319 birds, followed by District 1 (232), District 4 (230), District 2 (168), District 6 (149), and District 5 (117).