|West Virginia's spring gobbler season has opened.|
There has been some fine turkey harvesting in Calhoun County (See Below).
Hunters will be sitting in the woods, making hen sounds and trying not to make any moves that might spook a wary turkey.
There's no doubt that the Mountain State's spring gobbler kill has declined since its peak in 2001.
Hunters bagged 17,875 birds that year. Last year they killed 11,162. The average kill since 2009 has been 9,730.
If harvest numbers were the only gauge, it would be reasonable to assume the population has fallen by 45 percent.
But Curtis Taylor, the Division of Natural Resources' wildlife chief, doesn't believe turkey numbers have declined even close to that much.
Taylor said, "I think the population is higher than some people believe. I also think factors outside of turkey numbers have contributed to the harvest decline."
"There has been a lot of discussion among southeastern turkey biologists, and there have been any number of theories as to why the declines have taken place," Taylor said.
"In North Carolina and a few other states, turkeys have lost a lot of habitat to housing development. Biologists in some states believe coyotes are taking a toll. Some biologists think maybe their states' seasons are too long, and that they open too early."
See MCBRIDE BAGS 20 LB. GOBBLER
STARCHER YOUTH BAGS TROPHY GOBBLER
HELMICK BAGS 20 LB. GOBBLER
BIG ROOT TURKEY KILLS
ANOTHER BIG BIRD BAGGED
JONES BAGS BIG TURKEY ON CRUMMIES CREEK
ELLIOTT AND STULL BAG TURKEYS