SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages all spring gobbler hunters to get ready for the season to open. The four-week season begins Monday and closes on Saturday, May 19, 2012.

Hunters may kill only one bearded turkey per day, and are allowed two per season.

"Spring green-up is early this year, but the cool weather we just experienced likely will enhance the gobbling that hunters will hear when the season opens," according to Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section.

Taylor believes the gobbler harvest for 2012 may be very similar to the prior year, provided that the hunters don't give up early in the season. "With the early arrival of spring, many counties are in full leaf-out, which may reduce the distance one can hear a gobbler, but it has no impact on gobbling activity."

Since the typical gobbler harvested is usually a two-year old bird, the DNR routinely utilizes the brood reports from two years prior to estimate harvest.

"With all factors considered, we believe 2010 to be an average brood production year and anticipating an average hunter participation and harvest, the 2012 season should see between 9,000-10,000 birds," noted Taylor.

The recruitment of young birds is highly influenced by weather conditions and is crucial to turkey populations and harvest. Turkey productivity is best during mild, somewhat dry springs.

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