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West Virginia hunters harvest 1,038 fall turkeys

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.VA. — Turkey hunters harvested 1,038 birds during the fall season, according to preliminary numbers provided by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Wild turkey brood observations and harvests during the fall season were similar to last year. This year’s fall turkey harvest came in 6.7 percent below the 2019 season and 13.4 percent below the 10-year average.

Although this is the second year with a declining fall harvest, it is still on par with a typical fall season, said Mike Peters, a WVDNR game bird biologist.

“With statewide mast conditions 35 percent below the long-term average, I was expecting the harvest to be a little higher,” Peters said. “During poorer mast years, turkeys normally need to move across the landscape more to fulfill their dietary needs, which makes them more susceptible to harvest. But 2020 has been anything but a normal year.”

Hunters in Randolph County led the state by harvesting 64 birds. Rounding out the top five counties for harvested birds are Greenbrier (53), Monroe (46), Nicholas (45) and Preston (42). All counties in the top five, except for Preston, had a four-week season. Preston County had a two-week season.

WVDNR District 3 led the state in harvests with 231. District 4 hunters harvested 224 turkeys, District 1 hunters harvested 199, District 2 hunters harvested 150, District 5 hunters harvested 130 and District 6 hunters harvested 104. Harvests in WVDNR Districts 1 and 2 were slightly higher than in 2019, but remaining districts fell below last year’s mark.