The Times West Virginian

April 28, 2014

Spring gobbler season opens today

By Richard Babich
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The 2014 spring gobbler season begins today.

Hunters from across the state have been anticipating the spring turkey season. Chase Banker is a hunter from Monongah.

“I hunt just about pretty much every season you can think of,” Banker said. “I’m pretty excited. I actually woke up this morning and saw about 10 turkeys in my yard.”

Division of Natural Resources Sgt. Jim Crawley said hunters can avoid injury if they follow a few safety tips.

“If you are going in or out of the woods, wear orange. Wrap your turkey in something orange. Just do not carry it over your shoulder, so do not get it mistaken. Remember not to wear red, white or blue. Those are the main colors that you are looking for when you are hunting turkey. Make sure you mark your (hunting spot) with orange (even though it is not required by law),” Crawley said. “Make sure your back is against something solid and as wide as your back.”

Crawley said identifying your target and what is behind you target is very important.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources has been collecting data on the spring turkey season since 1983. DNR supervisor of game management services Chris Ryan said the data collection is used for a variety of purposes.

“The survey is really important because it helps us track the turkey populations and other wildlife populations across the state and across different regions,” Ryan said.

Ryan also said the previous winter did not have a dramatic effect on the turkey population.

“Wildlife populations are definitely affected by weather conditions and other factors,” Ryan said. “Turkeys are not quite as influenced by bad weather as some other species.”

According to Ryan, turkey populations were not as affected by the winter because there was not a lot of deep snow.

During the season, the spring turkey survey is turned in by hunters.

“It’s a very good avenue for people to have direct communication to our biologists,” Ryan said.

According to a DNR press release, hunters can find the spring gobbler survey on the DNR website by selecting the Hunting Main Page and then selecting the Spring Gobbler Survey form and printing it out or by contacting the DNR by phone at 304-637-0245.

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.