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Joe Manchin III, Governor

Frank Jezioro, Director


News Release : March 22, 2006


Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-3381

Contact: Lt. Tim Coleman, Law Enforcement Section (304) 558-2784


Safety First During West Virginia's Spring Gobbler Season

April 24 - May 20, 2006


  Spring Gobbler season is just around the corner and now is the perfect time to think about turkey hunting safety, according to Lt. Tim Coleman of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Section. The spring turkey season in West Virginia runs from April 24 – May 20, 2006.


  “Nearly 100 turkey hunters are injured or killed nationwide every year. The majority of these incidents can be avoided,” said Lt. Coleman, who serves as state hunter education coordinator. “All hunters should take a hunter's education course in order to learn safe hunting techniques and firearm handling.”


  Hunters born after January 1, 1975 , are required to take and pass a hunter's education course prior to obtaining a hunting license. The state of WV offers these courses in every county free of charge. Turkey hunting safety is emphasized in these courses. There are some basic safety rules every hunter should follow while turkey hunting:

  1. Hunters should wear blaze orange while moving through the woods. Stalking turkeys is neither productive nor safe. Turkeys , like most birds, have good eyesight. They can see a hunter moving through the woods whether the hunter wears orange or not.
  2. If you are successful in bagging a turkey it is a good idea to wrap the bird in orange while carrying it out of the woods.
  3. While turkey hunting, always sit with your back against a large tree or other object large enough to prevent being shot from behind.
  4. Identify your target absolutely. A majority of hunting related shootings are the result of hunters being mistaken for game.
  5. Be absolutely sure of what is behind your target. This is especially important during turkey season because other hunters are camouflaged.
  6. Do not wear red, white, black or blue clothing. These colors are found on wild turkeys.
  7. Never try to alert another hunter of your presence by using a turkey call or by waving.

  Other important things for turkey hunters to remember:

•  Only turkeys with a visible beard may be taken during the spring gobbler season.

•  The season limit in the spring is two.

•  A turkey must be field tagged. Each person killing a turkey must, within one hour and before moving the carcass from where it was killed, complete and attach a game field tag. This tag must bear the hunter's name, address, hunting license number [if required] and the date, time and county of kill. The field tag must remain on the carcass until it is dressed for consumption.

•  The carcass of each turkey must be delivered to an official game checking station or a conservation officer for checking and retagging before it is either skinned or transported beyond the boundaries of the county adjacent to that in which the kill was made and within 72 hours from where it was killed or 24 hours from the close of the respective season, whichever comes first. The checking tag must remain on the bird until it is dressed for consumption.

•  Any person who transports or possesses wildlife that was killed by another hunter must have a tag bearing the signature, address, date of kill, hunting license number and checking tag number of that hunter.


  A special one day youth spring gobbler hunt will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2006. The youth hunter must be at least 8 years old and no more than 14 years old. The youth must be accompanied by a licensed adult, at least 21 years of age, who cannot carry a gun or a bow and must remain close enough to render advice and assistance. A nonresident youth hunter must possess Class XXJ, CS and LE license. Nonresident adults accompanying youth hunters must possess Class E, WW, CS, and LE licenses. The bag limit is one bearded turkey and the harvested bird will count toward the hunter's annual bag limit. Only shotguns using shot size 4, 5, or 6 are legal.


  Other laws and regulations pertaining to turkey hunting can be found in the 2005­/2006 hunting regulations available at license agents or DNR offices and online at . Rewards may be available to those providing information that leads to arrest and conviction of turkey poachers. Contact the Inwood DNR Law Enforcement office at 267-0037 or any DNR District Office with any such information.


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