Hunting safety tips, essential gear and best hunting locations to help you enjoy turkey hunting in West Virginia

It’s been a long winter, but spring is here and so is one of the most exciting events in West Virginia’s hunting calendar: the start of spring turkey season. You don’t want to miss this exciting season!

First, it’s the last big game hunting opportunity until the fall seasons open up. Second, the spring turkey season is the perfect opportunity to combine multiple outdoor activities into a single day’s hunting trip. Whether you enjoy fishing, hiking or simply taking in the natural beauty of the West Virginia landscape, spring turkey season is the perfect time to get outside and experience all that the state has to offer. 

The turkey season kicks off with a two-day youth season on April 15th and 16th, giving young hunters a chance to take part in the excitement. Then on April 17, the regular season opens statewide and gives hunters five weeks to test their skills and enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

Here’s a few things that will help you get ready for spring turkey season.

What to Expect During Spring Turkey Season

With the weather warming up and the woods coming alive with new growth, there’s no better time to immerse yourself in the great outdoors. From the first buds appearing on trees to the songs of migratory birds returning from their winter homes, the spring turkey season gives you a chance to witness these changes and experience the natural world in a way that simply isn’t possible at any other time of the year.

If you’ve never hunted during the spring turkey season or if you’re coming back around after a few years away from the sport, be ready to have your hunting skills tested. Wild turkeys are one of the most wary game birds in North America. Wild turkeys are notorious for their keen senses and elusive nature, making them a challenging quarry for even the most experienced hunters. By pitting your skills against these elusive birds, you’ll not only test your abilities as a hunter, but you’ll also gain a newfound respect for the natural world and the wildlife that inhabits it.

Successfully hunting wild turkeys requires patience, stealth and the ability to call and mimic the sounds of a real hen turkey. It’s a thrilling experience to see a wild turkey respond to your calls and come into range and it’s a testament to the skills and knowledge that hunters have honed over years of practice and experience. So if you’re looking for a challenge this spring, grab your gear and head out into the woods. The 2023 spring turkey season starts April 17.

Best Hunting Locations for Spring Turkey Season

If you’re looking for the best hunting locations for the spring turkey season, consider a trip to one of West Virginia’s Wildlife Management Areas. These public lands are a great place to experience all that West Virginia has to offer during the spring turkey season. Not only do WMAs offer ample hunting opportunities, but they also provide a wide range of other wildlife-oriented recreational activities that are sure to enhance your experience in the outdoors. From hiking and bird watching to fishing and camping, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on these vast stretches of public land. And best of all, by hunting on WMAs, you’ll be supporting the state’s efforts to manage and conserve our wildlife resources for future generations.

Another reason to consider hunting on WMAs during the spring season is the convenience of having these public lands located across the state. No matter where you live in West Virginia, you’re likely to have a WMA within a short drive. This makes it easy to find a place to hunt without having to travel long distances or pay for expensive leases or hunting clubs. Plus, WMAs are managed to provide the best possible hunting opportunities, with many areas specifically managed for wild turkey populations. So if you’re looking for an affordable, convenient, and rewarding hunting experience this spring, consider heading out to one of West Virginia’s many WMAs to see what the season has to offer.

Spring Turkey Season Essential Gear

Having the right gear is critical for a successful spring turkey season. Along with a reliable shotgun, you’ll need camouflage clothing to blend in with your surroundings and avoid detection by these wary birds.

Other essential gear for the spring turkey season includes quality turkey calls and decoys for luring in your quarry and getting them into range. We also recommend carrying a good pair of binoculars for scouting and spotting distant birds, a comfortable and sturdy pair of boots for navigating the terrain and a hunting vest or backpack to keep your gear organized and easily accessible. A hunting knife, range finder and a good pair of gloves are also recommended. Last of all, you need a West Virginia hunting license, which are available at

By investing in quality gear and taking the time to prepare properly, you’ll increase your chances of having a safe and successful spring turkey season.

Hunting Safety Tips to Remember During Spring Turkey Season

When it comes to hunting during spring turkey season, safety should be a top priority. It is crucial to always identify your target before shooting and to be aware of other hunters in the area. This means taking the time to make sure you are aiming at a turkey and not at another hunter or animal. Additionally, always wear appropriate safety gear and follow all regulations and laws to ensure you are hunting safely and legally.

Hunting with a friend or family member is also a great idea, as it can provide an extra layer of safety. If you go hunting alone, make sure you let someone know where you’ll be and when you expect to return. Lastly, staying alert and aware of your surroundings is important, and always practice firearm safety. By following these safety guidelines, you can help ensure you’ll have a safe and hopefully successful turkey season.

Spring Turkey Season Rules to Remember

For adult hunters, the rules are simple: you may harvest one bearded bird per day with a season bag limit of two. During the youth turkey season, hunters under the age of 18 can harvest one bearded bird, which counts towards their season bag limit of two. To learn more about turkey hunting regulations, check pages 41–42 in the West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary.

All hunters 15 and older are required to have a valid West Virginia hunting license, which can be purchased at approximately 160 retail agents around the state or online at And, as always, DNR officials remind sportsmen and women that hunting turkeys over bait and killing hens without beards are illegal during the spring season.

Hunting Adventures Await

So if you’re a hunter, make sure you’re ready for spring gobbler season. Get your gear together, brush up on your turkey-calling skills, and prepare for an unforgettable experience in the beautiful hills and valleys of West Virginia. And if you’re not a hunter, consider taking a trip to one of our state’s many public hunting lands to enjoy the scenery and support our state’s outdoor recreation industry.

Here’s to a safe, successful, and memorable spring gobbler season in West Virginia!