FARMINGTON, W.VA. — Hunters in West Virginia harvested 694 birds during the fall 2021 turkey season, according to preliminary results provided by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
Hunters harvested 33.1 percent fewer birds during the fall 2021 turkey season compared to last year. The low harvest may be in part due to mast conditions. Statewide mast conditions are 61 percent above 2020 and 8 percent above the long-term average with soft mast species doing very well.
“We were expecting the fall harvest to be higher due to the good turkey production we had this year,” said Mike Peters, WVDNR wild turkey and migratory game bird biologist. “It appears good mast conditions may have spread the birds thin across the landscape, making them more difficult to hunt and less susceptible to harvest.”
As reported in the 2021 West Virginia Mast Survey and Hunter Outlook, this year’s wild turkey brood observations were above what was reported last year and were the highest in the past five years. The 2021 fall turkey harvest came in 30.7 percent below the five-year average and 39.5 percent below the 10-year average. This is the third year with a declining fall harvest and the lowest harvest since 1962, when 664 birds were taken.
District 2 is the only district that reported an increased harvest over last year’s numbers. District 2 also had the highest harvest with 168 birds. All other districts reported fewer birds harvested than in the 2020 season. District 4 reported 162 birds harvested, District 3 had 121 birds harvested, District 5 reported 109 birds harvested, District 1 had 72 birds harvested and District 6 reported 62 birds harvested.
Greenbrier County led the state with 41 harvested birds, followed by Hardy and Monroe counties at 36 birds each and Pocahontas at 34 and Mason at 33. All of these counties had a four-week season, except Mason County, which had a two-week season.