SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Beginning this year, West Virginia’s statewide spring gobbler season will run for five weeks instead of four.

The 2021 season will open Monday, April 19, according to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

The season will still open the third Monday in April, but it will now end Sunday, May 23, eight days later than last year. Hunters can harvest one bearded bird per day, with a season bag limit of two, according to a press release.

The two-day youth spring gobbler season will be held April 17–18, the Saturday and Sunday before the regular season. Youth at least 8 years old and younger than 18 can harvest one bearded bird, which counts toward the season bag limit of two, the DNR said.

“Between the extended youth and regular spring turkey season, hunters of all ages will have plenty of opportunity to pursue these birds,” said Mike Peters, wild turkey project leader for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Hunters are encouraged to check the 2021-2022 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary for details, available online. Hunting licenses may be purchased online or at license agents located across the state.

The spring turkey harvest is dependent on the number of birds available (population size) and participation (number of hunters). The DNR said it typically projects the spring harvest by using turkey brood reports from two years earlier because the average harvested spring gobbler is a two-year-old bird.

In 2019, turkey brood observations were 43% below 2018 observations and 32% below the five-year average (2015–19), the DNR explained.

“Under previous hunting regulations we would project this year’s harvest to be lower than last year,” Peters said. “With the increased number of days available to hunt this season, we expect the overall spring turkey harvest to be similar to 2020.”

Hunting turkeys over bait and killing hens is illegal, the DNR said. Turkey hunters are encouraged to report any such activity to their local natural resources police officer or call 911 to report the violation.

The West Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation pays a $100 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone using bait to attempt killing wild turkeys.