Virginia 2016–2017 Fall Wild Turkey Harvest Summary
A total of 3,120 wild turkeys were harvested in Virginia during the 2016-17 fall turkey hunting season. While data suggest Virginia’s turkey population is close to record levels for modern times, fall harvests will fluctuate due to a number of factors. These factors include annual variation in turkey productivity, mast conditions, and weather. Turkey productivity or “the hatch” can vary widely due to weather conditions in May and June. In 2016, productivity (2.4 poults/hen) was slightly below our long-term average (2.5 poults/hen). Acorn abundance, which varies by year and region, significantly impacts fall turkey hunter success rates.
In years with abundant acorns, wild turkey home ranges are small, making them harder for hunters to find. Conversely, without acorns, turkeys range further and hunter success rates increase. This year’s acorn production, varied by the species of oak trees with the red oak group producing average yields of acorns. In contrast, white oak acorns were below-average for most of the state; however, some areas had bumper crops. With these mast conditions hunter success rates were likely below long term averages (12%).
One of the goals of the Department’s Wild Turkey Management Plan is to promote fall turkey hunting. In 2015, the Youth and Apprentice Hunting day was expanded to include Sundays. Harvest during this special weekend totaled 50 birds in the 2016-17 season. Virginia’s Jefferson and George Washington National Forests offer significant opportunities for fall turkey hunting.
The turkey harvest on our National Forests increased from 116 birds in 2015-16 to 134 birds in 2016-17. Due to good distribution of red oak crops, turkeys may have shifted their home ranges to primarily forested National Forests lands.
- Additional information on turkey productivity (PDF)
- Additional information on mast abundance (PDF)
- For more information on wild turkey population goals, visit the Department’s Turkey Management Plan
- County-by-County Fall Turkey Harvest Data (2016-2017) (PDF)
|Season/Method||Number Harvested||% Total Harvest|
|Type of Turkey|
|East of Blue Ridge||1,688||54|
|West of Blue Ridge||1,425||46|
|Top 10 Counties|
Virginia Fall Wild Turkey Harvest 1951–2016