Cumberland Times-News


June 1, 2014

Record set! No hunt accidents during lengthy W.Va. spring gobbler season

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The 2014 spring turkey hunting season was a milestone in West Virginia. For the first time since spring turkey hunting was instituted in the late 1960s, no fatalities and no injuries were reported.

Historically, the four-week spring turkey season has been associated with hunting-related incidents, such as mistaken-for-game shootings. Spring gobbler season is a calling sport, with camouflaged hunters imitating the call of hens as they attempt to lure male turkeys into range. Thanks to hunter education classes that became mandatory in 1990 for any hunter born after Jan. 1, 1975, the number of hunting incidents has steadily decreased over the years. The last spring turkey season hunting-related fatality occurred in 2009.

A hunting incident is defined as a case where a hunter is injured or killed while hunting or preparing to hunt. Lt. Tim Coleman of the DNR Law Enforcement Section credits the Hunter Education Program for the steady improvement.

“In the early 1990s, spring turkey hunting incidents had double digit figures with near double digit fatalities before hunter education became mandatory,” Coleman said. “Thanks to the volunteer instructors and natural resources police officers of the West Virginia Hunter Education Program, and to the hunters who have made safety a part of their culture, incidents and fatalities for the spring turkey season were eliminated this year.”

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