Spring gobblers are calling hunters

Spring turkey hunters needed for annual survey

For years, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) has conducted a statewide survey of spring turkey hunters to collect observations and opinions, but participation has been declining, according to the DGIF website. Survey results help the department with many wild turkey conservation issues. Participants receive an annual report. To participate, send your name and mailing address to dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov with “turkey survey” in the subject line.

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

Kylie Nost Bransford, dressed in a camo hat with netting and facemask, went on her first-ever wild turkey hunt last week.

On a cool spring morning in April, Cindy Clarke of White Stone was lying in wait for her first wild turkey kill.

The 50-something mother of three is an avid dove hunter but had never been turkey hunting. She bagged a 20-plus pound bird on her first outing, thanks to her guide, Spencer Crittenden of Deltaville, and her son, Harris.

It was an opportunity to spend time with my son doing something he likes to do,” she said. “And it looked fun.”

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) predicted a challenging spring gobbler season. But a quick look through the social media pages of hunters in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula refutes the low-gobbler forecast.

As a born and raised here, I think we have an abundance of turkeys,” said Clarke. “Now some hunters, serious hunters, may disagree with that.”

A drive along Weems Road in lower Lancaster County, where sometimes flocks of 30 wild turkeys can be…