Take a statistical approach this year for the WV turkey season. Try something new and hunt public land in one of the top counties from last years spring turkey season.
West Virginia turkey hunters harvested 9,366 turkeys during the 2022 spring WV turkey season. This was a 7.6% decrease from the 2021 spring turkey season which saw hunters harvest 10,134 turkey.
Additionally, the 2022 spring WV turkey season harvest was 13.8% below the five-year average (10,864) and 11.3% below the 10-year average (10,556).
Don’t fall victim to the numbers this turkey season. Today we are examining the top five producing counties from the previous spring WV turkey season. We will be utilizing the information available to help increase the odds of having successful turkey hunt this year.
Striking out on WV public hunting land and not sure where to go? Whether you’re an out of state hunter traveling to West Virginia for the first time or a veteran hunter looking for a new spot, we have some suggestions for you.
The following counties had the highest number of turkeys killed during the spring season last year. Out of 55 counties, the top 5 West Virginia turkey hunting counties accounted for 17% of the total number of turkey killed.
Each county on the list has accessible public hunting land. We have examined the options and selected the best public land in the states top 5 turkey hunting counties. Use our guide to find your next spot for turkey hunting in West Virginia.
Love a challenge? Try Bowhunting Turkey.
Preston County – Coopers Rock State Forest
Preston County had the highest number of turkey killed (357) in the last WV Spring Turkey Season.
What is Coopers Rock State Forest
Coopers Rock State Forest is a 12,747-acre state forest in both Preston and Monongalia Counties. The majority of the state forest is open to public hunting.
Why we picked it
There are lots of reasons to visit Coopers Rock and turkey hunting is only one of them. If you’re an avid hiker, there is an incredible network of trails throughout the park. If you’re a hunter, you can utilize these same great trails to locate a spring gobbler.
Coopers Rock State Forest is an expansive piece of public land with lots of great topographical features for an interesting hunt. When hunting at Coopers Rock there are ridges to run and valleys to glass. By accessing the park from one of the trails and hopping off into the woods, you should find a suitable location to start calling for turkey. And if you hear one in the distance, chances are you’ll be able to track it down before running into property boundaries.
Even popular YouTube hunters The Hunting Public hunted turkey at Coopers Rock during their 2020 turkey tour.
While they never specifically mentioned where they were hunting, anyone who has spent time at Coopers Rock can identify it from the video. In the video, they bought their WV hunting license at the Wheeling, WV Walmart.
Later on, they traveled back and forth between Pennsylvania and West Virginia hunting turkey on public land in WV. It was pretty clear that The Hunting Public was hunting turkey at Coopers Rock State Forest.
Mingo County – Tomblin Wildlife Management Area
West Virginia turkey hunters killed 351 turkey in Mingo County during the last Spring Turkey Season. Mingo County came in second place by a very narrow margin.
What is Tomblin Wildlife Management Area
Tomblin Wildlife Management Area is sprawling 25,155 acres covering parts of Logan and Mingo counties. It is a reclaimed surface mine that is home to the West Virginia elk herd.
Why we picked it
Tomblin Wildlife Management Area is a rugged, expansive area in the southwestern part of the state. At 25,155 acres it is absolutely massive. It’s hard to comprehend an area of this size, especially in our state.
Hunters looking to experience public land shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to hunt a property this size. While normal normal for states out west, a 25,000 acre property is a unique experience for West Virginia hunters.
Hunting turkey at Tomblin Wildlife Management Area also gives you a chance to see the WV elk herd. This unique opportunity makes it the logical choice for the go-to public hunting land for the West Virginia turkey season.
Getting to see elk live an in person would be a solid consolation prize if your turkey hunting was unsuccessful.
Turkey hunters from Kentucky might appreciate the close proximity of Tomblin Wildlife Management Area to the Kentucky state line. The Kentucky turkey season opens a few days earlier than the WV turkey season. If you have tagged out in Kentucky, consider picking up an out of state hunting license and trying some public land hunting in Mingo County.
Check out the topo map of Tomblin Wildlife Management Area HERE.
Remember, if you come across a shed elk antler on Tomblin Wildlife Management Area while turkey hunting – leave it where it is. Elk antlers, unlike deer antlers, are illegal to pick up in West Virginia.
Greenbrier County – Greenbrier State Forest
Greenbrier County finished third overall out of 55 counties in West Virginia with 321 turkey killed during the Spring Turkey Season.
What is Greenbrier State Forest
The Greenbrier State Forest is located in the southeastern corner of the state, near the border of Virginia. Greenbrier State Forest covers 5,100 acres of forested, mountainous terrain.
Why we picked it
State forests in West Virginia are open to hunting. Greenbrier State Forest near White Sulfur Springs has an extensive network of trails to get you away from the road and into the turkey.
There are several trailheads you can access from Harts Run Rd. Rocky Ridge Trail and Youngs Nature Trail both take you all the way up Kate Mountain. Utilizing some turkey calls as you slowly work your way up is a good way to locate a turkey.
Check out the topo map to see the Greenbrier State Forest trails HERE.
Virginia residents should consider crossing the border to hunt the Greenbrier State Forest for a WV gobbler. Afterwards, they can explore the nearby tourist attractions at White Sulfur Springs when their hunt ends at 1 pm.
If you are looking to get away from home this turkey season, Greenbrier State Forest has 16 campsites for RV hookups and 14 cabins to rent. Set up your hunting camp and explore the mountains in the southeastern corner of West Virginia.
Jackson County – Frozen Camp WMA
309 turkeys were killed by hunters in Jackson County during the previous spring turkey season in West Virginia.
What is Frozen Camp WMA
Frozen Camp WMA is a 2,587 acre Wildlife Management Area in Jackson County near Ripley, WV.
Why we picked it
One of the criteria we looked for when selecting WV public hunting land for this year’s turkey season was open ridgetops. In order to be successful on unfamiliar ground, you will need to be prepared to move. Picking any old spot and calling for turkey may get you a vocal response but is not likely to lead to a shot opportunity.
Covering more ground and finding fresh sign will get you closer to where the turkey are spending time off the roost. The open ridgetops and wooded hillsides at Frozen Camp WMA give hunters ample opportunity to spot and stalk their way to the turkey. Move slowly, listening for that gobble off in the distance.
Once your hunt has ended, there are also two lakes to fish from since turkey hunting ends at 1 PM in West Virginia.
Frozen Camp WMA is located just outside of Ripley, WV. Ripley is a major exit off I-77 and you will find plenty restaurants close by. This is convenient if you are traveling for an out of state hunt. Directly to the west of the Wildlife Management Area, Ripley offers multiple places to stay for the duration of your hunting trip.
Check out the topo map for Frozen Camp WMA HERE.
Monroe County – Moncove Lake WMA
Turkey hunters in Monroe County, WV bagged 295 turkeys in last year’s turkey season. Ending up just shy of 300, this put them at fifth out of 55 West Virginia counties.
What is Moncove Lake WMA
Moncove Lake WMA is a 776 acre Wildlife Management Area in Monroe County, WV. It surrounds the adjacent Moncove Lake State Park.
Why we picked it
An aerial view of Moncove Lake WMA shows some recent logging activity on the hillsides overlooking the lake. This new growth amidst a mature hardwood forest will be an attraction to wild turkey. Additionally, there is parking and an access trail across the top of the ridge. Hiking the trail into Moncove Lake gives hunters access to the clear cut areas by hiking north east. Start here if you’re looking for spot and stalk opportunity to locate gobbling birds.
Additionally, Moncove Lake State Park has camp sites available. Unlike many of the WV public hunting land options, you have a place to stay close by. There are 48 campsites available, 34 of which have electric hookups.
Tow your RV along for a long weekend on the lake in Monroe County, the fifth most successful county in the 2022 WV turkey season.
Check out the topo map for Moncove Lake WMA HERE.
Get the latest West Virginia hunting, fishing, and outdoor content delivered right to your inbox.
WV Turkey Season
The 2023 WV Spring Turkey Season runs April 17 to May 21. The Youth Spring Gobbler Season dates are April 15 and April 16 for hunters ages 8 to 17.
If you haven’t utilized public hunting land in West Virginia, you are missing out on an unrealized resource. There are 96 Wildlife Management Areas in the state of West Virginia managed by the WVDNR. There is one near you. Try something new for the upcoming hunting season. Whether you pick one of the public lands on our list or not, take this opportunity to seek new challenges and start hunting on public land this year.
If you plan to participate in the 2023 WV Turkey Season you will need your West Virginia hunting license which can be purchased online at WVHunt.com.