Sunday, March 18, 2007

Wayne Bailey—Turkey Biologist

Anyone who has hunted turkeys in West Virginia (plus many who have not), probably know Wayne Bailey, if only by reputation. Bailey, who began a long career as a turkey biologist with the West Virginia Conservation Commission (now Department of Natural Resources) in the 1950’s, died last week at age 88.

In his tribute to Bailey, staff writer John McCoy of the Charleston Sunday-Gazette Mail, tells this story:
Bailey, always an animated speaker and storyteller, stole the show [at a gathering of retired turkey biologists] when he told a former Virginia biologist his secret for trapping turkeys on Middle Mountain, which straddles the Virginia-West Virginia border in Pocahontas County.

“I’d set the traps on top of the mountain in West Virginia, but I’d run the bait lines down the hollows on the Virginia side,” he said with a chuckle. “So a lot of the turkeys transplanted into West Virginia were actually Virginia’s birds.”
Bailey’s legacy is a bountiful population of Wild Turkeys in West Virginia and a lengthy list of management and research publications authored during a lifetime of devotion to the bird.

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