January 28, 2015
Hunters reported taking 108 wild turkeys during Maryland’s inaugural winter turkey season that was open January 22-24 statewide. This season was established to provide hunters additional turkey hunting opportunities while minimizing conflicts with other hunting seasons.
Turkeys were taken in 21 of the 23 counties, with Dorchester, Garrett, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s and Worcester reporting the highest numbers. Eighty-nine percent were taken on private lands. Adult males comprised about 38 percent of the harvest with the remainder females and juvenile birds. Ninety-two percent were taken with a shotgun, but a handful of hunters used a cross- or vertical-bow to harvest their winter turkey.
Turkey populations were very limited in Maryland until an extensive DNR program to trap and relocate wild flocks in the 1980s and 1990s successfully established populations in every county.