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CNB Hunting/Fishing Maryland News: Hunters Take Record Number of Turkeys

English: Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo), f...English: Wild Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo), female with juveniles, Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site, Jocelyn, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced today that hunters reported harvesting a total of 3,874 wild turkeys during the 2016 regular spring and junior hunt turkey seasons that ended on May 23. This year’s harvest is three percent higher than 2015 (3,767), and well above the ten year average of 3,131.

“The high harvest can be attributed to a combination of factors, including growing turkey populations, excellent weather during the first week, and more Sunday hunting opportunities across the state,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said.

Garrett County reported the highest harvest this year with 387 turkeys, followed by Washington with 355. Rounding out the top five were Frederick (299), Dorchester (274), and Charles (265). Hunters in nine counties were able to hunt on Sundays this year, which lead to a harvest of 251 turkeys.

Youth hunters kicked-off the spring turkey season with the Junior Turkey Hunt on April 16 statewide and April 17 in select counties. They took advantage of the pleasant weather and harvested 193 wild turkeys.

The table below shows the overall reported spring turkey season harvest by county for 2011-2016:

           Reported Spring Turkey Harvest, 2011-2016

County

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Allegany

287

257

269

258

298

256

Anne Arundel

38

58

82

54

62

45

Baltimore

25

29

37

32

35

52

Calvert

40

50

57

59

69

73

Caroline

132

164

142

141

159

172

Carroll

22

30

33

45

62

76

Cecil

34

43

55

57

67

69

Charles

222

303

270

254

253

265

Dorchester

210

219

245

239

252

274

Frederick

122

140

215

193

256

299

Garrett

339

368

386

383

421

387

Harford

69

98

110

97

102

110

Howard

16

16

16

10

16

34

Kent

97

103

118

150

164

181

Montgomery

47

51

82

68

97

94

Prince George’s

79

92

78

79

87

87

Queen Anne’s

114

152

159

165

183

190

Somerset

114

122

124

120

169

150

St. Mary’s

83

99

127

173

193

188

Talbot

98

102

103

83

68

88

Washington

285

292

309

343

392

355

Wicomico

162

152

124

146

138

206

Worcester

191

192

203

176

224

223

     Total

2,826

3,132

3,344

3,325

3,767

3,874

Wild turkey populations are at all-time highs in some areas, with record numbers reported in many counties. Additionally, ideal weather during the first week of the season likely increased hunter participation and helped them locate and call in cooperative gobblers. Nearly 50 percent of the total harvest typically occurs during the first week.

press release

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