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DNR Touts Spring Turkey Numbers

May 29th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced this week 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.

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