Maryland Hunters Bagged Nearly 3000 Turkeys

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Maryland's hunters reported taking 2,833 wild turkeys during the 2008 spring turkey season, a 15 percent increase from the 2007 harvest of 2,455 turkeys. Nearly 1,200 turkeys were taken during the first week, 30 percent more than 2007's opening week.

"Spring turkey hunters were greeted by excellent weather early in the season, providing ideal conditions to hear and call to gobblers," stated Bob Long, DNR Upland Gamebird Biologist. Harvest throughout the remainder of season was similar to previous years.

The harvest data reflected DNR's expectations based on brood surveys conducted over the last few summers, showing that young gobblers, called jakes, were less abundant in most regions this year.

"The number of jakes reported was below average, comprising only 22 percent of the harvest," added Long.

Junior hunters took 134 turkeys during the one day youth hunt held on April 12, representing an increase of 24 percent over the 2007 youth day harvest.

As in the past, the western mountain counties led the state in harvest; Allegany reported 345 turkeys, followed closely by Garrett (327) and Washington (281). Dorchester (242), Worcester (206), and Charles (193) counties also reported good numbers. Large increases in counties such as Caroline, Talbot, and Queen Anne's suggest turkey populations in portions of the Eastern Shore continue to expand and grow.