Youth Turkey Hunt Scheduled for April 12
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary C. Ronald Franks reminded hunters today that the statewide Youth Turkey Hunt will be held on Saturday April 12.
This is the third consecutive year that DNR is offering the special turkey hunt. The one-day hunt allows young people, age 16 or younger, to hunt wild turkeys when accompanied by an unarmed adult age 21 years or older.
“We are providing young hunters a valuable opportunity to pursue wild turkeys during a time when gobbling activity should be optimal and hunting pressure is minimal,” Secretary Franks stated. “High-quality experiences such as these will encourage Maryland’s junior hunters to carry the hunting tradition into the next generation.”
With wild turkey numbers exceeding all-time highs, there has never been a better opportunity to encounter one of these magnificent birds in Maryland. Following a 20-year restoration effort, turkeys now inhabit every county in the state, although the western and southern Eastern Shore regions typically produce the most turkeys during the spring season. Hunters are encouraged to share their experience and expertise with young hunters: if you are interested in taking a youth hunter out, contact local sportsmen’s organizations for more information.
To participate in the hunt, both the young hunter and the adult must possess a valid hunting license or be exempt from Maryland hunting license requirements. Each eligible young hunter can harvest one (1) bearded turkey that day, which will count towards the spring season bag limit of two turkeys. Hunters are reminded to practice safe hunting techniques, and to always positively identify their target before shooting.
The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), a national conservation and education organization dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and preserving hunting traditions, has encouraged Maryland’s efforts with youth hunters.
“The NWTF strongly supports the introduction of our youth to turkey hunting and a youth turkey hunting day is a great way to introduce youth hunters to hunting,” said Robert Abernathy, Director of Agency Programs for the NWTF headquartered in Edgefield, SC. “Hunting is a inclusive activity that brings the generations together in the outdoors that teaches youth hunters skills that can be used their whole lives.”
The Maryland Chapter of the NWTF has partnered with DNR to acknowledge those young hunters who participate in this event.
“Young Maryland hunters who participate in this one-day hunt can receive a Youth Turkey Hunter patch,” according to Bob Eichler, Maryland State Chapter President. “Each young person who is interested in receiving one of these patches should visit an official turkey checking station and complete the registration form. They will then be sent the official patch. Our 12 local chapters in Maryland have raised funds for projects like this, and have willingly donated the resources necessary to produce these wonderful patches.”