Maryland Spring Turkey Harvest Results Show Decline

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that 2,847 wild turkeys were harvested during the 2010 spring season, a slight 2 percent decline from last year's total of 2,910. Harvest numbers were tallied after the May 24 close of Maryland’s spring turkey hunting season.

The 2010 numbers are similar to the 10-year average of 2,927, showing that Maryland’s turkey population remains healthy despite the extended inclement weather this past winter.

"Many hunters were concerned that the exceptionally cold temperatures and deep snows this past winter might have harmed the turkey population," stated Bob Long, DNR's Upland Game Bird Biologist. "Based on the harvest numbers, the impacts were minor, even in western Maryland where snowfall amounts were very high."

Only 17 percent of the harvest was comprised of young gobblers, called jakes. This is well below average and supports DNR survey results that documented low reproductive success throughout most of the state last summer.

Junior hunters took advantage of good weather and harvested 147 gobblers during the one-day youth hunt held on April 17. Favorable hunting conditions continued through the early part of the regular season and 44 percent of the total harvest was taken in the first six days of hunting.

The highest harvest once again came from the State's western counties. Garrett County led the State with 345 turkeys, followed by Allegany (327) and Washington (303). Charles (215), Dorchester (213), and Worcester (191) counties also reported high harvests.

Approximately 10,000 hunters pursue turkeys annually during Maryland’s spring season and about 25 percent are successful in taking at least one turkey.