The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced yesterday that hunters reported harvesting 3,861 wild turkeys during the 2018 regular spring and junior hunt turkey seasons. This year’s harvest was eight percent lower than the record 2017 harvest, but well above the 10-year average of 3,406. The statewide 2018 Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Season ran from April 18 through May 23.
“Turkey populations continue to grow in a few areas of the state, but several years of below-average reproduction has reduced numbers in most regions,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said.
In Montgomery County, hunters bagged 149 wild turkeys, which is a record high. The numbers show that the turkey population in Montgomery County is on the upswing, with hunters harvesting 135 birds in 2017, 94 turkeys in 2016, 97 in 2015 and just 68 in 2014.
Record harvests were also reported in Baltimore, Charles, Howard, and Washington counties this year. Washington County reported the highest harvest this year with 459 turkeys, followed by Garrett County with 412. Rounding out the top five were Charles County with 336, Frederick County with 313, and Allegany County with 250.
Hunters in 10 counties were able to hunt on Sundays this year, which lead to a harvest of 327 turkeys.
Youth hunters kicked-off the spring turkey season with the Junior Turkey Hunt April 14 statewide and April 15 in select counties, reporting 239 wild turkeys harvested.
Statewide regulations require that only bearded turkeys may be harvested in the Junior Turkey Hunting Days and Spring Season. Turkeys taken by junior hunters during these days count towards the entire Spring Season bag limit. The Junior Turkey Hunting Days bag limit is one bearded turkey per day. Daily shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for Junior Turkey Hunting Days. Only shotguns, crossbows, vertical bows, or air guns that shoot arrows or bolts may be used for the Junior Turkey Hunting Days. Dogs and organized drives may not be used.
Photo courtesy Maryland Department of Natural Resources, photo by Erik Yetter.