Hunters reported harvesting a total of 3,344 wild turkeys during the 2013 spring turkey season, surpassing the previous record harvest of 3,136 set in 2005.
This year’s harvest was 7 percent above the 2012 harvest of 3,132, and well above the 10-year average of 2,925. These results indicate that Maryland’s turkey population remains healthy and hunters are enjoying some of the best spring turkey hunting in many years.
High turkey populations coupled with good weather likely contributed to the record-setting harvest. Turkey numbers have been on the rise in some areas due to several years of above-average reproduction. In particular, large increases in counties such as Harford, Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Frederick, helped to boost the total harvest. In addition, pleasant weather throughout the State during most of the season most likely increased hunter participation and helped them locate and call in cooperative gobblers.
Garrett County reported the highest harvest again this year with 386 turkeys, followed by Washington with 309. Rounding out the top five counties were Charles (270), Allegany (269) and Dorchester (245).
Youth hunters took advantage of the special Junior Turkey Hunt and reported taking 246 turkeys, setting a Junior Hunt record for the second consecutive year. The Junior Hunt was open statewide on Saturday, April 13, and in select counties on Sunday, April 14.
Spring turkey hunters were able to hunt on Sundays in seven counties again this spring. Sunday turkey hunting was limited to April 28 and May 5 in Allegany and Garrett counties, but was permitted throughout the season in Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester and St. Mary’s. A total of 143 turkeys were harvested on Sundays.