Spring Turkey Season Opens With Junior Turkey Hunt Day

Spring Turkey Season Opens With Junior Turkey Hunt Day

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Annapolis, MD –-(Ammoland.com)- Maryland’s statewide spring turkey season will begin Saturday, April 17 with a one-day Junior Turkey Hunt. The regular season will open Monday, April 19 and continue through May 24, 2010.

Hunters can expect to find a similar or slightly lower number of turkeys as they search for a gobbler this year. Based on survey data, turkey reproductive success was below-average four of the last five years across much of the state.

“Hunters should not be discouraged by the statewide survey results,” said Bob Long, a Maryland Department of Natural Resources wild turkey biologist. “Turkey populations remain healthy and population levels can vary substantially depending on the region or even the local area you hunt.”

Regionally, turkey numbers are stable or slightly increasing in the southern region and the upper portion of the Eastern Shore. Although populations remain high in the traditional turkey strongholds of the western mountains and the lower Eastern Shore, a general decline is evident in both regions. Turkey numbers in the central part of the state are lower than in other areas but appear to be holding steady.

Adults are encouraged to take a young hunter out on the Junior Turkey Hunt day. This one-day hunt allows licensed hunters aged 16 or younger to hunt wild turkeys when accompanied by an unarmed, licensed adult of at least 21 years of age. Gobbling activity is typically higher before the regular season opens, making this day a perfect opportunity to introduce a young person to turkey hunting.

Public turkey hunting opportunities are readily available throughout Maryland. Hunting pressure tends to be high on opening day and Saturdays, but usually is less on weekdays and later in the season.

Hunters should note that turkey hunting at Millington Wildlife Management Area is now administered via a reservation system to better manage hunting pressure. Call 410-928-3650 for more information.

Turkey hunting accidents are rare in Maryland but hunters should always remember to hunt safely. Hunters should positively identify their targets as a bearded turkey and eliminate the colors of a gobbler’s head (red, white and blue) from their clothing. Hunters are also encouraged to wear a fluorescent orange cap while moving and tie an orange ribbon around a nearby tree while calling.

Complete regulations, turkey check-in procedures and information on public land hunting opportunities can be found at www.dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide or in 2009-2010 Maryland Guide to Hunting & Trapping issued with each hunting license.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland’s forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland’s effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state’s number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov