Maryland Hunters harvested 4,208 wild turkeys during the 2022 spring regular and junior turkey seasons, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported. This year’s harvest was 8% higher than the 2021 harvest and just 2% lower than the record harvest of 4,303 set in 2020.
“Although some areas have seen a decline in turkey populations, some areas of the state now hold record numbers of turkeys,” Wildlife and Heritage Service said director Paul Peditto. “Growing turkey populations in areas such as the Baltimore-Washington corridor provide hunters with exciting new opportunities to get where they may not have had success in the past.”
The percentage of juvenile turkeys or ‘jakes’ reported in the harvest was 24%, the highest level since 2011. The increase can be attributed to the emergence of the Brood X cicada in the summer of 2021 which provided a abundant food to newly hatched turkeys and increased the survival of young birds.
The Turkish populations of the central region of the state have particularly benefited from the strong breeding of last summer. Five counties in the region recorded record harvests: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s. But counties farther west lead the state in total turkey harvest, with Garrett County reporting 436 turkeys, followed by Washington County with 400 and Frederick County with 343.
Young Hunters kicked off the statewide spring turkey season on April 16 with the Junior Turkey Hunt. Another junior hunting opportunity took place on April 17 in select counties. In total, the young hunters harvested 286 wild turkeys, which represents approximately 7% of the total spring harvest.
The total harvests by county are below:
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