Maryland’s statewide spring wild turkey season is set to begin on April 15 with the Junior Turkey Hunt Day, followed by the regular spring turkey season from April 18 to May 23. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that the turkey populations in all counties are at all-time highs, with some areas showing moderate to high reproductive success for the past two summers, which should result in a better hunting experience this season.

Acting Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Karina Stonesifer stated, “Hunters should have ample opportunity to encounter a gobbler wherever they choose to spend time in the spring woods.” She also said that the DNR advises hunters to prioritize safety during turkey hunting.

Erik Yetter, submitted to a previous Maryland Department of Natural Resources Photo Contest.

Junior Hunt Days, which are April 15 statewide and continue April 16 in select counties, enable licensed youths aged 16 and younger to hunt if they are accompanied by an unarmed adult aged 21 or older, who holds a valid Maryland hunting license.

Hunting is allowed from half-hour before sunrise until noon for the first part of the regular hunting season, April 18 through May 9. During the rest of the season, May 10 through May 23, and during the Junior Turkey Hunt, April 15-16, hunting hours are from half-hour before sunrise until sunset.

The daily bag limit for the spring season is one bearded turkey, and the season bag limit is two bearded turkeys. Hunting is allowed on Sundays in some counties. The complete regulations, including Sunday hunting dates and check-in procedures, can be found online.

The Maryland DNR has also recommended hunters to practice turkey hunting safety. Hunters should keep their decoys out of sight until they are ready to use them at a safe location with good visibility from all directions. Hunters should not hide directly behind decoys or use them to stalk closer to birds. More turkey hunting safety tips can be found on the department’s website.

In Maryland, wild turkeys are found in all counties, but their populations vary by location. The DNR has been closely monitoring turkey populations across the state to determine the best hunting strategies to prevent over-harvesting.

The DNR Summer Wild Turkey Observation Survey is conducted annually to record turkey reproduction success. The survey found moderate to high reproductive success in the central and western parts of the state for the past two summers. The success of the survey should translate into more turkeys and higher hunter success this season.

The spring turkey season is a great opportunity for hunters in Maryland to enjoy the state’s natural resources and to practice responsible hunting. Hunters should take note of the regulations and practice safety to ensure a successful and enjoyable season.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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