Maryland Turkey Hunting Forecast for 2014

Maryland sportsmen killed 3,344 birds during the 2013 spring season, as the combination of favorable weather and a good 2011 hatch resulted in a record kill.  However, for this season, Free State sportsmen face a classic good news/bad news scenario.

The good news is that the 2012 poult per hen ratio was a satisfactory 3.1, above the 10-year average of 2.8.  However, as was common throughout Maryland '“ and for that matter the entire Mid-Atlantic '“ during the late spring of 2013, too much rain fell and the temperature proved unseasonably cool many mornings.  Poult survival was poor in many areas, and the poult per hen ratio declined sharply to 2.3.  The bottom line is that a goodly number of 2-year-old toms will be present this spring but not many jakes.

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As has been true for many years, the western counties often offer the best Maryland turkey hunting.  Garrett and Alleghany counties, in particular, are outstanding destination as the former features the Savage River State Forest and the latter, the Green Ridge State Forest and Dans River WMA. Other public lands of note include the Sideling Hill WMA in Alleghany and Washington counties and the Pocomoke State Forest in Worchester County.

The average kill per square mile of habitat from 2011-13 shows the following domains topping 1.0: Washington (1.65), Talbot (1.60), Kent (1.47), Queen Ann's (1.43), and Dorchester (1.27).

The season will run from April 18 to May 23. Youth hunting will take place on April 12 in all counties and on April 13 in certain locations. The daily limit is one bearded turkey; the season limit is two bearded turkeys.  Sunday hunting does exist in many counties, but the rules are widely different.

Trip Planning Info:  Maryland DNR: www.dnr.md.us/wildlife, 410-221-8838. Visit Maryland: www.visitmaryland.org, 866-639-3526.

Share your best turkey photos with us on Camera Corner now for your chance to win free gear!

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