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Maryland's spring turkey season is about to open

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Maryland's spring turkey season is about to open
Photo by Leonardo Pecora, submitted to the 2021 Maryland DNR Photo Contest.

ANNAPOLIS, MD. – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces the statewide spring wild turkey season begins April 13 with Junior Turkey Hunt Day. All hunters can hunt during the regular spring turkey season, which begins April 18 and runs through May 23.

“Wild turkeys remain plentiful throughout most of Maryland.”

Karina Stonesifer, director of the Wildlife and Heritage Service, said. “Turkey hunting is a fun way to enjoy the sights and sounds of spring and maybe be lucky enough to bag a nice gobbler.”

Hunters should have a good chance of encountering adult gobblers this spring, while the number of jakes (year-old turkeys) may be limited. The Department of Natural Resources' annual Summer Wild Turkey Observation Survey documented average or above-average reproductive success in most regions during the 2021 and 2022 breeding seasons. However, reproduction was below average last summer.

Junior Hunt Days allows licensed youth 16 years of age and younger to hunt when accompanied by an unarmed adult 21 years of age or older who has a valid Maryland hunting license. The Junior Turkey Hunt will take place statewide on April 13th and continues in select counties on Sunday, April 14th.

During the first part of the regular hunting season, from April 18th to May 9th, hunting is permitted from half an hour before sunrise until noon. During the remainder of the season, May 10-23, and during the Junior Turkey Hunt, hunting hours are half an hour before sunrise to sunset.

The daily bag limit for the spring season is one bearded turkey, while the seasonal bag limit is two bearded turkeys. In certain counties, hunting is permitted on Sundays. Full regulations, including Sunday hunting dates and check-in procedures, can be found online.

Hunters are also reminded to always keep safety in mind when turkey hunting. The Department of Natural Resources recommends hunters keep decoys out of sight until they are ready for use in a safe location with good visibility from all directions. Do not hide directly behind decoys or use them to stalk closer to birds. For more turkey hunting safety tips, visit the department website.