Annapolis, MD -- Turkey hunters harvested 171 turkeys in Western Maryland during the one week fall turkey season, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) preliminary results. That's up 14 percent from the 2009 total of 150 birds for Washington, Allegany and Garrett Counties. Deer hunters reported 25,324 deer for the period September 15 to October 31, up 4 percent over last year's take of 24,384 for the same period.
Garrett County reported the highest fall turkey harvest (76), followed by Allegany (62) and Washington (33) Counties. The modest increase in harvest suggests that some hunters may have taken advantage of the recent change in the turkey bag limits.
There are some notable changes that added to the hunting season this year:
* A turkey taken in the fall is not counted toward the spring bag limit as it did in the past. The number of fall turkey hunters and turkey harvest has been declining for many years and this change in the bag limit is not expected to negatively impact the turkey population.
* Crossbows are legal for the entire deer archery season statewide. For the months of September and October, archery hunters reported 3,164 white-tailed deer and 94 sika deer taken with crossbows, compared to 8,888 white-tailed deer and 249 sika deer taken with vertical bows. Overall, the archery harvest dropped 3 percent to 12,395 for the early portion of the season.
* A new regulation permits sika deer hunting during the antlerless-only muzzleloader season. Hunters who took advantage of the new regulation reported taking 37 antlerless sika deer. Muzzleloader hunters enjoyed excellent weather conditions for much of the October season and reported 12,397 white-tailed deer and 532 sika deer, up 11 percent over last year's early season deer harvest.
Overall, hunters have tallied 9,079 antlered deer and 16,245 antlerless deer so far this year.
"We are very satisfied to see hunters taking so many antlerless deer," said Pete Jayne, DNR's Associate Director for Game Management. "Harvesting antlerless deer is a critical part of our deer management plan. Hunters and landowners need to focus on antlerless deer if we are to meet our deer management goals."
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