Preliminary Maryland Hunter Check-in Shows ConsistentFall Turkey Harvest While Early Season Deer Harvest Declines
Annapolis, Maryland --Fall turkey hunters reported taking 205 wild turkeys during the 1-week season that ended on November 3, 2007. An identical number of turkeys were taken in the 2006 fall turkey season. Fall turkey hunting is limited to three western counties. Garrett County reported the highest harvest with 88 turkeys, followed by Allegany (78) and Washington (39) Counties. Juvenile turkeys comprised nearly one half of the total harvest, suggesting that the population in the western region remains strong.
Conversely, warm temperatures and an above-average outbreak of Hemorrhagic Disease (HD) lead to a 19 percent decline in the Maryland early season deer harvest. Preliminary data shows that hunters checked in 18,904 deer during the early bow, crossbow, and muzzleloader seasons; compared to 23,428 deer taken during the same period last year.
Hunters reported 2,634 antlered deer (75 sika) and 5,741 antlerless deer (103 sika) during the early bow season from September 15 to October 28, a 12 percent decrease from last year's total of 9,492 deer. Crossbow hunters harvested 210 antlered deer (8 sika) and 515 antlerless deer (16 sika) during the October 1 to October 15 crossbow season, down 5 percent from last year's 762 deer. Muzzleloader hunters, who experienced unfavorably warm weather for hunting, reported 3,644 antlered deer (233 sika) and 6,160 antlerless deer (151 sika), a 26 percent decline from the 13,174 deer taken last year.
"Our primary goal is to stabilize our deer population, to balance it with the environment and human neighbors. We are beginning to see stabilization take place in some locations," said Wildlife and Heritage Service Deer Project Leader Brian Eyler. "In addition, the outbreak of HD has contributed to slightly reduced deer herds and reduced harvest in some areas."
HD outbreaks occur on an annual basis but rarely impact large numbers of deer. Outbreaks similar to this year have historically resulted in reduced deer harvests.
"The early season harvest figures, when coupled with warm weather, come as no surprise. We will wait to see the total harvest at the end of the season before drawing any final conclusions," added Eyler.
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