Annapolis, MD –  Jan. 25 Hunters reported taking 109 wild turkeys during Maryland’s third annual winter turkey hunting season, which was open statewide Jan. 19-21.

The harvest was significantly higher than the 61 birds taken last winter, which was hampered by severe weather, and slightly higher than the inaugural 2015 season.

“We are glad to see hunters taking advantage of this new opportunity,” said Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto. “Our goal is to give more hunters the chance to benefit from the great wildlife management success story that lead to the restoration of this remarkable species.”

The winter turkey season was established in 2015 to provide hunters an additional hunting opportunity while minimizing conflicts with other seasons.

Turkey populations were minimal in the state until an extensive Maryland Department of Natural Resources program, which trapped and relocated wild flocks of turkeys and succeeded in establishing populations in every county.

Turkeys were harvested in 22 counties this winter, with Dorchester, Washington, and Charles counties reporting the highest figures. Adult males comprised about 49 percent of the harvest with the rest a combination of female and juvenile birds. Ninety percent were taken with a shotgun with others harvested with a crossbow or vertical bow.