Maryland’s statewide spring turkey hunting season will begin on Saturday April 11, with a one-day Junior Turkey Hunt. The regular turkey season will open the following Saturday, April 18, and continue through May 23.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) survey data show that wild turkey numbers vary throughout the state.

“Some areas of the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland continue to see significant population growth,” said Bob Long, DNR Wild Turkey Biologist. “However, turkey numbers have remained stable or declined slightly in other regions due to several consecutive years of below average reproduction.”

Turkeys can be found in every Maryland county, but the highest harvests typically come from the western region, portions of Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore.

Adults are encouraged to take a young hunter afield on Junior Turkey Hunt day. This one-day hunt allows hunters aged 16 or younger to hunt wild turkeys when accompanied by an unarmed adult of at least 21 years of age. Both participants must possess a valid hunting license or be exempt from Maryland hunting license requirements.

Most public hunting areas provide turkey hunting opportunities, but opening day and Saturdays are usually quite busy.

In an effort to minimize problems associated with overcrowding, hunters should note that turkey hunting is now restricted at Millington Wildlife Management Area in Kent County. Details can be found on DNR’s website or by calling (410) 928-3650.

Turkey hunting accidents are rare in Maryland, but hunters should always remember to hunt safely. Be sure to positively identify the target as a bearded turkey and eliminate the colors of a gobbler’s head – red, blue, and white – from your clothing. Hunters are also encouraged to wear a fluorescent orange cap while moving and tie an orange ribbon around a nearby tree while calling.

Regulations, turkey check-in procedures and information on public hunting areas can be found at or in 2008-2009 Maryland Guide to Hunting & Trapping issued with each hunting license.