Record turkey numbers reported
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources just released the numbers for the spring turkey season. Hunters in Maryland harvested a record number of wild turkeys during the 2016 spring and junior hunt turkey seasons that ended in May. A total of 3,874 wild turkeys were harvested, three percent higher than in 2015, and well above the 10-year average of 3,131.
Wild turkey populations are at all-time highs in some counties. I’m not surprised by this as I’ve seen an incredible number of wild turkeys in St. Mary’s and Charles counties this past year, and I wasn’t even looking for them.
Mostly I saw groups of them crossing the road, or I happened to notice some dawdling in the woods as I drove by, both on country roads and even in busy areas like U.S. 301 in La Plata. And the excellent weather during the first week of the spring hunting season likely attributed to the record harvest by increasing hunter participation. Nearly 50 percent of the total harvest typically occurs during the first week.
A lot of analysis could be performed with these figures, but the bottom line is the Maryland wild turkey population is doing quite well in most places, which is great news.
The more rugged parts of Maryland reported more turkeys harvested than other regions. Garrett County reported the most harvests with 387 followed by Washington County with 355. In Southern Maryland, Calvert reported 73, Charles 265, and St. Mary’s 188.
Country Life Festival coming soon
If you’ve done any driving on Route 5 past the St. Mary’s County fairgrounds recently, you might have noticed a big sign advertising the Country Life Festival coming up July 1 to 3. It’s an annual event and if you like deer, ducks and dogs, you won’t want to miss it.
The Maryland Trophy Deer Contest, the Atlantic Waterfowl Calling Competition and the Ultimate Air Dogs Show are just some of the many attractions that will draw in hunting and outdoors enthusiasts from all over our great state. There will be a number of other attractions like chainsaw carving, hunting dog demos and cornhole tournaments, and craft beer vendors will be on hand as well.
The entrance fee is just $10 per adult and $5 for children 5 to 12 each day. Besides celebrating everything country, the festival honors our brave men and women in uniform with a Military Appreciation Night from 4 to 9 p.m. July 1. Active duty and retired military personnel with valid identification get in for free. And, there is good news for your four-legged friends, too, as leashed dogs are welcome. For more information, go to www.countrylifefestival.com.
Distress signal recall
Speaking of safety, a recall has been issued for the NAMMO LIAB AB Orange Hand Smoke Distress Signal manufactured by Datrex Inc. of Kinder, La. These smoke signals may be labeled and marketed as “Polar MK 4” by NAMMO LIAB AB or as “IKAROS” by Hansson Pyrotechnic.
The chemical makeup of the signal was changed in October 2013 without U.S. Coast Guard approval and faulty signals are at risk of spontaneous combustion when dropped. Any signal manufactured after October 2013 must be properly disposed of and replaced. For more information, contact Datrex at 337-738-4511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.