Record turkey num­bers re­ported

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake

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 da­trex@da­trex.com.

jamiedrake­out­doors@out­look.com

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