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Gobblers numbers decrease

June 24, 2007|by BILL ANDERSON

Both Maryland and West Virginia have released the harvest numbers for the spring's gobbler seasons, and both states are reporting numbers that are down considerably from last season.

In Maryland, the statewide total was 2,455, down from last season's total of 3,008 and also down from the record of 3,136 birds set in 2005.

West Virginia's numbers are down from past years. The statewide harvest was 9,976 birds - down 15 percent from last spring's total of 11,735. The state record of 12,535 was set in 2003.

West Virginia DNR officials report that the reduced kill this spring was a direct result of a poor brood spring in 2005. The results of a poor spring show up two years later when the gobblers are 2 years old, as the gobblers of that age class are the most likely to be taken by hunters.

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West Virginia managers say next spring will likely be a good season, as the 2006 brood success was generally good.

Top counties in West Virginia this spring were Mason (403), Jackson (361), Wood (337) and Preston (330). However, 47 of the state's 55 counties had a lower harvest this year compared to last.

Maryland officials are also attributing the 18 percent decrease from 2006 to poor nesting success in 2005. Nesting success in 2006 also was below average.

Maryland officials said a 37 percent of the total kill occurred during the season's first week.

Top Maryland counties were once agan the western counties of Garrett (303), Washington (269) and Allegany (259), followed by Charles (209) and Dorchester (205).

Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail.

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