Maryland's spring hunting season for bearded turkey opened last week, with hunting allowed in all counties, and forest game manager Steve Bittner confident that the monthlong season will set a record.
"Everything looks real good so far," Bittner said last week. "There are plenty of birds and we have received all kinds of reports of turkeys across the state from the fall through the winter."
Last season, hunters took 1,744 birds in the spring season, even though several counties were closed to spring hunting.
"The  winter was really severe and the birds came through in good shape anyway," Bittner said. "This winter was mild and the birds are in really good shape and healthy for the breeding season.
"So, with the statewide season and the number of birds increased by last year's good hatch, it seems reasonable to expect a harvest of 2,000 or more birds."
The Department of Natural Resources has trapped and relocated more than 800 wild turkeys over the past 15 years to restore populations in all counties. Statewide, the wild turkey population is estimated between 15,000 and 18,000.
The spring season, Bittner said, will unravel some of the mysteries game managers occasionally have trouble with.
"After the birds are checked in, we will have a better idea of where natural movement may have taken them," Bittner said. "I won't be surprised if we end up with some areas that hold numbers of turkeys where we didn't exactly expect them to be."
Spring season will close May 16.
Starting May 1, all recreational boats under 16 feet must carry wearable personal flotation devices (PFDs) for each person aboard. Previously, type IV throwable PFDs could be used on boats 16 feet and smaller.
When selecting PFDs, be certain they fit the person who will wear them. For children, especially, PFDs with straps that attach to the front and back of the vest and pass through the legs are essential.
In most instances, the crotch strap will keep youngsters from slipping out of PFDs once they have been put on.
"Most boating fatalities are due to drowning, and almost all of those people could have been saved if they were wearing a life jacket," said Natural Resources Police Superintendent Col. John Rhoads. "We would like to see everyone, especially children, wear their life jackets at all times."
PFDs should be Coast Guard-approved and suited to the sea conditions and type of boating.
Bright orange or yellow PFDs are most easily spotted day and night.
Try PFDs on and adjust them for fit before purchase and then enter the water to be certain they will support you and keep your head and mouth clear of the surface.
Then go a step further and, with competent help nearby, try putting on the PFD while in the water. It is not easy to do.
Gurney Godfrey day
Next Saturday, the Maryland Fly Anglers take over the lodge at Oregon Ridge for the annual Gurney Godfrey Dinner and Exposition, a day and evening of seminars, exhibitions and clinics suitable for fly fishermen of all ages.
Casting, fly tying and fishing seminars and clinics will be free and open to the public. The professionally catered dinner, with keynote speaker Boyd C. Pfeiffer, will cost $30 per person.
For information, call (410) 665-3395.
Spring boat show
The Annapolis Spring Boat Show will open Thursday at the Annapolis Yacht Basin, with as many as 150 new and used powerboats and sailboats on display. Vendors will be selling boating accessories, equipment and services.
The show will run through next Sunday and will open at 11 a.m. each day.
L Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under.