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Transplant program cited in record turkey harvest


Before the start of the spring turkey season, Department of Natural Resources biologists said they expected a very good season, and, indeed, statistics released by DNR show that hunters in the state set a record.

Statistics for the four-week season, which ended a month ago, indicate that 2,440 bearded birds were taken across the state, a 40 percent increase over the 1994 record of 1,744 birds.

"The success of Maryland's turkey trap and transplant program is directly responsible for this record harvest," said DNR secretary John R. Griffin. "The Wildlife Division has established turkey flocks in every county of the state by trapping wild birds and releasing them into unoccupied habitats."

This past season was the first state-wide spring season for bearded turkeys, and hunters benefited from excellent breeding and habitat conditions this year and last.

The 1994 hatch was excellent, meaning more birds were in the field. The winter was mild and had little impact on turkeys in the state. And the spring season included mostly favorable hunting weather.

C7 Six counties reported kills in excess of 100 birds.

Trophy rockfish

Based on reports called in to DNR during the trophy rockfish season that ended May 31, anglers caught 1,365 trophies, compared with 769 last year. However, catch totals are not official, and will not be official until DNR completes a postseason telephone survey of anglers.

The mean length of trophies caught and reported was 35.56 inches. The mean length during the 1994 season was 36.89 inches. But this season the minimum length for keepers was lowered to 32 inches from 34.

According to the reports, 41 percent of the trophies were caught in the first week of the season (April 28-May 4) and 27 percent were caught in the second week. Only 5 percent were taken between May 26 and May 31.

The longest rockfish caught measured 52 inches and a total of five that measured 50 inches or longer was reported.

Blue crab meetings

Five public information meetings on blue crabs will be held by the DNR to discuss conditions of the stock, the fishery, species biology, reproduction and migration. The meetings will begin at 7 p.m. at the following locations:

* Wednesday: Wicomico Public Library, Salisbury.

* Thursday: Queen Anne's Free Library, Centreville.

* June 26: Essex Community College, Essex.

* June 27: Department of Agriculture, Annapolis.

F: * June 28: Charles County Government Center, La Plata.

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