Jonas Lichty writes: I just recieved the March/April issue of Turkey Country, the official publication of the National Wild Turkey Federation, that includes the 2011 forecast. Under the Maryland section, the staff bioligist mentions the Liberty Reservoir Watershed as a public land to check out. Are you familiar with the turkey population/distribution within the watershed? Are there any "hot spots" that you are aware of? I have hiked/biked the area since 1983 — I grew up in a house backing up to the watershed near the Baltimore and Carroll county line. I have only seen one hen along with several poults while walking my dogs on a fire trail several years ago.
Outdoors Girl was emailed a photo taken by a reader last fall up in the watershed that shows a nice grouping of turkeys crossing a fire road and has heard them while on her own photo expeditions, so she knows they're up there. But for an expert opinion, she turned to Bob Long, DNR's Upland Game Bird Project Leader, who replies: Both Liberty and Prettyboy Reservoir Cooperative Wildlife Management Areas have fair numbers of wild turkeys, but turkey populations are generally much lower in the central region than in other parts of the state. I think the writer of the article in Turkey Country magazine was trying to highlight some public areas in each region of the state and Liberty's inclusion on the list may be simply due to the size and location of the property. Turkey hunters I have talked to report very high hunting pressure on these areas, making the birds more skittish, less likely to gobble, and less visible. However some hunters are successful each year and two to four gobblers are reported taken annually. I am not familiar with specific spots that turkeys use, but they probably are most abundant in the areas with the least human activity. The best tactic for locating birds this time of year is to listen for gobbling at the crack of dawn from a good vantage point. Note that hunters are limited to only archery equipment. They should also be aware of the many other users of the area, particularly in the spring as the weather warms up.
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