CUMBERLAND — Maryland’s fall turkey hunters had one day of good weather — opening day — before Hurricane Sandy all but shut the season down.
The autumn hunt takes place only in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties where hunters are allowed to take one turkey with no gender restriction.
Garrett County was particularly hard hit by the weather event. Heavy snows and strong winds knocked out power and downed trees throughout the high country.
Garrett County hunters bagged 40 turkeys this year, compared to 64 during the 2011 hunt. In Allegany County, 50 birds were checked in. That’s 31 percent below the 2011 take of 72. Washington County gave up 21 birds this season whereas 31 were killed a year ago.
The total harvest of 111 turkeys is down 34 percent from the previous year.
“I am confident that weather was to blame for the decrease,” said Bob Long, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ wild turkey manager. “The first Saturday kill was 63 percent higher than last year, but then quickly dropped off when the storm hit.”