7,081 turkeys were harvested in the 2022 spring season, the highest number recorded since spring turkey hunting began in Maine in 1986. Maine Inland Wildlife and Fisheries via Facebook

A record number of wild turkeys were taken during last spring’s hunting season, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

A total of 7,081 turkeys were harvested statewide – 5,891 turkeys were harvested in 2021, and 6,216 in 2020, IFW said. About 25% of permitted hunters were successful. Maine’s fall turkey harvest numbers were not yet available.

Hunting districts in southern Maine showed the biggest totals, with 719 and 720 turkeys taken in each of three southern districts in York and Cumberland counties, according to state data.

Wild turkeys are among the largest game bird, with males often growing to 20 pounds. Footprints of male turkeys can exceed six inches.

While native to Maine, turkeys were wiped out in the late 1800s because of hunting and other human activity. They were reintroduced by state biologists in 1978 and have flourished.

Estimates of Maine’s turkey population put the total at 60,000 to 70,000, with most in York and Cumberland counties.

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