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SPECIAL REPORT—James E. Cardoza of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife reports that the Bay State had a record spring turkey season in 2008.

“It was once again a record year,” Cardoza says, “which was a little surprising given the rather poor weather on opening day. However, despite the relatively high winter snowfall, the snow often melted so that turkeys periodically gained access to the ground, or it crusted so that they could walk on it. That probably contributed to good winter survival.”

The final turkey take was 2689 (2481 in 2007). Here are the numbers broken down by county: Barnstable, 16 (5 of 15 towns); Berkshire, 470 (32 of 32 towns); Bristol, 105 (16 of 20 towns); Dukes, 4 (2 of 7 towns); Essex, 104 (19 of 34 towns); Franklin, 420 (26 of 26 towns); Hampden, 173 (20 of 23 towns); Hampshire, 288 (20 of 20 towns); Middlesex, 176 (29 of 54 towns); Norfolk, 78 (15 of 28 towns); Plymouth, 190 (21 of 27 towns); and Worcester, 665 (55 of 60 towns).

And what about a week-to-week account? The first week accounted for the most when 1513 (56.3%) were taken, while 646 (24.0%) birds were killed the 2nd week, 290 (10.8%) the 3rd week, and 240 (8.9%) the 4th week. As sex goes (there I got your interest Strut Zoners!), 10 bearded hens, 1719 adult males (63.9%)(1627, 65.6% in 2007) and 960 jakes rounded out the numbers. Some other statistics from the Massachusetts 2008 spring turkey take include:

A record 15,661 turkey permits (plus 14 farmer-landowner) were issued (14,413 in 2007). Of these, 6264 (40.0%) were issued via MassOutdoors.

There were 449 persons who took their spring bag limit of 2 turkeys, and 168 turkeys killed by non-residents from 11 states (all but 8 from New England or New York; 72, 43%, from NH).

Some big birds were taken: 660 turkeys (24.5%) that weighed more than 20 lbs (638, 25.7% in 2007).

Bowhunters arrowed 92 bearded birds (a substantial record, 62 in 2007), with the rest coming by shotgun (muzzleloader totals are included with shotgun). —Steve Hickoff

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