Hunters took 12,579 turkeys, an increase of more than 11 percent over the 2008 and the single highest harvest on record, according to statistics released by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
Seventy-eight percent of the turkeys killed were adult gobblers, and 93.5 percent were killed on private lands.
Halifax and Northampton County ranked 1-2 in total harvest – swapping places from 2008 and mirroring their order as the top counties in total deer harvest over the past decade. Hunters took 426 turkeys in Halifax County and 418 in Northampton.
Three northern Piedmont counties rounded out the top five, all with harvests of better than 300 birds: Rockingham with 385, Stokes with 329 and Caswell with 325. Wilkes County in the northwestern mountains was sixth with 321, followed by Rowan County with 279, Rutherford County with 277, Bladen County with 269 and Bertie County with 266.
Three more counties had harvests in excess of 225 birds, with four more topping the 200 mark. With all 100 counties in North Carolina open for the spring season, 51 had harvests of at least 100 birds.
District 7, the northwestern corner of the state, had the highest harvest among the nine wildlife districts with more than 1,800 turkeys, led by Stokes, Wilkes, Alleghany, Ashe, Yadkin and Surry counties all over the 150 mark. District 5, which encompasses the northern piedmont and Roanoke River counties, was second in total harvest with better than 1,700 turkeys.