The 2011 spring turkey season was a success in Cecil County again this year, according to an official with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

"South of the canal ... that's where we're seeing the increase," said Bob Long, upland game bird biologist.

Hunters bagged 34 wild turkeys in Cecil County during the season, which ran from April 18 to May 23. Long said 16 of those were taken in the zone from the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal southward.

"Those are the places where we really seem to be doing very well," he said.

It's also the area where DNR boosted the turkey population more than five years ago by releasing birds that had been captured in southern Maryland and relocated to private land along the canal.

"It's somewhat of a success," he said Tuesday, adding that population numbers are up, but not as high as desired.

"We still have problems with wolves, foxes and feral cats," he said. The wild cats chase hens off the nest. "Then she often times won't return," Long said.

Long said eight turkeys were harvested in the hunting zone between the canal and Route 40. Another nine were taken north of the highway.

Hunters did get more time to find success thanks to a change in regulation this year. In the final two weeks of the season, hunters had the opportunity to bag a bird until sunset. Earlier in the season the hunt had to end at noon.

"It's what a lot of states do," Long said.

He hunted on the lower Eastern Shore and met the two-bird limit. Hunters are allowed to use a shotgun, vertical bow or crossbow.

Statewide numbers dropped from 2,847 harvested in 2010 compared to the 2011 count at 2,826.

Long said neighboring Kent and Queen Anne's counties had more success in the hunt, with 97 bagged in Kent and 114 in Queen Anne's.

The highest counts were in Western Maryland, led by Garrett County with 339.

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