OLUMBUS, OH – Spring wild turkey hunting opens in all 88 Ohio counties on Monday, April 18, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The season continues through Sunday, May 15.
“Hunters may see three-year-old gobblers this spring based on the strength of the 2008 hatch,” said ODNR Wildlife Biologist Mike Reynolds. “Overall, turkey numbers should be good across the state, but the harvest will likely not top last year’s kill — the second highest all-time.”
Hunters harvested 23,421 wild turkeys during last year’s youth and spring turkey seasons. Reynolds added that Ohio’s current wild turkey population is around 200,000. He anticipates as many as 70,000 licensed hunters, not counting private landowners hunting on their own property, will enjoy Ohio’s popular spring wild turkey season.
A special youth-only turkey hunt for those possessing a valid youth hunting license and youth turkey permit will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17. Young hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 18 years of age or older. The young hunter’s turkey season is open statewide with the exception of Lake La Su An State Wildlife Area in Williams County which requires a special hunting permit. Legal hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to sunset each day during the two-day youth season.
All hunters must still report their harvest of turkeys, but they are no longer required to take their turkey to a check station for physical inspection. Hunters will have three options to complete the automated game check:
• On the Internet at www.wildohio.com or www.ohiogamecheck.com
• By telephone at 1-877-TAG-ITOH(1-877-824-4864). This option is only available to those who are required to purchase a turkey
permit to hunt turkeys.
• At all license agents
Game-check transactions will be available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. Landowner hunters who are not required to purchase a spring turkey permit must use the Internet or any license agent to check their turkey. Hunters who tag their turkey as a landowner harvest cannot use the phone-in method. All authorized license sales agents will also check in your game. A list of these agents can be found at www.ohiodnr.com/wildlife/dow/regulations/vendor.aspx.
Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon from April 18 to May 1, 2011. Hunting hours from May 2-15 will be a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. Hunters are required to have a hunting license and a spring turkey-hunting permit and can take one bearded turkey per day. A second spring turkey permit can be purchased allowing hunters to take a limit of two bearded wild turkeys.
Shotguns using shot, longbows, and crossbows may be used to hunt wild turkeys. It is unlawful to hunt turkeys over bait, to use a live decoy or electronic calling device, or to shoot a wild turkey while it is in a tree.
The Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving or moving through hunting areas in order to remain visible to others.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at ohiodnr.com.