Ohio hunters harvested a preliminary total of 8,898 bearded wild turkeys during the first week of the spring turkey-hunting season, which is open statewide through May 20, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Last year hunters checked 7,744 wild turkeys during the first week of the season.
Top counties for wild turkeys killed last week were: Ashtabula-315, Guernsey-276, Tuscarawas-269, Coshocton-266, Muskingum-265, Belmont-262, Meigs-223, Knox-221, Harrison-220 and Adams-213.
The Division of Wildlife estimates that more than 70,000 people will hunt turkeys during the four-week season. Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon from April 23 to May 6. Hunting hours from May 7-20 will be a half hour before sunrise to sunset. Ohio’s wild turkey population was estimated at 180,000 prior to the start of the spring season.
A special youth-only hunt for hunters age 17 and younger was held statewide on April 21-22. Young hunters killed an additional 1,632 birds statewide.
Only bearded wild turkeys may be taken during the spring hunting season. A hunter is required to check in their turkey by 11:30 p.m. on the day of harvest. Hunters with the proper permits may take a limit of two bearded gobblers during the four-week season, but not more than one wild turkey per day.
Hunters must report their turkey harvest, but they are no longer required to take their turkey to a check station for physical inspection. Instead, hunters have three options to complete the new automated game check: online at wildohio.com or ohiogamecheck.com; by telephone at 877-TAG-ITOH (877-824-4864). This option is only available to those who are required to have a turkey permit to hunt turkeys; and at all license agents. A list of these agents can be found at wildohio.com.
Game-check transactions will be available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. License agents’ locations will be available for turkey check-in during normal business hours. Call the license agent for specific hours of operation. All turkeys must be checked in by 11:30 p.m. the day of kill.