Hunters checked 17,647 wild turkeys during Ohio’s four-week statewide spring turkey hunting season that ended May 20, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The preliminary total represents a three percent decrease over last year’s harvest number of 18,162.
Ashtabula County again led the state in the number of turkeys killed with 762. Counties with additional high harvest numbers were: Ashtabula-762, Tuscarawas-531, Guernsey-495, Coshocton-492, Muskingum-486, Belmont-456, Knox-451, Harrison-450, Trumbull-428 and Adams-420.
The Division of Wildlife estimates that more than 70,000 people hunted turkeys during the season. Prior to the start of the spring hunting season, state wildlife biologists estimated the wild turkey population in Ohio to be more than 180,000 birds.
Wild turkeys were nearly eliminated in Ohio before being reintroduced in the mid-1950s by the Division of Wildlife. The first spring turkey hunting season opened in 1966. Wild turkeys are now present in all 88 counties.
Turkey hunters are reminded that hunting licenses purchased now are also valid during the 2012 fall hunting season. Spring turkey permits are good for spring season only. Those participating in the fall turkey season will need to buy a fall turkey permit. The 2012-2013 licenses will not be printed on weatherproof paper. Sportsmen and women should protect their licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.