For the opening day of Ohio’s 2013 spring wild turkey season, hunters harvested 2,762 wild turkeys, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The 2013 opening day total is a 24 percent increase from the 2012 opening day tally when 2,227 turkeys were killed.

This year, Ashtabula County had the most checked wild turkeys of the opening day with 114 turkeys. Ashtabula County also had the largest number of turkeys harvested during the 2012 opening day.

Ohio’s spring turkey season began Monday, April 22, and closes Sunday, May 19. The spring turkey season is open statewide except for Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in Williams County. Find more information in the 2012-2013 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations, available where licenses are sold, and at wildohio.com.

The ODNR 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 22 to May 5. Hunting hours May 6-19 will be one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Ohio’s wild turkey population was estimated at 180,000 prior to the start of the spring season.

Only bearded wild turkeys may be killed during the spring hunting season. A hunter is required to check their turkey by 11:30 p.m. on the day of harvest. Hunters with the proper permits may kill a limit of two bearded gobblers during the four-week season, but not more than one wild turkey per day.

A new tagging procedure implemented this year allows hunters to make their own game tag to attach to a wild turkey. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter’s name, date, time and county of the kill. Go to the Turkey Hunting Resources page at wildohio.com for more information on changes to the game check process.

All hunters must report their turkey harvest using the automated game-check system. Hunters have three options to complete the game-check:

Game-check transactions are available online and by telephone seven days a week, including  holidays. Landowners exempt from purchasing a turkey permit, and other people not required to purchase a turkey permit, cannot use the phone-in option.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife will update the total turkey harvest numbers on Monday, April 29, Monday, May 13, and Monday, May 20, at wildohio.com. The turkey harvest numbers will be listed by county as well as statewide.

Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The total number of checked turkeys topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Turkey hunting opened statewide in 2000.

Watch Governor John Kasich and ODNR Director James Zehringer share a message to hunters for the start of wild turkey season here: http://bit.ly/WildTurkeyHuntingWelcome.

Logo courtesy Ohio Department of Natural Resources

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