Ohio's Spring Turkey Hunting Season Underway

Ohio hunters harvested a preliminary total of 2,874 bearded wild turkeys on the first day of the spring turkey-hunting season, which is open statewide through May 16. Last year's opening day harvest number was 1,712 turkeys, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

Top counties for wild turkeys killed were: Ashtabula-115, Guernsey and Meigs-94, Tuscarawas-93, Gallia-86, Harrison-83, Coshocton-82, Clermont-81, Adams-77, and Jackson-74.

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 19 to May 2 2010. New this year, hunting hours May 3-16 will be a half hour before sunrise to sunset. Ohio's wild turkey population was estimated at 200,000 prior to the start of the spring season.

A special youth-only hunt for hunters age 17 and younger was held statewide on Saturday and Sunday, April 17-18. Young hunters killed 2,184 birds statewide. Top reporting counties were: Ashtabula-72, Harrison-70, Washington-68, Clermont and Coshocton-67, Guernsey-63, Trumbull-62, Ashland-57, and Lawrence, Monroe, and Ross-56. Last year, 1,814 birds were taken over the same two-day period.

Only bearded wild turkeys may be taken during the spring hunting season. A hunter is required to take a harvested turkey to an official check station for permanent tagging by 2 p.m. on the day of harvest from April 19 through May 2. From May 3 through May 16 the bird must be checked in any county by 2 p.m. the day following 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.

Turkey hunters are reminded that hunting licenses purchased now are also valid during the 2010 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 2010-2011 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.

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