May 28, 2024

Ohio’s Wild Turkey Hunting Season Underway in 83 Counties


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio hunters checked 4,078 wild turkeys during the opening weekend of spring hunting season, April 22-23, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
 
In 2022, hunters checked 3,315 wild turkeys on the opening weekend. The average taken during the first two days of the previous three seasons is 3,590 birds.
 
The top 10 counties for wild turkey harvest reported during the opening weekend of the 2023 south zone: Adams (129), Muskingum (127), Belmont (117), Guernsey (115), Gallia (114), Harrison (114), Jefferson (111), Monroe (109), Tuscarawas (105), and Meigs (104).
 
The Division of Wildlife has issued 37,610 spring turkey permits that are valid throughout the spring hunting season. In addition to the opening weekend results, youth hunters checked 1,823 wild turkeys during Ohio’s youth season on April 15-16.
 
Wild turkey hunting in Ohio’s south zone is open until Sunday, May 21. Hunting hours are from 30 minutes before sunrise until noon through April 30. Beginning May 1, south zone hunters can hunt from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. The spring season begins in the northeast zone (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull counties) on Saturday, April 29. Check the 2022-23 Ohio hunting and trapping regulations for more information.
 
Each summer, the Division of Wildlife collects information on young wild turkeys, called poults. Brood surveys in 2021 and 2022 showed above average results that will benefit Ohio’s wild turkey population numbers this spring. The average poults per hen observed was 3.0 in 2022 and 3.1 in 2021, with a 10-year average of 2.7.
 
Ohio’s spring season limit is one bearded turkey. Hunters are required to have a valid hunting license in addition to a spring turkey permit, unless exempted. Successful hunters are required to game-check their turkey no later than 11:30 p.m. on the day of harvest. Game check, licenses, and permits are available on the HuntFish OH app, via the Ohio Wildlife Licensing System, or at a participating license agent. Game check can also be done by phone at 1-877-TAG-IT-OH (877-824-4864).
 
Wild turkeys were extirpated in Ohio by 1904 and were reintroduced in the 1950s by the Division of Wildlife. Ohio’s first modern-day turkey season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters took 12 birds. The turkey harvest topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Spring turkey hunting opened statewide in 2000, and Ohio hunters checked more than 20,000 turkeys for the first time that year. More information about previous turkey seasons can be found in the Spring Turkey Harvest Summary.
 
The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more. 
 
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov. 

Editor’s Note: A county list of all wild turkeys checked by hunters during the opening weekend of the 2023 south zone is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2023, and the three-year average from 2020 to 2022 is in parentheses. A three-year average provides a better overall comparison to this year’s numbers, eliminating year-to-year variation because of weather, misaligned season dates, and other unavoidable factors. Numbers below are raw data and are subject to change.
 
Adams: 129 (99); Allen: 23 (16); Ashland: 31 (38); Ashtabula: 0 (0); Athens: 80 (84); Auglaize: 13 (9); Belmont: 117 (118); Brown: 85 (97); Butler: 76 (52); Carroll: 101 (95); Champaign: 30 (21); Clark: 9 (4); Clermont: 83 (72); Clinton: 15 (19); Columbiana: 85 (105); Coshocton: 98 (87); Crawford: 12 (12); Cuyahoga: 0 (0); Darke: 16 (14); Defiance: 51 (39); Delaware: 22 (29); Erie: 13 (9); Fairfield: 31 (28); Fayette: 2 (2); Franklin: 6 (5); Fulton: 40 (26); Gallia: 114 (87); Geauga: 0 (0); Greene: 7 (7); Guernsey: 115 (120); Hamilton: 41 (29); Hancock: 10 (8); Hardin: 37 (21); Harrison: 114 (109); Henry: 18 (13); Highland: 86 (83); Hocking: 74 (62); Holmes: 47 (43); Huron: 24 (25); Jackson: 83 (76); Jefferson: 111 (99); Knox: 65 (65); Lake: 0 (0); Lawrence: 76 (50); Licking: 72 (74); Logan: 37 (30); Lorain: 27 (26); Lucas: 11 (12); Madison: 2 (2); Mahoning: 58 (47); Marion: 13 (10); Medina: 31 (22); Meigs: 104 (107); Mercer: 9 (5); Miami: 7 (8); Monroe: 109 (97); Montgomery: 16 (6); Morgan: 67 (70); Morrow: 51 (33); Muskingum: 127 (95); Noble: 72 (81); Ottawa: 0 (0); Paulding: 19 (14); Perry: 98 (58); Pickaway: 7 (4); Pike: 67 (45); Portage: 39 (44); Preble: 50 (34); Putnam: 7 (10); Richland: 59 (44); Ross: 84 (76); Sandusky: 9 (7); Scioto: 82 (54); Seneca: 33 (26); Shelby: 14 (13); Stark: 69 (60); Summit: 11 (17); Trumbull: 0 (0); Tuscarawas: 105 (105); Union: 13 (11); Van Wert: 5 (5); Vinton: 64 (58); Warren: 29 (23); Washington: 95 (87); Wayne: 19 (28); Williams: 59 (46); Wood: 10 (4); Wyandot: 28 (15).
 
2023 Total: 4,078
3-Year Average Total: 3,590