April 14, 2024

Turkey Hunters Check 15,673 Birds During Ohio’s Spring Wild Turkey Season

Turkey Hunters Check 15,673 Birds During Ohio’s Spring Wild Turkey Season

 
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Wild turkey hunters in Ohio checked 15,673 birds during the spring season which concluded on Sunday, May 28, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The total statewide harvest represents all turkeys checked from April 22 to May 28, and includes the 1,823 turkeys taken during the two-day youth season April 15-16.
 
During the 2022 season, the total number of turkeys checked was 11,872. The three-year average (2020, 2021, and 2022) for the spring turkey season is 14,772.
 
Turkey hunters were required to record their harvest using Ohio’s game check system. The top 10 counties for wild turkey harvest in the 2023 season were Ashtabula (454), Gallia (428), Muskingum (420), Monroe (410), Tuscarawas (408), Belmont (398), Coshocton (382), Adams (378), Jefferson (374), and Washington (369).
 

 
 

Adult male turkeys made up 84% of the final count with 13,153 birds taken. Following an above-average brood production summer in 2021, biologists expected a high proportion of 2-year-old birds in the total harvest this spring. Hunters checked 2,354 juvenile male turkeys in 2023, representing 15% of birds taken. Turkey hunters also checked 166 bearded female turkeys (hens) during the 2023 season. The Division of Wildlife issued 50,174 spring turkey permits for use during the spring hunting season.
 
Ohio’s spring turkey season is split into two zones to align with the timing of turkey nesting in those regions. The northeast zone includes Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull counties. In 2023, 1,105 turkeys were checked in the northeast zone, while 14,568 birds were taken in the rest of the state.
 
Wild turkey harvests were higher in 2023 than last year, likely a result of two years of above-average summer brood production. Statewide, turkey populations are lower than they were in the early 2000s. The Division of Wildlife began an in-depth study of wild turkey nesting and movement in 2023 to better understand and manage the state’s changing turkey population. Several factors play a role in fluctuating turkey populations, including weather events, predation, disease, and reproductive success.
 
Each summer, the Division of Wildlife conducts a turkey brood survey to estimate population changes. The Division of Wildlife remains vigilant in monitoring Ohio’s wild turkeys. Young turkeys will be tracked closely in the coming years. The brood survey is largely based on public reports. The Division of Wildlife encourages people to submit observations of wild turkeys during July and August at wildohio.gov.
 
In 2023, the Division of Wildlife celebrates 150 years of professional fish and wildlife conservation since it was founded as the Ohio Fish Commission in 1873. Throughout the agency’s history it has remained committed to fish and wildlife research, restoration, conservation, and education.
 
The Division of Wildlife began an extensive program in the 1950s to restore wild turkeys to the Buckeye State after they were extirpated in the early 1900s. Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey hunting season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The total number of harvested turkeys topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Turkey hunting was opened statewide in 2000. The highest Ohio wild turkey harvest was in 2001, when hunters checked 26,156 birds.

Editor’s Note: A list of all wild turkeys checked by hunters in each county through Sunday, May 28, 2023, is shown below. Results from the state include 30 days of hunting in the south zone, 30 days in the northeast zone, and the two-day statewide youth season. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2023, and the three-year average (2020 to 2022) is in parentheses. Numbers below are raw data and are subject to change. 

Adams: 378 (352); Allen: 72 (67); Ashland: 180 (151); Ashtabula: 454 (399); Athens: 291 (312); Auglaize: 47 (36); Belmont: 398 (430); Brown: 292 (352); Butler: 238 (185); Carroll: 346 (307); Champaign: 94 (78); Clark: 26 (17); Clermont: 288 (274); Clinton: 59 (67); Columbiana: 361 (386); Coshocton: 382 (351); Crawford: 54 (50); Cuyahoga: 6 (8); Darke: 62 (58); Defiance: 197 (185); Delaware: 99 (96); Erie: 44 (37); Fairfield: 102 (93); Fayette: 11 (9); Franklin: 23 (16); Fulton: 127 (104); Gallia: 428 (346); Geauga: 240 (175); Greene: 27 (20); Guernsey: 363 (399); Hamilton: 127 (103); Hancock: 47 (36); Hardin: 110 (89); Harrison: 348 (369); Henry: 58 (46); Highland: 342 (327); Hocking: 248 (220); Holmes: 197 (195); Huron: 86 (89); Jackson: 268 (273); Jefferson: 374 (371); Knox: 245 (262); Lake: 65 (57); Lawrence: 233 (190); Licking: 293 (268); Logan: 141 (109); Lorain: 121 (112); Lucas: 50 (52); Madison: 9 (7); Mahoning: 194 (173); Marion: 35 (35); Medina: 91 (104); Meigs: 358 (402); Mercer: 28 (20); Miami: 32 (25); Monroe: 410 (406); Montgomery: 51 (23); Morgan: 257 (261); Morrow: 154 (123); Muskingum: 420 (390); Noble: 337 (332); Ottawa: 1 (1); Paulding: 75 (68); Perry: 291 (245); Pickaway: 30 (18); Pike: 241 (177); Portage: 212 (199); Preble: 154 (107); Putnam: 32 (43); Richland: 228 (201); Ross: 274 (273); Sandusky: 31 (22); Scioto: 251 (215); Seneca: 119 (110); Shelby: 42 (39); Stark: 249 (245); Summit: 50 (68); Trumbull: 340 (327); Tuscarawas: 408 (428); Union: 50 (45); Van Wert: 13 (17); Vinton: 240 (232); Warren: 82 (81); Washington: 369 (386); Wayne: 102 (108); Williams: 231 (183); Wood: 26 (25); Wyandot: 114 (80).

2023 Total: 15,673
3-Year Average Total: 14,772