Ohio’s wild turkey seasons begin this month

COLUMBUS — One of the joys of an Ohio spring is hearing a wild turkey gobble. Beginning in April, hunters have the chance to experience this phenomenon up close when turkey hunting seasons open, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

Ohio’s 2022 youth wild turkey hunting season is this Saturday and Sunday. Following the youth season, Ohio is divided into two zones for the remainder of spring hunting: a south zone, which opens to hunters on Saturday, April 23, and a northeast zone, which opens to hunters on Saturday, April 30.

“The spring wild turkey hunting season is one of Ohio’s most exciting times to be afield, and we anticipate that 50,000 licensed hunters will participate this year,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “As a reminder, the 2022 spring season limit is one gobbler for all hunters.”

Ohio hunters harvested 14,546 wild turkeys during the 2021 spring season. Included in that total are the 1,463 turkeys checked during the two-day youth season. Eastern and southern counties typically record the highest number of harvested birds. The top 10 counties in 2021 were: Columbiana (454), Belmont (444), Meigs (437), Tuscarawas (417), Jefferson (408), Monroe (408), Ashtabula (401), Washington (398), Guernsey (378), and Muskingum (373).

The upcoming youth-only turkey season is for those with a valid youth hunting license and turkey permit. Youth hunters are required to be accompanied by a nonhunting adult, 18 years of age or older. Hunting hours during the two-day youth season are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

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 checked 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.

The 2022 spring wild turkey season ends on Sunday, May 22, in the south zone, and Sunday, May 29, in the northeast zone (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull counties). The spring and youth seasons are open statewide, except for Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in Williams County, which requires a special hunting permit.

The spring hunting season limit is one bearded wild turkey. A turkey is required to be checked no later than 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest using the automated game-check system, which is available at wildohio.gov, through the HuntFish OH app, by phone at 877-TAG-IT-OH (877-824-4864), or at a participating license agent.