Youth hunters harvest over 1,100 turkeys during special weekend

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s youth wild turkey hunters braved blustery spring weather with rain and snow showers to check 1,103 birds during the special hunting weekend on April 9-10, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The three-year average for turkeys taken during the two-day youth season is 1,545. In 2021, youth hunters harvested 1,473 turkeys.

The two-day season was open to hunters 17 years old and younger, and participants were required to be accompanied by a nonhunting adult. As of April 10, the Division of Wildlife has issued 5,707 youth wild turkey permits, which can be used for the remainder of the 2022 spring hunting season. The 2022 spring season limit is one bearded turkey for all hunters.

The top 10 counties for wild turkey harvest during the 2022 youth season include Monroe (41), Coshocton (38), Jefferson (34), Harrison (32), Tuscarawas (32), Muskingum (32), Noble (31), Columbiana (31), Gallia (28), Guernsey (28).

Locally, 14 turkeys were harvested in Fulton County and four in Lucas County.

Ohio offers many more opportunities for hunters of all ages to pursue wild turkeys. The state has two zones for spring wild turkey hunting following the youth season: the south zone and the northeast zone. The 2022 season dates for the south zone are from Saturday, April 23 to Sunday, May 22. The northeast zone is open from Saturday, April 30 to Sunday, May 29. Hunters are required to have a hunting license in addition to a spring permit. Find complete details in the 2021-22 Ohio hunting and trapping regulations booklet.

In 2021, the top five counties for total spring turkey harvest were Columbiana (454), Belmont (444), Meigs (437), Tuscarawas (417), and Jefferson (408). More information about previous turkey seasons can be found in the 2021 spring wild turkey report.

A turkey is required to be checked no later than 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest using the HuntFish OH mobile app, the automated game-check system, by phone at 877-TAG-IT-OH (877-824-4864), or at a participating license agent.

In the fall of 2021, the Ohio Wildlife Council approved a reduction to the spring wild turkey season limit from two bearded birds to one. Wild turkey numbers have slowly declined in many areas around the state following several years of below-average reproductive success. The statewide wild turkey reproductive index recorded a positive turn in summer 2021 was 3.1 poults per hen, which is above the 10-year average of 2.7 poults per hen.