Ohio's wild turkey hunters checked 18,391 birds during the 2013 spring hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The state total is a 4 percent increase from 2012, when hunters harvested 17,646 birds. The 2013 harvest total is a combination of the youth turkey season and the spring turkey season, April 20-May 19. Ashtabula County again led the state in the number of wild turkeys killed during the four-week season with 766.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife estimates that more than 70,000 people hunted turkeys during the spring wild turkey season. Prior to the start of the spring hunting season, ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists estimated the wild turkey population in Ohio to be 180,000 birds.
Wild turkeys were nearly eliminated in Ohio before being reintroduced in the mid-1950s by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Ohio's first modern day wild turkey season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The total number of checked turkeys topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Spring turkey hunting opened statewide in 2000.
Hunting licenses purchased now are valid throughout the 2013-2014 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. Hunting licenses are no longer printed on weatherproof paper. Protect licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.
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.