Annual youth turkey hunt a success

Columbus — Many young hunters found success during Ohio’s 2017 youth spring wild turkey season after 1,895 birds were harvested, according to the Ohio DNR (ODNR).

Hunters age 17 and under were eligible to participate in the two-day season, April 22-23. The total harvest was an increase from 2016, when 1,564 wild turkeys were checked. All participants were required to possess a valid Ohio youth hunting license, a spring turkey permit and be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. The youth turkey season was open statewide, with the exception of Lake La Su An State Wildlife Area in Williams County, which required a special hunting permit.

I spoke with several veteran turkey hunters on Monday, April 24, who told me their nieces, nephews, kids, or grandkids all successfully killed a bird during the youth weekend.

Last year’s emergence of 17-year cicadas is likely fueling the early success, according to Division of Wildlife biologists.

The youth spring turkey season is one of four special youth-only hunting seasons designed by the ODNR Division of Wildlife to offer a safe and productive early hunting experience for young hunters. Special seasons are also set aside for upland game, white-tailed deer and waterfowl hunting opportunities.

New for the 2017 season, the state has been divided into two zones for spring turkey hunting: a south zone, which is open to hunters from Monday, April 24, through Sunday, May 21, and a northeast zone, which is open to hunters from Monday, May 1, to Sunday, May 28. The spring turkey season is open statewide except for Lake La Su An Wildlife Area. Hunters can view the 2017 spring turkey season zone map and harvest regulations at wildohio.gov.

Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey 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.

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