Spring gobbler take approaches 19,000

Columbus

Ashtabula County once again tops all counties with 831 birds

Hunters checked 18,936 wild turkeys during Ohio’s four-week,
statewide spring turkey-hunting season that ended May 17, according
to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of
Wildlife.

The preliminary total represents a 2 percent increase over last
year’s preliminary harvest number of 18,556, officials said.

Ashtabula County again led the state in the number of gobblers
killed with 831. Ashtabula was followed by Harrison County, with
631; Tuscarawas County (609); Clermont County (580); Trumbull
County (568); Guernsey County (560); Highland County (517);
Washington County (485); Jackson County (475); and Coshocton County
(454).

In addition to the gobblers taken during the regular season,
young hunters harvested another 1,814 birds during a special youth
hunt for ages 17 and younger held April 18-19.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife estimates that more than 75,000
people hunted turkeys during the season. Prior to the start of the
spring hunting season, state wildlife biologists estimated the wild
turkey population in Ohio to be more than 200,000 birds.

It was the 10th spring in which turkey hunting was open in every
Ohio county. Only 57 of the state’s 88 counties were open to spring
turkey hunting in 1999.

Wild turkeys were nearly extinct in Ohio before being
reintroduced in the mid-1950s by the Division of Wildlife. The
first spring turkey-hunting season opened in 1966. Wild turkeys are
now present in all 88 counties.

Turkey hunters are reminded that licenses purchased now are also
valid during the 2009 fall 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.

“The 2009-10 licenses will not be printed on weatherproof paper.
Sportsmen and women should protect their licenses and permits from
the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or
wallet,”_ODNR officials said in a statement.

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