Spring turkey harvest could reach 20,000

Ashley, Ohio — Spring is here and now is the perfect time to prepare for Ohio’s wild turkey hunting season.

“It’s looking like this year will be pretty good numbers-wise,” said Ken Duren, a wildlife research biologist with the DNR Division of Wildlife. “The last two years we’ve had a good hatch and usually two years after a hatch we’ll have a bunch of two-year-old toms running around and that makes for some of the best hunting.”

Ohio’s 2014 spring wild turkey season opens Monday, April 21, and the youth season is Saturday and Sunday, April 19-20.

In 2012, there was an above-average hatch, Duren said, and 2013 was also above average.

“We should have a decent number of two-year-old toms and jakes running around in the woods,” Duren said. “Next spring should be pretty good as well.”

A valid 2014 Ohio hunting license and spring wild turkey permit are required to hunt wild turkeys in Ohio. You can purchase your license at ohiogamecheck.com or from a participating license agent. 

Many wild turkeys are gobbling and strutting now. Your hunt may be more successful if you find wild turkeys and observe their movement patterns before the season starts.

According to estimates from last year’s hunt, there are currently about 180,000 wild turkeys in Ohio, Duren said.

Last year’s spring kill equaled 18,391 wild turkeys. Typically, up to 20,000 turkeys will be killed in the spring, by far the most popular of the two hunting seasons in Ohio for turkeys.

Pull those hunting clothes, boots, decoys, and calls out of storage and make sure they are ready for the season.

Pattern your shotgun and practice estimating distances. This will help you feel confident that a wild turkey is in range when you pull the trigger.

Study Ohio’s wild turkey hunting regulations. Make sure to get written permission from landowners if you plan to hunt on private property, know legal hunting hours, and know how to properly check a harvested wild turkey.

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