Opening week turkey kill takes a small jump

Columbus — Ohio’s wild turkey hunters took full advantage of the opening week’s pleasant weather to ace an increase in the state’s wild turkey kill.

At least for the first week of the season’s four-week-long hunting period, anyway; and when 2015’s numbers are placed alongside those of 2016.

During opening week, Ohio’s turkey hunters registered 8,629 birds as being shot, or up from the 8,158 turkeys shot during the 2015 season’s first week.

Continuing with comparisons, the 2014 first-week spring wild turkey hunting-season kill figures show that 8,074 birds were shot.

In all for this year’s first-week spring season totals, 63 of Ohio’s 88 counties recorded gains, some significantly. Among them is the current leader – Ashtabula County – whose first week statistics show that 261 birds were taken, up from last year’s first-week kill of 195 birds.

Other noteworthy counties that posted increases included Clermont – 207 birds for this season’s first week and compared to last year’s first-week take of 160 birds. Another example is Muskingum County which saw this year’s first-week kill grow to 242 birds. That figure is up from last year’s first-week take of 217 birds for Muskingum County.

But this year’s first-week spring turkey season kill figures can be somewhat misleading. A number of the traditionally top spring turkey hunting counties demonstrated decided declines in 2015 when placed alongside those of 2014.  

Ashtabula County’s first-week turkey kill in 2014, for example, was 253 birds. Thus this year’s spring turkey kill in Ashtabula County of 261 birds actually more closely mirrors that of 2014 than it does that of 2015.

Another example of this recovery in the first week turkey kill numbers is Geauga County. This year 125 turkeys were registered as being taken there for the first week of the season. While that 125 number is up considerably from its 2015 match-up of 98 birds, it is really a near identical twin to its 2014 number of 123 birds.

Harrison County serves as another illustration to the paradox. Here and for the first week of this spring turkey-hunting season 212 birds were recorded as being killed; up from the 194 registered during the first week of the 2015 spring season. Even so, the 212 birds reflect almost perfectly the 2014 first-week turkey kill in Harrison County of 214 birds.

Even so, the bottom line when addressing county-by-county bird kill numbers – at least for the first week anyway –  points to a fine to-date spring wild-turkey-hunting season. In essence, the data strongly suggests there were more winners than there were losers.

Still, along with gains seen from 2015 to 2016 were some declines recorded in the spring season’s turkey kill numbers. Here, 23 counties displayed losses with the remainder of the counties registering respective identical first-week kills.

Among the noteworthy counties with declines were Coshocton (209 this seasons’ first week verses last season’s first-week kill of 229); Guernsey 216 for this season’s first week verses last season’s first-week kill of 242), and Vinton (141 for this season’s first-week kill verses last season’s first-week kill of 182).

With nearly three weeks remaining in Ohio’s four-week-long spring wild turkey-hunting season – it runs until May 15th – there is still plenty of time to fill a tag.

However, statistically about 46 percent of all spring turkeys are killed during the first week. Only about 18 percent of the season’s total number of birds taken is shot during the second week.

By the third week that number falls sharply to 14 percent of the total kill and to 13 percent for the final, forth, week. Youth hunters add another nine percent or so to the overall spring season total.

Last year Ohio issued nearly 66,000 spring wild turkey-hunting permits of all types: Adults, youths, non-residents, reduced rate senior citizens, and free senior citizens and handicapped.

Editor’s Note: A list of all wild turkeys checked by hunters during the first week of the 2016 spring turkey season is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2016, and the 2015 numbers are in parentheses. 

Adams: 220 (184); Allen: 37 (37); Ashland: 88 (92); Ashtabula: 261 (195); Athens: 168 (160); Auglaize: 22 (21); Belmont: 255 (246); Brown: 167 (162); Butler: 93 (76); Carroll: 169 (161); Champaign: 46 (56); Clark: 8 (13); Clermont: 207 (160); Clinton: 19 (23); Columbiana: 179 (179); Coshocton: 209 (229); Crawford: 45 (33); Cuyahoga: 4 (3); Darke: 17 (15); Defiance: 143 (123); Delaware: 47 (50); Erie: 28 (23); Fairfield: 50 (53); Fayette: 9 (7); Franklin: 10 (4); Fulton: 54 (63); Gallia: 212 (196); Geauga: 125 (98); Greene: 11 (12); Guernsey: 216 (242); Hamilton: 60 (43); Hancock: 25 (29); Hardin: 49 (46); Harrison: 212 (194); Henry: 31 (27); Highland: 163 (156); Hocking: 161 (116); Holmes: 111 (109); Huron: 54 (68); Jackson: 188 (172); Jefferson: 202 (182); Knox: 144 (166); Lake: 21 (24); Lawrence: 146 (111); Licking: 140 (189); Logan: 57 (52); Lorain: 58 (51); Lucas: 30 (20); Madison: 5 (2); Mahoning: 104 (85); Marion: 19 (18); Medina: 70 (58); Meigs: 229 (224); Mercer: 9 (7); Miami 9 (7); Monroe: 220 (234); Montgomery: 11 (10); Morgan: 172 (170); Morrow: 97 (81); Muskingum: 242 (217); Noble: 153 (163); Ottawa: 1 (0); Paulding: 58 (41); Perry: 121 (115); Pickaway: 13 (12); Pike: 132 (123); Portage: 95 (98); Preble: 55 (45); Putnam: 40 (39); Richland: 130 (133); Ross: 183 (153); Sandusky: 14 (7); Scioto: 129 (115); Seneca: 69 (78); Shelby: 22 (23); Stark: 120 (88); Summit: 26 (20); Trumbull: 204 (194); Tuscarawas: 208 (197); Union: 29 (19); Van Wert: 11 (10); Vinton: 141 (182); Warren: 55 (39); Washington: 222 (252); Wayne: 49 (45); Williams: 133 (128); Wood: 16 (6); Wyandot: 42 (49); Total: 8,629 (8,158)

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