Opening-day turkey hunters kill nearly 3,000 birds
Columbus — Ohio’s turkey hunters scored about 10 percent fewer birds than did the Class of 2018 opening-day hunters.
Preliminary figures show that for the 83 counties where spring turkey hunting was legal for the April 22 opener, 2,965 bearded birds were shot, a drop from the 3,316 birds taken on the 2018 spring turkey hunting opener.
The five extreme northeastern Ohio counties of Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, and Trumbull will see their season start April 29 in a delayed program that takes into account this Snow Belt region’s typically later turkey-breeding period.
It is expected that Ohio turkey hunters will struggle to achieve last year’s total season kill of 22,571 birds, but they may come close to the 2017 figure of 21,042. The anticipated drop will likely be a result of the state’s turkey production index – which is the biological yardstick used to measure the ratio of poults (young turkeys) to hens and has been poor in recent years.
The past two years, the index has been 2.0 poults per hen observed – any figure below 2.2 demonstrates lost ground.
Ohio’s spring wild turkey season is divided into two zones: a south zone, which is open from Monday, April 22 to Sunday, May 19; and a northeast zone, which is open from Monday, April 29 to Sunday, May 26.
Hunters are required to have a hunting license and a spring turkey hunting permit. The spring season bag limit is two bearded turkeys. Hunters can harvest one bearded turkey per day, and a second spring turkey permit can be purchased at any time throughout the spring turkey season. Turkeys must be checked by 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest.
Hunting hours from April 22-28 in the south zone and April 29-May 5 in the northeast zone are 30 minutes before sunrise until noon. Hunting hours from April 29-May 19 in the south zone and May 6-26 in the northeast zone are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.