Wild turkey season still going strong


Ohio’s wild turkey hunters have checked a total of 12,755 birds through Sunday, May 7 during the 2023 spring hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

Last year, hunters harvested 9,353 turkeys over the same time period in the 2022 spring turkey season. The three-year average for wild turkeys checked through this point in the season (2020 to 2022) is 11,784 birds. This year’s total statewide total represents 16 days of hunting since the south zone opened on April 22, nine days of hunting in the northeast zone (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull counties) since April 29, and the 1,823 turkeys harvested over the two-day youth hunting weekend April 15-16.

The Division of Wildlife has issued 48,231 spring turkey permits that are valid throughout the spring hunting season. Hunting in the state’s northeast zone is open until Sunday, May 28. The season in the rest of the state will remain open until Sunday, May 21. Statewide, turkey hunting is now permitted from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. The season bag limit is one bearded turkey.

Hunters are required to have a valid hunting license in addition to a spring turkey permit, unless exempted. Successful hunters are required to game-check their turkey no later than 11:30 p.m. on the day of harvest. Game check, licenses, and permits are available on the HuntFish OH app, via the Ohio Wildlife Licensing System, or at a participating license agent. Game check can also be done by phone at 1-877-TAG-IT-OHIO (877-824-4864). Find more information about Ohio’s wild turkey hunting at wildohio.gov.

• Boating brings big business to Ohio. A new study shows the state’s boating industry produced an economic impact of $6.4 billion in 2022. According to the study, published by the ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft, the boating industry also accounted for 45,856 jobs.

The study was conducted through a survey of nearly 10,000 boating households and over 200 marine trade businesses. Other boating habits revealed through the survey: In 2022, people spent 315 million hours boating in Ohio; Fishing accounts for 33.6% of all boating time; Women are the primary boat operators of 24.3% of all non-motorized boats and 5.4% of all motorized boats.

Economic impact is measured by calculating direct, indirect, and induced effects of spending on boating-related products and activities. Contributions from both recreational boating and the marine trades were calculated in this study. Recreational boating contributed $3.66 billion and 25,476 jobs, while $2.75 billion and 20,380 jobs are attributed to the marine trades industry.

• The ODNR Division of Wildlife held a grand re-opening ceremony for Magee Marsh Visitor Center and a celebration of the Governor’s Bird Ohio Day on Thursday, May 4.

A unique blend of wetlands, lake, and forested beach ridge habitat at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area is a tremendous asset to wildlife. Birding is a top attraction at Magee, but the area is also excellent for hunting, fishing, trapping, and many other outdoor activities.

Interior updates include accessible bathrooms and improved energy efficiency, and the renovated exterior has bird-friendly glass, all new upper and lower decks, and an accessible walkway around the building for wildlife viewing. To commemorate the visit, a renovated gift shop with improved customer service space is operated by the Friends of Magee Marsh.

In the building’s lobby, visitors are greeted by a 20-foot-tall tree displaying a rookery of herons, egrets, and cormorants. The back of the building contains impressive habitat displays focusing on birds and migration. Visitors will also find male and female replicas of the 36 warbler species typically found in Ohio. A stairway and chairlift provide access to the second floor, which has detailed displays focusing on the history of Magee Marsh, duck hunting, decoy carving, and conservation programs.

In the late 1800s, waterfowl hunting clubs and duck hunters preserved this important habitat. The Magee family purchased 2,700 acres of wetlands in 1903, and after a failed attempt to use the land for agriculture the family spent more than three decades maintaining the marsh.

In 1951, the Division of Wildlife purchased 1,800 acres of the land to be conserved in perpetuity. Now, Magee Marsh Wildlife Area comprises 2,202 acres of prime habitat. In 1970, the Sportsmen’s Migratory Bird Center first welcomed visitors to celebrate the connection between wetlands and migratory birds.

The $4 million project was funded in part by Governor Mike DeWine and the General Assembly with capital bond dollars. Additional monies were obtained through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, and license sales paid by hunters.

The Magee Marsh Visitor Center will welcome guests daily from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. during the Biggest Week in American Birding, which runs May 5 through May 14 in northwest Ohio. Division of Wildlife staff will be available to answer questions and provide information. The center is located at 13229 W. State Route 2, Oak Harbor, OH 43449.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.

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