For many hunters, spring brings the unmistakable sound of gobbling wild turkeys as Ohio’s annual hunt of this popular game bird begins, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The state is divided into two zones for the 2019 spring turkey hunting season: a south zone, which opens to hunters on Monday, April 22, and a northeast zone, which opens to hunters on Monday, April 29. Hunters can view the 2019 spring turkey season zone map at wildohio.gov.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife anticipates approximately 50,000 licensed hunters will enjoy Ohio’s popular spring wild turkey season before it ends on Sunday, May 19, in the south zone, and Sunday, May 26, in the northeast zone. The spring and youth turkey seasons are open statewide, except for Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in Williams County, which requires a special hunting permit.
All hunters are required to have a hunting license, in addition to a spring turkey hunting permit. 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. Hunting hours during the two-day youth season are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.
The spring season bag limit is two bearded wild 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 no later than 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest. All hunters must report their turkey harvest using the automated game-check system, which is available online, by phone or at a license agent. A complete list of participating license agents can be found at wildohio.gov. Visit the Turkey Hunting Resources page at wildohio.gov, or call 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) for more information about the game-check process.
Hunters may use shotguns or archery equipment to hunt wild turkeys. It is unlawful to hunt turkeys using bait, live decoys or electronic calling devices, or to shoot a wild turkey while it is in a tree. The division advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving or moving through hunting areas in order to remain visible to others.
Wild turkeys were extirpated in Ohio by 1904 and were reintroduced in the 1950s by the Division of Wildlife. Ohio’s first modern-day wild turkey season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The wild turkey harvest topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Spring turkey hunting opened statewide in 2000, and Ohio hunters checked more than 20,000 wild turkeys for the first time that year. Last year hunters checked a total of 22,571 wild turkeys during the 2018 spring turkey season.
• The ODNR Division of Wildlife today announced that May 4-5 will be Ohio’s free fishing weekend, when Ohio residents may fish for free in any of Ohio’s public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River. It is the only weekend all year when those 16 years old or older are not required to obtain a fishing license to fish in the state’s public waters.
The Division of Wildlife’s six fish hatcheries stocked more than 44 million sport fish in public waters in 2018, including walleye, saugeye, steelhead, rainbow trout, brown trout, muskellunge, channel catfish, blue catfish and hybrid striped bass, which will provide opportunities for the estimated 1.3 million Ohio anglers.
Ohio State Parks is also offering a camping discount during Ohio’s Free Fishing Days. Visitors can receive a 20 percent discount on campsites May 3-4 by using the promotion code 19ANGLER. Make a reservation by going to ohiostateparks.reserveamerica.com or calling 866-OHIOPARKS (866-644-6727).
The Free Fishing Days weekend offers Ohioans of all ages the chance to experience the fun of catching a fish. Here are some helpful tips for taking a youngster out fishing: Keep the trip simple by considering a child’s age and skill level. Choose a pond, lake or stream where children will be able to easily catch a few fish. Use live bait to increase the chance of catching a fish. Live bait is also more interesting for children. Bring a camera and snacks. Be patient – plan on spending time untangling lines, baiting hooks, landing fish and taking pictures.
Most of all, keep the trip fun.
Anglers 16 years and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs or turtles from Ohio waters when not fishing on Ohio’s free fishing weekend. Fishing licenses are available from participating agents and at wildohio.gov.
The sales of fishing licenses, along with the Sport Fish Restoration program, continue to fund the Division of Wildlife’s fish management operations. No state tax dollars are used for these activities. These are user-pay, user-benefit programs.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.