Ohio hunters in the south zone checked 2,965 wild turkeys on the first day of the spring wild turkey hunting season, April 22. Hunters can view the 2019 spring turkey season zone map and harvest regulations at wildohio.gov.
On top of that, many young hunters found success during Ohio’s 2019 youth spring wild turkey season after 1,318 birds were harvested. Hunters age 17 and under were eligible to participate in the two-day season, April 13-14. In 2018, youth hunters checked 1,860 wild turkeys. All participants were required to possess a valid Ohio youth hunting license, a spring turkey permit and be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. The youth turkey season was open statewide, with the exception of Lake La Su An State Wildlife Area in Williams County, which required a special hunting permit.
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. In 2018 hunters in the south zone checked 3,316 wild turkeys on opening day.
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. 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 of Wildlife 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, except for Lake La Su An Wildlife Area, in 2000, and Ohio hunters checked more than 20,000 wild turkeys for the first time that year.
• Work has begun for the complete renovation of the Delaware Shooting Range and should be completed by the end of 2020, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Contractors have been doing site preparation so environmental remediation efforts can begin this spring.
The Division of Wildlife is working within the framework approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the property where the range is located. Once the environmental remediation work has been completed, the Division of Wildlife plans to begin upgrades to the range this summer.
The new multi-million-dollar range will include:
• Four clay-target hand trap fields
• 30 shooting positions at 100-yard range
• 24 positions at 25-yard range
• 36 positions at 50-foot pistol range
• 20 positions at the 90-meter archery range
• 14 position 3-D archery walkthrough course with elevated shooting positions
• New education and training center featuring an indoor archery range and classroom.
To help fill the shooting void that was created by the temporary closure of the Delaware Shooting Range, the Cardinal Shooting Center will honor the Division of Wildlife’s one-day and annual shooting range permits for one hour, Thursday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. until dusk.
A class “A” range requires a shooting range permit for all persons 18 years or older. Permits are available at all hunting and fishing license outlets and online at wildohio.gov.
Funding for these ranges comes from the sale of hunting licenses and through the Federal Wildlife Restoration Act. Excise taxes are collected from the sale of firearms and ammunitions and are returned to Ohio for wildlife management and shooting range projects.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.