Ohio hunters checked a total of 19,088 wild turkeys during the 2019 spring wild turkey hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. In 2018, hunters checked a total of 22,635 wild turkeys.
Hunters reported 17,770 birds during the 2019 wild turkey south zone and northeast zone hunting seasons compared to 20,775 birds in 2018. Youth hunters took 1,318 birds during the 2019 youth season compared to 1,860 in 2018. Locally, Morrow, Knox, and Richland counties harvest rates were down as well from last year.
Ohio’s 2019 spring wild turkey season was open from Monday, April 22, to Sunday, May 19, in the south zone and from Monday, April 29 to Sunday, May 26 in the northeast zone. Youth season was April 13-14. Hunters can view the 2019 spring turkey season zone map and harvest regulations at wildohio.gov.
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. Ohio’s record spring turkey harvest was reported in 2001, when 26,156 wild turkeys were checked.
• Approximately 70 different black bears are reported annually in the Buckeye State according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Sightings of black bears rise in the summer months due to young males looking for their own territory.
Every year, some of these bears are associated with conflict situations. The most common problem in northeast Ohio is damage to bird feeders; therefore, it is important to remove all bird feeders and stop feeding birds between Memorial Day and Labor Day., Removing uneaten pet food, keeping trash inside until pick up day, and cleaning up after grilling are strongly recommended actions to prevent bears from frequenting an area and becoming conflict animals. Taking such steps helps prevent bears from associating food with the presence of people and allows bears to move on to avoid future problems.
If a bear is sighted, individuals should report the sighting at wildohio.gov, but the bear should be left alone and given space. The black bear is listed as an endangered species in Ohio and is protected by state law. Read more about what to do if you encounter a black bear in Ohio at wildohio.gov.
Efforts to monitor black bears in Ohio are supported by the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund, which receives donations through the sale of Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamps, the state income tax checkoff program, and the purchase of cardinal license plates.
• Fishing at Lake Erie continues to get hotter if that is possible. Both the western and central basin are on fire right now with fast limits being caught. Trolling, drifting, and casting are all working. Locally, the bass spawn is coming to an end and most have moved into their post spawn behavior. Quick action can be had as the spawners try to regain their body weight after the breeding season. Meanwhile, the bluegill spawn is currently on and some easy catches of these delicious pan fryers can be had if you concentrate on their spawning areas. Get out and enjoy the late spring weather.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.