Wild turkey numbers down from last year

Water and Wings by Ken Parrott

Hunters checked 17,891 wild turkeys during Ohio’s 2020 spring hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. In 2019, hunters harvested 19,168 wild turkeys during the same time.

The top 10 counties for wild turkey harvest during the 2020 spring hunting season include: Belmont (533), Monroe (532), Tuscarawas (528), Guernsey (508), Meigs (503), Muskingum (499), Washington (484), Harrison (458), Coshocton (450) and Ashtabula (449).

Young hunters harvested 1,843 wild turkeys during Ohio’s youth season on April 18-19. The youth season results are included in the final harvest tally.

The state has two zones for spring wild turkey hunting: the south zone and the northeast zone. The northeast zone includes Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull counties, while the south zone covers the rest of the state. South zone hunting ended May 17. Northeast zone hunting ended May 31.

The spring turkey season bag limit was two bearded wild turkeys. Hunters could harvest one bearded turkey per day. All hunters were required to check in their harvest using the game-check system. A turkey could be harvested with a shotgun or archery equipment.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife began an extensive program in the 1950s to reintroduce wild turkeys to the Buckeye State.

Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The total number of harvested turkeys topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Turkey hunting was opened statewide in 2000. The record Ohio wild turkey harvest was in 2001, when hunters checked 26,156 birds.

• Despite the constant struggle with strong cold northeast winds the last month and a half, June fishing remains hot. Lake Erie continues to be on fire as the walleye are hungry and plentiful. Many of the larger walleye are moving north and east from the western basin as the water continues to warm up. A lot of smaller walleye in the 8 to 12 inch class are now being caught which is a good sign that the walleye fishing should continue to remain good for the next several years. Trollers are still doing well with spoons and crankbaits and casters are still picking up limits with worm harnesses.

Locally, the spawn has ended for most species and many of the fish will begin their migration to deeper water for the summer. Deeper water with good vegetation is almost always a winning situation when searching for summer fish.

Remember that Knox Lake water levels have been dropped to accommodate the dam repair.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!


Water and Wings by Ken Parrott

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

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