Ohio’s 2021 spring wild turkey hunting season ended Sunday, May 30 with 14,541 birds taken, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. Ohio’s spring wild turkey hunting season concluded on Sunday, May 30 in the northeast zone, and Sunday, May 23 in the south zone. In 2020, hunters harvested 17,894 wild turkeys during the spring hunting season.
“Wild turkey populations appear to have declined in much of the eastern U.S., including Ohio,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “The Division of Wildlife, in consultation with the Ohio Wildlife Council, other state wildlife agencies, and our non-government wildlife partners will be examining if further conservation measures are needed to stabilize and improve Ohio’s wild turkey population.”
Youth hunters harvested 1,473 wild turkeys during Ohio’s youth season on April 17-18. The youth season results are included in the final tally.
Ohio 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. In the south zone, 13,510 turkeys were harvested, with 941 turkeys checked in the northeast zone.
Adult male turkeys (gobblers) made up 82% of the total 2021 harvest with 11,976 turkeys taken. Hunters checked 2,397 juvenile male turkeys (jakes) represented 16% of the harvest, and 173 bearded female turkeys (hens) were checked. The Division of Wildlife sold and distributed 61,135 wild turkey permits during the spring hunting season.
The 2021 spring turkey season limit was two bearded wild turkeys. Hunters could harvest one bearded turkey per day using a shotgun or archery equipment. All hunters were required to check in their harvest using the game-check system.
The 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.
• The free fishing weekend for Ohio residents is Saturday and Sunday, June 19-20th. Ohio residents may fish for free in any of Ohio’s public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River, during this weekend. It is the only weekend all year when those 16 years old and older are not required to obtain a fishing license to fish in the state’s public waters.
Ohio offers extraordinary fishing opportunities in its lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams. The Division of Wildlife’s six state fish hatcheries stocked 46 million sport fish in more than 200 locations in 2020, including walleye, saugeye, yellow perch, rainbow trout, brown trout, muskellunge, channel catfish, blue catfish, and hybrid striped bass. An estimated 1.3 million Ohioans fish in the Buckeye State every year.
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 during Ohio’s free fishing weekend. A fishing license is available from participating agents and at wildohio.gov. Remember to check the 2021 Ohio Fishing Regulations Guidebook if you plan to keep your catch.
Until next time, good hunting and good fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.