Wild turkey season ready to start

Water and Wings by Ken Parrott

Ohio’s hunters have the opportunity to pursue wild turkeys during a seven-week season from Saturday, Oct. 10 through Sunday, Nov. 29. Gobblers and hens are legal game during the fall wild turkey season. A complete report of the 2014 fall wild turkey season is available at wildohio.gov.

Fifty-six Ohio counties are open for fall turkey hunting. Only one turkey of either sex may be harvested during the entire fall season, and a valid hunting license and fall turkey hunting permit are required. Hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. Shotguns using shot, as well as crossbows and longbows, are permitted. Hunting turkeys over bait is prohibited, and turkeys must be checked by 11:30 p.m. on the day the bird is harvested.

A tagging procedure administered by the ODNR Division of Wildlife requires hunters to make their own game tag to attach to a turkey. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter’s name, date, time, and county of the kill. Go to the Turkey Hunting Resources page at wildohio.gov for more information on changes to the game check process.

All hunters must report their turkey harvest using the automated game-check system. Game-check transactions are available online and by phone seven days a week, including holidays. Hunters with a turkey permit have three options to complete the game check: online at ohiogamecheck.com; call 877-TAG-ITOH (824-4864); or visit a license agent. A list of agents can be found at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).

Landowners exempt from purchasing a turkey permit, and others not required to purchase a turkey permit, cannot use the 877-TAG-ITOH option. Landowners and others not required to obtain a permit have the following game-check options: online at ohiogamecheck.com; visit a license agent; or call 866-703-1928 for operator assisted landowner game-check (a convenience fee of $5.50 applies).

The ODNR Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving, or moving through hunting areas to remain visible to others. Additional details regarding fall wild turkey hunting can be found in the 2015-2016 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.gov.

• The youth waterfowl season was a success this past weekend. My youngest son learned a valuable lesson on how important weather is for a successful duck hunt. Saturday arrived with a nasty cold front accompanied with a stiff north wind. Luckily, the rainstorms from hurricane Joaquin broke to give Zane a three hour window to hunt. When the sun finally rose, the sky was filled with a good number of birds for this time of the year. There was definitely some early migration going on. It was certainly a ducky kind of day and we enjoyed visits by a pair of osprey and later a pair of immature eagles over our decoy spread.

The Sunday hunt was quite the opposite. With clear skies and warming temperatures, we didn’t see a tenth of the ducks we saw the day before. We just didn’t have the weather to move them around like we did the day before. However, the geese picked up where the ducks left off and provided several gunning opportunities.

Much of any hunting success relies greatly on the weather but that is especially true with duck hunting. Nothing beats a stiff north wind and stormy conditions to move the birds around.

• Ohio trappers are invited to participate in a special drawing Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 for public land beaver and river otter trapping opportunities. A list of public land trapping opportunities available at this lottery is posted at wildohio.gov under “Controlled Hunting and Trapping Events.”

Interested trappers will be required to come to one of the five wildlife district offices, except for the District Two drawing which will be held at the Mt. Blanchard Gun Club, 21655 Twp. Rd. 186, Forest, OH 45843. Registration begins at 11 a.m., with the drawing to begin at 12 p.m. There is no fee to apply. Successful applicants must be present when drawn to be eligible. Trappers must bring a valid 2015 hunting license and fur taker permit.

Questions can be directed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to the any Wildlife District Office: District One – (614) 644-3925; District Two – (419) 424-5000; District Three – (330) 644-2293; District Four – (740) 589-9930; and District Five – (937) 372-9261.

• In 2014, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was detected in captive white-tailed deer in Holmes County, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The ODNR Division of Wildlife is working to minimize the potential risk that CWD could spread to Ohio’s wild deer herd. The ODNR Division of Wildlife continues to seek the assistance of hunters in the collection of samples to submit for CWD testing. Tissue samples will be collected from hunter-harvested deer.

If you head to Holmes or Wayne county to hunt, adult deer in the following Holmes County townships are needed for testing: Berlin, Hardy, Killbuck, Mechanic, Monroe, Prairie, Ripley, and Salt Creek. Adult deer from Clinton and Franklin townships in Wayne County are also needed. Please report any ear-tagged deer in the wild to the Wildlife District Three office at (330) 644-2293.

Hunters can help my removing the head from the deer carcass. The cut should be made 5 inches below the ear. Whole carcasses are not accepted. Deer heads may be caped and skull-capped and then deliver the samples to specified drop-off locations in those counties. A full list of drop off locations can be found at ww.wildohio.gov.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!


Water and Wings by Ken Parrott