OHIO VALLEY — Ohio Department of Wildlife has released harvest numbers for wild turkeys in the opening week of the spring season. The season opened April 23 in the southern region encompassing Gallia and surrounding counties.
In the southern zone 10,415 wild turkeys were harvested from April 23 through 30, up from 10,293 in the first week of spring turkey season of 2017. The state is split into two zones for wild turkey hunting.
Gallia County saw 216 turkeys harvested, down from 271 the previous year. Of neighboring counties, Gallia harvested more turkeys than Lawrence at 127. Vinton, Jackson, and Meigs all harvested more than Gallia at 237, 251, and 379 respectively. Meigs County increased their harvest count from 311 the previous year.
By county, Guernsey harvested the most turkeys in the opening week at 423, from from 322 the previous year. Meigs was sixth in harvests, with Gallia at twentieth.
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 in the south zone are 30 minutes before sunrise until noon from April 23-May 6 and 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset from May 7-20. Hunting hours in the northeast zone are 30 minutes before sunrise until noon from April 30-May 13 and 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset from May 14-27.
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.
Wild turkeys were extirpated in Ohio by 1904 and were reintroduced in the 1950s by the ODNR 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.