Ohio Spring Gobbler Season Opens April 23

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Spring wild turkey hunting opens in all 88 Ohio counties on Monday, April 23, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The season continues through Sunday, May 20.

"It should be a good year for turkey hunters and I estimate between 20,000 and 25,000 gobblers will be harvested this season," said ODNR wildlife biologist Dave Swanson.

Hunters harvested 20,023 wild turkeys during last year's spring season.

Swanson added that Ohio's current wild turkey population is around 200,000. He anticipates as many as 85,000 people, not counting private landowners hunting on their own property, will enjoy Ohio's increasingly popular spring wild turkey season.

A special youth-only turkey hunt for those age 17 and younger will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22. Young hunters must have their hunting licenses and spring wild turkey permits in order to participate and must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older. The young hunter's turkey season is open statewide with the exception of Lake LaSuAn State Wildlife Area in Williams County. Legal hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to sunset each day during the two-day youth season.

The wild turkey is Ohio's largest game bird. It stands 3 to 4 feet tall and may weigh up to 27 pounds. Legal hunting hours for the regular spring season are one-half hour before sunrise until noon. Hunters are required to have a hunting license and a spring turkey hunting permit and can take one wild turkey per day. A second spring turkey permit can be purchased, allowing hunters to take a limit of two bearded wild turkeys.

Shotguns using shot, longbows and crossbows may be used to hunt wild turkeys. It is unlawful to hunt turkeys over bait, to use a live decoy or electronic calling device, or to shoot a wild turkey while it is in a tree. A wild turkey must be properly tagged and taken to an official check station by 2 p.m. on the day it is harvested.

The Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving, or moving through hunting areas in order to remain visible to others. Additional turkey hunting information is available on the Internet at ohiodnr.com/wildlife.