Ohio Turkey Hunters Top 18,500 for Second Year

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Hunters checked 18,936 wild turkeys during Ohio's four-week, statewide spring turkey-hunting season that ended May 17, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

The preliminary total represents a 2 percent increase over last year's preliminary harvest number of 18,556.

Ashtabula County again led the state in the number of turkeys killed with 831. Counties with additional high harvest numbers were: Ashtabula-831, Harrison-631, Tuscarawas-609, Clermont-580, Trumbull-568, Guernsey-560, Highland-517, Washington-485, Jackson-475, and Coshocton-454.

In addition to the turkeys taken during the regular season, young hunters harvested another 1,814 birds during a special hunt for ages 17 and younger held April 18-19.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife estimates that more than 75,000 people hunted turkeys during the season. Prior to the start of the spring hunting season, state wildlife biologists estimated the wild turkey population in Ohio to be more than 200,000 birds.

This was the tenth spring that turkey hunting was open in every Ohio county. Only 57 of the state's 88 counties were open to spring turkey hunting in 1999.

Wild turkeys were nearly extinct in Ohio before being reintroduced in the mid-1950s by the Division of Wildlife. The first spring turkey-hunting season opened in 1966. Wild turkeys are now present in all 88 counties.

Turkey hunters are reminded that licenses purchased now are also valid during the 2009 fall hunting season. Spring turkey permits are good for spring season only. Those participating in the fall turkey season will need to buy a fall turkey permit. The 2009-2010 licenses will not be printed on weatherproof paper. Sportsmen and women should protect their licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.