Ohio’s 2021 spring turkey hunting season concludes

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COLUMBUS — Ohio’s 2021 spring wild turkey hunting season ended 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 May 30 in the northeast zone, and May 23 in the south zone. In 2020, hunters harvested 17,894 wild turkeys during the spring hunting season.

The top 10 counties for wild turkey harvest during the 2021 spring hunting season include Columbiana, with 454, Belmont, with 444, Meigs, with 437, Tuscarawas, with 417, Jefferson, with 408, Monroe, with 408, Ashtabula, with 401, Washington, with 398, Guernsey, with 378, and Muskingum, with 373.

“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), representing 16% of the harvest, and 173 bearded female turkeys (hens).

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 opened statewide in 2000. The record Ohio wild turkey harvest was in 2001, when hunters checked 26,156 birds.

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