Spring 2013 Turkey Hunting Forecast
A strong wild turkey hatch in 2012 may improve hunters’ chances for success when the 2013 Ohio spring hunting season opens Monday, April 22 and continues through Sunday, May 19, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The youth wild turkey season is open Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21.
“A warm spring led to a better hatch in 2012 and may help increase wild turkey numbers heading into the spring hunting season,” said ODNR Division of Wildlife biologist Mike Reynolds. “However, there will be a smaller than normal population of 2-year-old gobblers from record flooding and rainfall in 2011.”
The 2012 hatch should produce more jakes (1-year-old male turkeys) this year and will help offset the poor 2011 hatch. However, the woods may be quieter with fewer 2-year-old toms (male turkeys). These turkeys are generally the most vocal gobblers and readily located by hunters.
Hunters checked 17,657 wild turkeys during the 2012 youth and spring turkey seasons. The total checked was 18,162 wild turkeys in 2011. Ohio’s current wild turkey population is approximately 180,000.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife anticipates as many as 70,000 licensed hunters, not counting private landowners hunting on their own property, will enjoy Ohio's popular spring wild turkey season. The spring and youth turkey seasons are open statewide with the exception of Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in Williams County, which requires a special hunting permit.
New this year, hunters will need to make their own game tag to attach to the wild 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.com for more information on changes to the game check process.
Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon from April 22-May 5. Hunting hours from May 6-19 will be a half-hour before sunrise to sunset.
The youth-only turkey hunt is April 20-21 for those possessing a valid youth hunting license and youth turkey permit. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 18 years of age or older. Legal hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to sunset during the two-day youth season.
Ohio’s first modern day turkey season opened in 1966 with nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The total number of checked turkeys topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Turkey hunting was opened statewide in 2000.