Turkey season about ready to start


Ohio’s 2021 turkey season is almost here. The youth turkey hunting season is April 17 and 18. Following the youth season, Ohio is divided into two zones for the remainder of spring hunting: a south zone, which opens to hunters on Saturday, April 24, and a northeast zone, which opens to hunters on Saturday, May 1.

The Division of Wildlife anticipates approximately 50,000 licensed hunters will enjoy Ohio’s spring wild turkey season before it ends on Sunday, May 23, in the south zone, and Sunday, May 30, in the northeast zone. The spring and youth seasons are open statewide, except for Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in Williams County, which requires a special hunting permit.

Hunters are required to have a hunting license in addition to a spring wild turkey permit. Hunters can view the 2021 spring season zone map in the 2020-2021 Hunting Regulations Digest.

The spring hunting season limit is two bearded wild turkeys. Hunters can harvest one bearded turkey per day, and a second permit can be purchased at any time throughout the spring season. A turkey is required to be checked no later than 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest using the automated game-check system, which is available online, by phone at 877-TAG-IT-OH (877-824-4864), or at a participating license agent.

Game check is also available through the free HuntFish OH mobile app, which provides convenient resources while out in the field. HuntFish OH is available for Android and iOS users through the app store. Wild turkey hunters can use the app to check a harvest, even without a connection. When a hunter checks game without a clear signal, information is recorded and stored until the hunter moves to a location with better reception. Users can also purchase licenses and permits and view wildlife area maps through the app.

The youth-only wild turkey season is for those with a valid youth hunting license and turkey permit. Youth hunters are required to be accompanied by a non hunting adult, 18 years of age or older. No more than two turkeys may be checked by a youth hunter during the two-day season. If two turkeys are harvested during the youth season, no additional birds may be taken by the youth hunter for the remainder of the spring season. Hunting hours during the two-day youth season are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

Hunting hours from April 24-May 2 in the south zone and May 1-9 in the northeast zone are 30 minutes before sunrise until noon. Hunting hours from May 3-23 in the south zone and May 10-30 in the northeast zone are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

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 turkey while it is in a tree. The Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving, or moving through hunting areas to remain visible to others.

+The Ohio Wildlife Council has approved all 2021-22 hunting season dates. As in years past, a hunter may take no more than one antlered deer regardless of where or how it is taken, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. All county bag limits remain identical to last season. The deer hunting season dates for 2021-22 include: Deer archery: Sept. 25-Feb. 6, 2022. Youth deer gun, Nov. 20-21, Deer gun: Nov. 29-Dec. 5; Dec. 18-19, Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 8-11, 2022.

Updated this year, antlerless deer may be taken from all public hunting areas from Sept. 25, to Feb. 6, 2022, provided that a hunter takes only one antlerless deer from these lands per license year. Ohio’s public land deer regulations have resulted in improved hunter satisfaction on public hunting areas. Expanding the antlerless deer dates provides additional opportunities to public land hunters.

Deer management permits have been expanded to all 88 Ohio counties and may be used from Sept. 25 to Nov. 28. Hunters can use the deer management permit up to the county bag limit. The permit does not include public hunting areas, except Lake La Su An Wildlife Area, Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area, and during controlled hunts. Only antlerless deer may be harvested with a deer management permit. An antlerless deer in Ohio is defined as any deer without antlers, or with antlers less than three inches long.

The combined number of Canada geese and white-fronted geese that may be harvested daily during the waterfowl hunting season has been increased from three to five across all waterfowl hunting zones. A change from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows for this increase throughout the Mississippi Flyway, which includes Ohio and other Midwest states. This change is designed to allow additional harvest of abundant, resident Canada geese, and is based on research that shows limited impact to the migratory subspecies. Hunter preference surveys support the increased bag limit.

A notable update permits active military and veterans to hunt alongside a youth hunter during the special youth, active military, and veterans waterfowl hunting weekend. Previously, a youth hunter was required to hunt with a non hunting adult, and this change allows eligible participants to hunt together.

Ohio’s wild turkey hunting seasons for 2022 maintain a 30-day spring turkey season in the south zone and northeast zone, with opening days on Saturdays. Public land wild turkey hunters are limited to one bearded wild turkey during the 2022 spring season. This new regulation is in response to several below average reproductive years, and is designed to maintain healthy wild turkey populations on public lands. The statewide limit during the spring remains two bearded birds.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!


Water and Wings by Ken Parrott

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.

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