COLUMBUS — Ohio hunters can harvest a wild turkey for their Thanksgiving feast during the seven-week hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
Ohio’s fall wild turkey hunting season runs Monday, Oct. 14, through Sunday, Dec. 1, giving hunters the opportunity to pursue gobblers and hens. New counties open for fall turkey hunting this year include Butler, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Seneca and Warren.
Hunters harvested 1,345 wild turkeys during the 2012 fall season. This year, Ohio’s wild turkey population is estimated to be 180,000 birds. Approximately 10,000 people, not including private landowners hunting on their own property, will enjoy Ohio’s fall wild turkey season.
Fifty-six counties are open for fall turkey hunting. Erie and Pickaway counties are closed to fall turkey hunting, despite a map error in the 2013-2014 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations regarding open counties. Hunters should refer to Open Counties on pages 14 and 15, which correctly lists the 56 counties that are open to fall turkey hunting. The correct map can be found in the Turkey Hunting Resources page at wildohio.com.
New this year, an enhanced website at ohiogamecheck.com offers Ohio hunters a quick and easy way to check harvested turkeys with their smartphones. The mobile-friendly site is available for all hunters to check turkeys, including landowners not required to purchase a turkey permit. A valid email address and phone number are required to use the website on a mobile device.
Only one turkey of either sex may be harvested during the entire fall season, and a fall turkey hunting permit is required. Hours are one half hour before sunrise to sunset. Shotguns using shot, as well as crossbows and longbows, are permitted. Hunting turkeys over bait is prohibited, and turkeys must be checked by 11:30 p.m. on the day the bird is harvested.
A tagging procedure administered by the ODNR Division of Wildlife requires hunters to make their own game tag to attach to a 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.
All hunters must then report their turkey harvest using the automated game-check system. Hunters have three options to complete the game check:
Online at ohiogamecheck.com;
Call 877-TAG-ITOH (824-4864);
Visit a license agent. A list of agents can be found at wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).
Game-check transactions are available online and by telephone seven days a week, including holidays. Landowners exempt from purchasing a turkey permit, and other people not required to purchase a turkey permit, cannot use the 877-TAG-ITOH option, but they can use the new enhanced website.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving or moving through hunting areas to remain visible to others. Additional details regarding fall wild turkey hunting can be found in the 2013-2014 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.com.