From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
-- Hunters checked 21,909 wild turkeys during Ohio's four-week, statewide spring turkey hunting season that ended May 16, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.
The preliminary total represents nearly a 16 percent increase over last year's preliminary harvest number of 18,936.
Ashtabula County again led the state in the number of turkeys killed with 923. Counties with additional high harvest numbers were: Clermont-664; Harrison and Tuscarawas-621; Guernsey-618; Highland-612; Adams-606; Trumbull-588; Monroe-576 and Coshocton-563.
In addition to the turkeys taken during the regular season, young hunters harvested another 2,184 birds during a special hunt for ages 17 and younger April 17-18.
The Division of Wildlife estimates more than 70,000 people hunted turkeys during the season. Prior to the start of the spring hunting season, state wildlife biologists estimated Ohio's wild turkey population at more than 200,000 birds.
Wild turkeys were nearly extirpated 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.
Licenses purchased now are also valid during the 2010 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 2010-2011 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.