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Ohio spring turkey season opens April 18

From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

-- Spring wild turkey hunting opens in all 88 Ohio counties April 18, continues through May 15 and is preceded by a special youth-only turkey hunt April 16 and 17.

"Hunters may see three-year-old gobblers this spring based on the strength of the 2008 hatch," said Mike Reynolds, wildlife biologist. "Overall, turkey numbers should be good across the state, but the harvest will likely not top last year's record - the second highest all-time."  

Hunters harvested 23,421 wild turkeys during the 2010 seasons. Reynolds said the current wild turkey population is around 200,000, and he  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.

Youth possessing a valid youth hunting license, a youth turkey permit and accompanied by a non-hunting adult, age 18 or older, have the first chance at the season. Youth season is open statewide with the exception of Lake La Su An State Wildlife Area in Williams County which requires a special hunting permit. Legal hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to sunset each day during the two-day youth season.

All hunters must report their turkey harvest but they are no longer required to take the turkey to a check station for physical inspection.  Hunters have three options to complete the automated game check, either online at www.wildohio.com  or www.ohiogamecheck.com,  to any license agent, or by calling (877) 824-4864, which is only available to those required to purchase a turkey permit.

Game-check transactions will be available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. Landowner hunters who are not required to purchase a spring turkey permit must use the internet or any license agent to check their turkey.  Hunters who tag their turkey as a landowner harvest cannot use the phone-in method.  All authorized license sales agents will also check in game.  Find a list of agents at www.ohiodnr.com/wildlife/dow/regulations/vendor.aspx.

Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon from April 18 to May 1. Hunting hours from May 2 to 15 will be a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. Hunters are required to have a hunting license and a spring turkey-hunting permit and can take one bearded turkey per day. A second spring turkey permit can be purchased allowing hunters to take a limit of two bearded wild turkeys.

Shotguns using shot, longbows and crossbows may be used to hunt wild turkeys. It is unlawful to hunt turkeys over bait, to use a live decoy or electronic calling device, or to shoot a wild 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 in order to remain visible to others.

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