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Ohio youth turkey hunt April 17-18; season open April 19

From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

-- Ohio’s spring wild turkey hunting opens in all 88 counties on April 19 and continues through May 16.  A special youth-only turkey hunt for those ages 17 and younger will be April 17-18.

Although the 2009 season saw one of the poorest wild turkey hatches in recent years, good numbers of two-year-old gobblers should be available in many areas this spring, according to Wildlife Biologist Mike Reynolds. Hunters harvested 20,710 wild turkeys during last year's youth and spring turkey seasons.  
 
The state’s current wild turkey population is around 200,000. As many as 70,000 hunters, not counting private landowners hunting on their own property, are expected to take part in the Ohio spring wild turkey season.
 
Youth hunters must have both a youth hunting license and a youth spring turkey permit in order to participate in the youth hunt. They must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 18 years of age or older. The young hunter's turkey season is open statewide with the exception of Lake LaSuAn 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.
 
The wild turkey is Ohio's largest game bird. It stands 3-4 feet tall and may weigh more than 20 pounds. Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon from April 19 to May 2, 2010. New this year, hunting hours from May 3-16 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. During the first two weeks of the statewide spring season, a wild turkey must be properly tagged and taken to an official check station by 2 p.m. on the day it is harvested.  During the extended hours offered May 3-16, hunters will have until 2 p.m. the following day to check their bird.
 
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. Additional turkey hunting information is available at wildohio.com.

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