Turkey Hunting in Ohio

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  • B
  • 150,000

    Wild Turkey Population

  • Easterns

    Turkey Subspecies

  • 361,119

    Number of Licenses Sold Annually

  • Varies (check regulations)

    Cost of Resident License and Permit

  • Varies (check regulations)

    Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

The Ohio Wildlife Council approved reducing the 2022 spring wild turkey season limit to one bird during its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

As a result, all hunters may take one bearded wild turkey during the spring 2022 hunting season. In previous years, the season limit was two birds. This regulation change includes the 2022 statewide spring wild turkey hunting season and the youth spring hunting season.

Why the bag limit change?

Wild turkey populations have declined in many areas around the state following several years of below average reproductive success. The spring turkey season bag limit will be re-evaluated following the 2022 season. Last summer (2021), the statewide wild turkey reproductive index was 3.1 poults per hen, which is above the 10-year average of 2.7 poults per hen.

On the upside, wild turkey management has come a long way. 

The ODNR began an extensive program in the 1950s to reintroduce wild turkeys to the Buckeye State. Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey season opened in 1966 (nine counties). That inaugural season, hunters checked a dozen birds. Populations continued to grow. In 1984, the total number of harvested turkeys topped 1,000 for the first time.

Spring turkey hunting was opened statewide in 2000. The record Ohio wild turkey harvest was in 2001, when hunters checked 26,156 turkeys. The 2021 spring kill was 14,541 birds.

That said, Ohio has some excellent public hunting opportunities, with more than 651,000 acres available.

Huge tracts of ground, like the Wayne National Forest (200,000+ acres) in southern Ohio allow hunters to get away from the crowds. Smaller tracts, such as the Grand River Wildlife Area (7,400 acres) in Ashtabula County are also worth a try.

– Steve Hickoff

Turkey Hunting in Ohio (c) Tes Randle Jolly photo

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