COLUMBUS — Ohio’s wild turkey hunters have harvested 11,770 birds through Sunday, May 22, 2022, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The total statewide harvest represents 23 days of hunting in the five northeastern counties (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull), 30 days in the remaining counties, and includes the 1,103 wild turkeys taken during the youth season April 9-10.
The three-year average (2019, 2020, and 2021) using the same dates is 17,060 wild turkeys. During the 2021 season, the number checked was 14,450.
The spring wild turkey hunting season concluded in most Ohio counties on May 22. Hunting in the northeast zone remains open until Sunday, May 29. Hunting is open from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset in those five counties. The season bag limit is one bearded turkey. Further details can be found in the 2021-22 hunting and trapping regulations booklet.
The top 11 counties for wild turkey harvest during the 2022 season so far: Tuscarawas (338), Ashtabula (318), Belmont (314), Guernsey (312), Columbiana (309), Harrison (298), Muskingum (294), Jefferson (292), Gallia (280), Adams (278), and Brown (278).
Locally, 91 turkeys have been checked in Fulton County and 53 in Lucas County.
Declining wild turkey harvests, likely a result of lower wild turkey numbers and decreased hunter participation, have been a long-term trend since 2001, when Ohio’s harvest peaked. Several factors play a role in fluctuating turkey populations, including weather events, predation, disease, and hatch productivity. The Division of Wildlife is taking conservation measures to reduce the wild turkey harvest while ongoing research looks closely at Ohio’s population.
Each summer, the Division of Wildlife conducts a turkey brood survey to estimate population changes. Poor hatches from 2017-2019 have caused a temporary depression in turkey numbers. The Division of Wildlife remains vigilant in monitoring Ohio’s wild turkeys. Biologists expect the population dip to be temporary given the 2021 brood survey showed encouraging results. Young turkeys will be tracked closely in the coming years. The brood survey is largely based on public reports. Submit observations of young turkeys during July and August at wildohio.gov.