COLUMBUS – Ohio’s youth wild turkey hunting season ended Sunday, April 18, with 1,473 birds harvested by young hunters, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Youth hunters 17 years old or younger enjoyed mostly mild temperatures and dry conditions during the two-day season.
Participants in the youth season were required to be accompanied by a nonhunting adult. As of April 18, the Division of Wildlife has issued 6,978 youth wild turkey permits, which can be used throughout the 2021 spring hunting season.
The top 10 counties for wild turkey harvest during the 2021 youth season include: Guernsey (60), Monroe (51), Noble (51), Jefferson (48), Coshocton (47), Tuscarawas (46), Belmont (44), Muskingum (44), Columbiana (43), and Meigs (41). In 2020, youth hunters harvested 1,843 wild turkeys during the two-day youth season.
Ohio offers more opportunities for hunters of all ages to pursue wild turkeys. Hotspots for turkey hunting are found throughout the southern and eastern regions. In 2020, the top five counties for total turkey harvest were Belmont (533), Monroe (532), Tuscarawas (528), Guernsey (508), and Meigs (503).
The state has two zones for spring wild turkey hunting: the south zone and the northeast zone. The 2021 season dates for the south zone are from Saturday, April 24 to Sunday, May 23. The northeast zone is open from Saturday, May 1 to Sunday, May 30. Hunters are required to have a hunting license in addition to a spring permit. More information can be found at ohiodnr.gov.
Hunting hours from April 24-May 2 in the south zone and May 1-9 in the northeast zone are 30 minutes before sunrise until noon. Hunting hours from May 3-23 in the south zone and May 10-30 in the northeast zone are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.
Hunters may use shotguns or archery equipment to hunt wild turkeys. It is unlawful to hunt turkeys using bait, live decoys, or electronic calling devices, or to shoot a 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 to remain visible to others.
The spring hunting season limit is two bearded wild turkeys. Hunters may harvest one bearded turkey per day, and a second permit may be purchased at any time throughout the spring season. A turkey is required to be checked no later than 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest using the new HuntFish OH mobile app, the automated game-check system, by phone at 877-TAG-IT-OH (877-824-4864), or at a participating license agent.
The free HuntFish OH mobile app provides convenient resources while out in the field. HuntFish OH is available for Android and iOS users through the app store. Wild turkey hunters can use the app to check a harvest, even without a connection. When a hunter checks game without a clear signal, information is recorded and stored until the hunter moves to a location with better reception. Users can also purchase licenses and permits and view wildlife area maps through the app.
Anyone interested in learning to hunt or becoming a mentor to a new hunter can visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community page at ohiodnr.gov for information on how to get started, hunting-related workshops, as well as special hunting opportunities for mentors and new hunters.