COLUMBUS, Ohio — For the first time, a Saturday opening day and weekend start to Ohio’s spring wild turkey hunting season resulted in 3,875 birds taken by hunters on April 24-25, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The 2021 spring wild turkey hunting season started on a Saturday instead of the traditional Monday following a change approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council in 2020.
Wild turkey hunting was open in Ohio’s south zone only beginning Saturday, April 24. Hunting in the northeast zone, comprised of five counties in Ohio’s snow belt, opens Saturday, May 1.
The top 10 counties for wild turkey harvest during the opening weekend of the 2021 south zone include: Columbiana (149), Belmont (132), Guernsey (129), Meigs (124), Jefferson (117), Muskingum (117), Tuscarawas (113), Adams (112), Monroe (112), and Brown (107).
As of April 25, the Division of Wildlife issued 47,560 wild turkey permits, valid throughout the spring hunting season. In addition to the opening weekend results, youth hunters harvested 1,473 wild turkeys during Ohio’s youth season on April 17-18.
In 2020, 3,566 birds were checked during the opening two days in the south zone. More information about previous turkey seasons can be found in the Spring Turkey Harvest Summary.
Ohio has two zones for 2021 spring wild turkey hunting: the south zone and the northeast zone. Hunting in the south zone is open until 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. Find complete details in the 2020-2021 Hunting and Trapping Regulation Booklet.
The spring hunting season limit is two bearded wild turkeys, but hunters may harvest only one bearded turkey per day. 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 for information on how to get started, hunting-related workshops, as well as special hunting opportunities for mentors and new hunters.
The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.