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ODNR managing wild turkey hunting to allow flocks to recover after poor hatching seasons

Posted at 2:37 PM, May 23, 2022

CLEVELAND — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said it will begin taking conservation measures to reduce the wild turkey harvest after two years of poor hatches that have caused a temporary depression in turkey numbers. The department will take this time to look at ongoing research that looks at the state's wild turkey populations.

Wildlife officials said in a news release that declining wild turkey harvests are likely a result of lower wild turkey numbers and decreased hunter participation, two factors that have been a long-term trend since 2001 when the state’s wild turkey harvest was at a peak.

Weather events, predation, disease and hatch productivity all play a role in fluctuating turkey populations.

Each summer, the Division of Wildlife conducts a turkey brood survey to estimate population changes.

Biologists expect the wild turkey population to be a temporary dip as the 2021 survey showed promising results.

ODNR said young turkeys will be tracked closely in the coming years.

Ohioans can participate by submitting observations of young turkeys during July and August. Clickhere to submit your observations.

Wild turkey hunters harvested 11,770 birds through Sunday, May 22, which is a statewide total that represents 23 days of hunting in the five northeastern counties (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull) and 30 days in the remaining counties.

The three-year average, from 2019-to 2021 during the same dates, is 17,060. Last year hunters checked 14,450 wild turkeys.

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