Ohio Spring Wild Turkey Season 2023

Ohio Spring Wild Turkey Season 2023

Apr 04, 2023Bearded Butcher Blend Seasoning Co.
Wild turkey season in Ohio is one of the best times of the year. A lot of people are excited to get out of the house and into the wooded parts of the state in search of bearded Eastern Wild Turkeys. Everyone has been waiting patiently since Whitetail archery season ended in February to gear up, but the first part of the process is checking the regulations. Don’t be the hunter that gets told by the game warden that “it’s still illegal even if you didn’t know the rules.”

When Does Wild Turkey Season Begin?

Youth wild turkey season is a two-day event open to licensed hunters seventeen years old or younger beginning 30 minutes before sunrise on April 15 to 30 minutes after sunset on April 16. Youth hunters can take one bearded turkey anywhere in the state with a firearm or archery during the brief season.

Adult wild turkey season officially begins on April 22, 2023, in the south zone and concludes on May 21. The northeast zone will open on April 29 and close on May 28. The one turkey bag limit imposed in 2022 will continue in 2023, and hunters can only take bearded turkeys during spring.

Where is the Best Turkey Hunting in Ohio?

Counties in the Eastern portion of the state had the highest numbers of turkey permits filled in 2022. The top two leading counties in 2022 were Columbiana and Meigs. In the Northeast zone, which includes Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull counties, Ashtabula led the bag totals.

Turkey tag numbers were down significantly from previous years due to the State’s decision to reduce the bag limit from two to one. The 2021 Spring wild turkey season saw 61,135 filled tags, but only 48,815 were filled in 2022. The one-turkey rule was extended through the 2023 season by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife in April 2022.

Most tags were filled on private land in 2022, with just 10% coming from public hunting lands.

What are the Rules for Firearms and Archery?

Spring turkey season is open for shotgun and archery. Shotguns must be 10-gauge or smaller with no restriction on lead or steel shot. Rifles and handguns are not permitted. Hunters may not carry two firearms for hunting but may carry a concealed firearm.

Archers may use traditional, compound, or recurve bows with a draw weight of at least 40 lbs. Arrows must have a minimum of two cutting edges. Mechanical arrowheads are allowed in both spring and fall.

Hunters on public and private land cannot use electronic calls or bait-spots to attract toms, so you should practice up on your turkey calls before heading to the woods. Ohio does allow leashed dogs to retrieve wounded birds in the spring. Shooting birds in trees is prohibited and unsportsmanlike.

Turkey Tag and License Rules and Cost

Every hunter should understand how the tagging process works, but if you want a quick reminder, the first thing you do immediately after your bird is down is to fill out the tag and place it on the turkey. Game wardens will issue fines and confiscate your bird for not following this simple rule. If you move a turkey without tagging it first, you stand to violate several rules that can lead to steep fines and suspension of your hunting privileges in the state.

The cost of an adult turkey permit is unchanged from 2022 and comes in at $31.20 for residents or $38.48 for out-of-state hunters. Youth permits run $16.00, and senior permits are $12.00. Ohio offers several ways that residents can receive free hunting licenses and permits. Programs are available for seniors, veterans, and active-duty Armed Forces members Details are available at OhioDNR.gov.

Many landowners are exempt from tagging and licensing requirements for hunting turkey on property they own, but you should carefully read the regulations before heading out.

Game checks are required for all wild turkeys taken in Ohio. The game check can be done by phone, online, or in person.

The Last Word

Spring wild turkey season can be a lot of fun for the entire family, and it is one of the most wonderful times of the year to experience the beauty of rural Ohio. A responsible hunter will take a few minutes and read through all of the rules and regulations before hunting. We hope that you have a successful and memorable spring turkey season in 2023.

If you're looking for some more tips and tricks before heading out, check out some of our other blog posts about turkey season:

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