Fall Turkey Time

Ohio's fall turkey season opened Saturday, October 10, Columbus Day weekend. According to one source though, the turkey hatch is down for the state.

"Summer brood observations suggest a below average wild turkey hatch this year," reports Mike Reynolds, state biologist. "In addition, acorn crops were highly variable across Ohio this fall. In areas with poor acorn production, hunters may have more success locating turkeys around agricultural fields rather than hardwood ridges."

Last fall Ohio turkey hunters killed 2,139 birds. The current population stands at around 200,000 turkeys. Defiance and Williams counties are now open to fall turkey hunting for the first time in modern management history. Check out: www.ohiodnr.com

Over in West Virginia, it's much the same deal. Paul Johansen, Assistant Chief of DNR Game Management says that, "The poor and spotty mast conditions reported this fall will tend to concentrate birds, and wildlife biologists expect many flocks to be out feeding in open fields and along field borders." As a result, turkeys will be easier to find, and more accessible. This could increase kill numbers.

Last fall, WV hunters took 1,206 birds. An increased number of brood sightings reported this summer hints at a higher harvest too, especially when poor, spotty mast conditions are factored in. The WV fall turkey season begins Oct. 24. Specific season dates can be found at: www.wvdnr.gov/

New Hampshire's five-day fall shotgun turkey hunting season runs Monday, Oct. 12 through Friday, October 16 in eight select Wildlife Management Units in the Connecticut River Valley and southwest portions of the state. The lengthy NH fall archery turkey season is offered from September 15 - December 15 statewide (except WMU A in northern NH). Check out: www.wildnh.com/

Here in northern New England (Maine, NH & Vermont), and over in New York state, turkeys I (and other sources) have been watching are now transitioning from bugging late summer fields to the early fall woods where mast production is good throughout much of the region. Fresh scratchings in early October indicate flocks are hitting this autumn buffet pretty hard.

As the result of widespread food availability in parts of the Northeast, finding birds might prove challenging. Weather events can tip your hand. Flocks tend to move to fields during windy and showery weather events, and can sometimes be located this way.