Buckeye State hunters killed a preliminary total of 8,898 bearded wild turkeys during the first week of the spring turkey-hunting season, which is open statewide through May 20. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife, hunters checked 7,744 wild turkeys during the first week of the season last year.

A special youth-only hunt for hunters age 17 and younger was held statewide on April 21-22. Young hunters killed an additional 1,632 birds statewide.

Top counties for wild turkeys killed last week were: Ashtabula-315, Guernsey-276, Tuscarawas-269, Coshocton-266, Muskingum-265, Belmont-262, Meigs-223, Knox-221, Harrison-220 and Adams-213.

The Division of Wildlife estimates that more than 70,000 people will hunt turkeys during the four-week season. Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon from April 23 to May 6. Hunting hours from May 7-20 will be a half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Ohio’s wild turkey population was estimated at 180,000 prior to the start of the spring season.

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(Photo: ODNR)