Ohio’s 2024 Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Season Results

Ohio’s 2024 Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Season Results

Wild turkey hunters across Ohio checked 15,535 birds during the spring 2024 season which concluded on Sunday, May 26, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The total statewide harvest represents all turkeys checked from April 20 to May 26, and includes the 1,785 birds taken during the two-day youth season April 13-14.

During the 2023 season, the total number of turkeys checked was 15,673. The three-year average for the spring season (2021, 2022, and 2023) is 14,030.

Turkey hunters are required to record their harvest using Ohio’s game check system. The top 10 counties for wild turkey taken in the 2024 season were Ashtabula (470), Belmont (454), Tuscarawas (449), Monroe (447), Washington (410), Gallia (400), Muskingum (397), Trumbull (396), Meigs (381), and Columbiana (377).

Adult male turkeys made up 82% of the final count with 12,778 birds taken. Following above-average brood production summers in 2021 and 2022, biologists expected a high proportion of adult birds in the total harvest this spring. Hunters checked 2,595 juvenile male turkeys in 2024, representing 17% of birds taken. Turkey hunters also checked 162 bearded female turkeys (hens) during the 2024 season.

The Division of Wildlife issued 51,530 spring turkey permits for use during the spring hunting season. In 2023, the spring turkey bag limit was reduced from two to one in an effort to conserve Ohio’s population.

Ohio’s spring turkey season is split into two zones to align with the timing of turkey nesting in those regions. The northeast zone includes Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull counties. In 2024, 1,201 turkeys were checked in the northeast zone, while 14,334 birds were taken in the 83 counties that comprise the south zone.

Wild turkey research

Ohio’s wild turkey abundance peaked in the early 2000s. Since then, statewide turkey populations and spring harvest have generally declined. The Division of Wildlife began an in-depth study of wild turkey nesting and movement in 2023 to better understand and manage the state’s changing turkey population and expanded that study in 2024. Last year, biologists affixed GPS transmitters to 49 hens and gathered information on their movement, survival, and nest activity timing. This year, staff are gathering data from 137 hens via GPS transmitters.

Each summer, the Division of Wildlife collects information on young wild turkeys, called poults. Brood surveys in 2021, 2022, and 2023 showed above average results that benefitted Ohio’s wild turkey population numbers this spring. The statewide average poults per hen observed was 2.8 in 2023, 3.0 in 2022, and 3.1 in 2021, with a long-term average of 2.7. The brood survey is largely based on public reports. The Division of Wildlife encourages people to submit observations of wild turkeys during July and August at

Division of Wildlife staff are also conducting research on the gobbling frequency and timing of male wild turkeys. Biologists placed 32 recorders in northeast and southeast Ohio this spring to record wild turkey gobbles and learn more about factors that influence gobbling. Preliminary results from 2023 show that gobbling peaked in late April, with a smaller peak in the first half of May.

Information gathered from the brood surveys, multiyear nest study, and gobbling research will influence wild turkey management decisions in the coming years. This helps the Division of Wildlife structure science-based turkey hunting regulations, ensuring wild turkey success across Ohio for many more years.

The Division of Wildlife began an extensive program in the 1950s to restore wild turkeys to the Buckeye State after they were extirpated in the early 1900s. Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey hunting season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The total number of harvested turkeys topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Turkey hunting was opened statewide in 2000. The highest Ohio wild turkey harvest was in 2001, when hunters checked 26,156 birds.

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 to find out more.

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