Friday, December 2, 2016

Pennsylvania's Game Commission believes it - and not the government - has the final word on semi-auto rifle use

Long a sort of backwater state with limiting allowances for the use of semi-automatic firearms, Pennsylvania is all but certain to join the Twentieth Century.


A century late, but who's counting?


That state's legislature has approved - and its governor has signed - a bill that will begin the process of allowing Pennsylvania hunters the opportunity to use semi-automatic rifles for various game animals such as squirrels, bears and deer.


Oh, the legislation also approve the use of air rifles for hunting; a form of hunting implement used during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Pennsylvania appears to want to make sure there's been sufficient time to work out all of the technological bugs, I guess.


Anyway a lot of how and when all of this will come to pass depend upon the Pennsylvania Game Commission, an agency long noted for tortoise-like foot-dragging and slowness in adopting permissible types of hunting gear. Just look how long it took that agency to sign off on allowing such archery tackle as compound bows an crossbows.


In any event, here is the Pennsylvania Game Commission's press release on the subject. Take particular note of the last paragraph. Knowing politics he way I do, it sure sounds like a swipe at both the legislature and the governor, the agency strutting that it has the final word on the subject.


As the statewide firearms deer season approaches, the Pennsylvania Game Commission reminds deer hunters that rifles used during the season must be manually operated.
 
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation that will enable the Pennsylvania Game Commission to regulate the use of semiautomatic rifles and air rifles for hunting, and the bill was signed into law this week.
 
But the Game Commission has not yet made any changes to the lists of lawful arms and ammunition for any hunting season.
 
For deer hunters in the upcoming firearms deer season, that means all centerfire rifles, handguns and shotguns to be used must be manually operated. The only exception is that semiautomatic shotguns may be used to hunt deer in five counties – Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery – that are defined as Special Regulations Areas.
 
Semiautomatic rifles generally are not permitted for any type of hunting in any part of the state at this time.
 
Things could change in the coming months. At its upcoming meetings, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will be discussing the newly signed legislation and the possibility of adding semiautomatic rifles and air rifles to the lawful arms and ammunition list for various hunting seasons. But any changes must follow the schedule dictated by required procedure.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn






Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ohio's fall turkey season kill soars on wings of 17-year cicada emergence


Ohio’s fall wild turkey hunters scored gains – and encountered deficits – largely based upon which county encountered an abundant emergence of 17-year cyclic cicadas.

In all, Ohio’s fall wild turkey hunters killed 2,168 birds. This figure is substantially greater than was the number for the 2015 fall wild turkey-hunting season: 1,535 birds.

Where the cicadas popped out of the ground in large numbers that led to fat and healthy poults and even adults, the fall turkey hunting season was exceptional. Where the emergence fizzled so did hunter success.

An example of the former case happening would include Coshocton County. Here, the 2016 Ohio fall turkey-hunting season saw a kill of 94 birds. In 2015 that figure was 43 birds.

The reverse was seen in such traditional fall turkey season leaders such as Ashtabula County where 66 birds were killed this year compared to 77 birds killed during the 2015 fall season.

Yet a decline here or there is relatively meaningless given the general opportunistic nature of many fall wild turkey hunters, says Mark Wiley, a wildlife research biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

To add meat to that argument, Wiley notes that for this fall season 37 percent of the turkeys were taken by archery tackle. That compared to just 2.4 percent during this past spring season, Wiley says.

“That suggests to me that far more likely it is that archery hunters are killing a bird while they’re deer hunting rather than seeking a turkey deliberately,” Wiley said. “So a fluctuation here or there really won’t be reflected (in a county’s) turkey population.”

An interesting point that caught biologists a little by surprise, says Wiley though, is that the make-up of the kill did not change much even though many counties encountered significant turkey population increases: again thanks to the massive emergence of high protein cicadas that were feasted upon by young and old birds alike.

Wiley said that for the 2015 fall wild turkey-hunting season some 45 percent of the birds taken were adult females. That is also the same number for this fall season, says Wiley.

And for this year’s crop of juvenile female turkeys the harvest make-up consisted of 18 percent; or only three percentage points more than during the 2015 fall season, Wiley says.

Parallel to near mirror comparisons are seen for the adult and juvenile male turkey kills, too. The 2015 fall season saw 28 percent of the harvest consisting of adult gobblers while for this year that figure was 25 percent.

And for jakes – male turkeys born this year – the figures for the 2015 and 2016 fall seasons were identical: 12 percent, Wiley says.

“Essentially while all of the categories saw identical or near identical percentages their respective overall numbers increased, largely as a result of more turkeys on the landscape,” Wiley says. “I would have thought more female and male juveniles as percentages would have been harvested but that wasn’t the case. This may have been a matter of hunters being more selective in choosing larger birds.”

One other item of some noteworthiness, says Wiley, is that the number of fall turkey licenses being issued has been slipping the past several years. In 2015 the Wildlife Division had issued 11,689 fall season wild turkey-hunting permits. For this just concluded season that number had fallen to 11,506 tags.

On the bright side, though, it did mean that the hunter success rate for the fall season increased for 2016; once more thanks to an abundant emergence of the Brood V 17-year cicada – an event that won’t repeat itself until the year 2033.
Note: A list of all wild turkeys checked during the 2016 fall hunting season is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2016, and their respective 2015 numbers are in parentheses: Adams: 30 (44); Ashland: 25 (27); Ashtabula: 66 (73); Athens: 63 (31); Belmont: 47 (33); Brown: 20 (26); Butler: 13 (13); Carroll: 30 (21); Clermont: 28 (43); Columbiana: 31 (43); Coshocton: 94 (43); Cuyahoga: 9 (2); Defiance: 26 (18); Delaware: 10 (9); Fairfield: 24 (14); Franklin: 2 (1); Gallia: 57 (50); Geauga: 32 (45); Guernsey: 79 (35); Hamilton: 11 (10); Harrison: 68 (32); Highland: 34 (40); Hocking: 57 (52); Holmes: 74 (27); Huron: 13 (6); Jackson: 50 (43); Jefferson: 39 (30); Knox: 43 (34); Lake: 12 (11); Lawrence: 32 (31); Licking: 54 (36); Lorain: 19 (29); Mahoning: 27 (23); Medina: 28 (22); Meigs: 79 (33); Monroe: 86 (21); Morgan: 52 (13); Morrow: 8 (17); Muskingum: 64 (27); Noble: 74 (35); Perry: 62 (29); Pike: 39 (35); Portage: 31 (38); Richland: 31 (21); Ross: 25 (24); Scioto: 23 (27); Seneca: 11 (6); Stark: 41 (27); Summit: 16 (12); Trumbull: 42 (50); Tuscarawas: 92 (23); Vinton: 47 (35); Warren: 9 (9); Washington: 54 (23); Wayne: 10 (13); Williams: 25 (20); Total: 2,168 (1,535).

Ohio's gun deer opener harvest slips; state wildlife expert expects recovery


Many of Ohio’s deer hunters came up empty handed for the November 28th general firearms hunting season opener.

Based on data provided by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, Ohio’s deer hunters shot 18,776 animals. That’s a drop of 3,477 animals from the 2015 firearms opener kill of 22,253 deer.

Of Ohio’s 88 counties, only 11 posted gains over their respective 2015 opening day kills while one county recorded identical respective opening day harvest results.

Ohio’s general firearms deer-hunting season continues through Sunday, December 4th.

Yet the state’s leading deer biologist says Ohio’s deer hunters ought not to panic. The roughly 17 percent decline in Monday’s opening day deer kill almost certainly will not stock when the seven-day season ends, let alone at the conclusion of the yet-to-come bonus two-day gun season (December 17th and 18th), the four-day muzzle-loading season (January 7th through 10th), and the remainder of the archery season (concludes February 5th).

Indeed, the Ohio Division of Wildlife continues to anticipate an all-season’ deer kill of around 180,000 head, which is close to the 2014-2015 all-deer kill of 188,335 animals.

“One thing I noticed when I looked at the harvest data through Sunday (November 27th) and the day before the start of the gun season was the archery harvest was off only 2.3 percent and the total harvest down only 6.3 percent, so we’re really almost where we were at in numbers at this time last year,” said Mike Tonkovich, the Wildlife Division’s deer management biologist.

Tonkovich did acknowledge that the participants during the state’s youth-only gun season “took it in the shorts again” because of the generally poor – make that, miserable – weather but that a turn-around is almost certain.

This is due in some measure to the too-pleasant weather that has blanketed the state during the first two days of the general firearms deer-hunting season.

“Why would any hunter want to move around in the 60-degree-plus weather we’ve been having?” Tonkovich rhetorically asked.

Besides, a survey of Ohio’s deer hunters – and appearing in the agency’s “2015-2016 Ohio Deer Summary” and available at the Wildlife Division’s web site -  is showing a decided and increasing preference to stump sitting and ground blind occupation than stalking or participating in deer drives; the latter two methods sure ways of breaking loose white-tails from thickets and heavy cover.

 “The deer have been under intense pressure from archery hunters for eight weeks,” Tonkovich also said pointing out another capstone that is helping to anchor new deer-hunting strategies.

In the end, consequently, and says Tonkovich, the total deer harvest will likely even out when the last arrow is launched, the last slug and bullet is sent, and the final sabot is propelled.

“That’s why I still believe we’ll see a total deer harvest of around 180,000 animals,” Tonkovich said.
A list of all white-tailed deer checked by hunters during opening day of the 2016 deer-gun hunting season is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for opening day 2016, and the 2015 opening day harvest numbers are in parentheses: Adams: 274 (373); Allen: 58 (116); Ashland: 411 (483); Ashtabula: 701 (771); Athens: 375 (420); Auglaize: 41 (99); Belmont: 407 (429); Brown: 167 (248); Butler: 36 (66); Carroll: 480 (571); Champaign: 70 (104); Clark: 29 (52); Clermont: 81 (154); Clinton: 58 (79); Columbiana: 419 (522); Coshocton: 767 (888); Crawford: 134 (177); Cuyahoga: 8 (7); Darke: 47 (74); Defiance: 179 (316); Delaware: 88 (110); Erie: 50 (66); Fairfield: 182 (219); Fayette: 30 (33); Franklin: 32 (31); Fulton: 79 (140); Gallia: 379 (372); Geauga: 147 (167); Greene: 43 (54); Guernsey: 592 (647); Hamilton: 18 (44); Hancock: 95 (135); Hardin: 94 (149); Harrison: 529 (556); Henry: 67 (125); Highland: 221 (300); Hocking: 431 (521); Holmes: 542 (552); Huron: 342 (367); Jackson: 270 (377); Jefferson: 365 (386); Knox: 651 (619); Lake: 53 (44); Lawrence: 208 (224); Licking: 463 (562); Logan: 155 (249); Lorain: 180 (195); Lucas: 23 (27); Madison: 30 (28); Mahoning: 168 (165); Marion: 96 (120); Medina: 154 (152); Meigs: 392 (418); Mercer: 38 (76); Miami: 28 (52); Monroe: 333 (334); Montgomery: 18 (28); Morgan: 364 (387); Morrow: 158 (184); Muskingum: 696 (722); Noble: 386 (352); Ottawa: 20 (20); Paulding: 75 (157); Perry: 339 (399); Pickaway: 65 (107); Pike: 180 (209); Portage: 155 (157); Preble: 47 (80); Putnam: 60 (90); Richland: 355 (462); Ross: 263 (320); Sandusky: 41 (76); Scioto: 195 (206); Seneca: 203 (273); Shelby: 79 (97); Stark: 208 (248); Summit: 30 (24); Trumbull: 425 (468); Tuscarawas: 645 (658); Union: 67 (97); Van Wert: 31 (63); Vinton: 338 (401); Warren: 34 (61); Washington: 438 (490); Wayne: 206 (211); Williams: 138 (327); Wood: 39 (87); Wyandot: 168 (227).Total: 18,776 (22,253)


- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Monday, November 21, 2016

Wicked weather hurts Ohio's youth-only gun deer hunt, leaves more animals for regular season



For the second time in three consecutive years Ohio’s youthful deer hunters were thwarted in their success by the Witch of November that huffed and puffed and blew rain, sleet and snow through the state’s woods and fields.

The weather for this past weekend’s youth-only firearms deer-hunting season was hardly a pleasure to endure. Not with high wind warnings, Lake Effect snow advisories and other weather alerts that inundated the entire state.

Not surprisingly this nasty spate of weather put a damper on the youth deer season kill. In all, the kids shot 5,420 deer – a significant drop of around 18 percent from last year’s tally of 7,223 animals and even less than the 6,453 white-tails that kids shot during the 2014 youth-only season which likewise was plagued by poor weather for hunting.

Even so, after examining the numbers provided by Ohio Division of Wildlife spokesman John Windau one can see that 18 of Ohio’s 88 counties still managed to post gains – albeit very small increases  in some cases – in the number of deer killed by youths than the group posted last year.

Yet the gains were not seen in pockets of contiguous counties ; rather, they were peppered throughout the state, says Clint McCoy, the Wildlife Division biologist in charge of the state’s deer management program.

“No question the weather was the determining factor in the number of youthful hunters afield and the lower number of deer that were harvested,” McCoy said.

McCoy added that had the weather been more conducive to allowing hunters afield the total number of animal taken would have approached the 2015 youth-only season final tally.

“Maybe even a few more,” McCoy said.

However, the youth season shortfall may prove a blessing in disguise for those persons participating in the state’s regular seven-day firearms deer-hunting season which begins November 28th.

“Those deer that would otherwise have been harvested during the youth-only season will still be around for the regular gun season, yes,” McCoy said who noted the best guess is for a regular firearms deer-hunting season take of 75,000 to 85,000 animal.

That is, if the regular season’s deer hunters don’t have to contend with rain, sleet, snow and gale-force winds of the kind their youthful counterparts encountered November 19th and 20th.

Here are the county-by-county results of the just completed 2016 youth-only firearms deer-hunting season with their respective 2015 youth-only season figures in parentheses: Adams - 139 (170); Allen - 37 (44); Ashland - 111 (149); Ashtabula - 108 (147); Athens - 106 (169); Auglaize - 35 (52); Belmont - 147 (167); Brown - 70 (100); Butler - 19 (25); Carroll - 127 (140); Champaign - 36 (47); Clark- 11 (20); Clermont - 56 (65); Clinton - 25 (37); Columbiana - 117 (122); Coshocton - 222 (258); Crawford - 34 (37); Cuyahoga - zero (also zero); Darke - 22 (21); Defiance - 63 (75); Delaware - 26 (42); Erie - 72, and note that 51 of these deer were killed during the special hunt at NASA’s Plum Brook Research Station, thus the actual youth-only hunt tally was 21 animals (17); Fairfield - 53 (79); Fayette - 18 (also 18); Franklin: -6 (8); Fulton - 20 (30); Gallia - 114 (124); Geauga - 41 (39); Greene - 21 (18); Guernsey - 197 (188); Hamilton - 18 (13); Hancock - 40 (50); Hardin - 48 (58); Harrison - 116 (183); Henry -25 (20); Highland - 96 (132); Hocking: -73 (125); Holmes: -145 (203); Huron - 80 (85); Jackson: -108 (135); Jefferson - 98 (117); Knox - 144 (182); Lake - 6 (8); Lawrence - 84 (69); Licking - 138 (182); Logan - 74 (82); Lorain - 62 (56); Lucas - 6 (15); Madison -21 (19); Mahoning - 38 (65); Marion: -36 (31); Medina - 42 (38); Meigs - 152 (171); Mercer - 32 (47); Miami - 25 (29); Monroe - 112 (128); Montgomery - 4 (7); Morgan - 121 (143); Morrow - 38 (52); Muskingum - 162 (200); Noble - 118 (114); Ottawa - 20 (18); Paulding - 44 (49); Perry - 101 (128); Pickaway - 27 (41); Pike - 85 (83); Portage - 32 (104); Preble -22 (43); Putnam - 34 (38); Richland - 99 (116); Ross - 128 (162); Sandusky - 29 (15); Scioto - 72 (127); Seneca - 75 (95); Shelby - 47 (67); Stark - 62 (64); Summit - 6 (9); Trumbull - 79 (81); Tuscarawas -178 (226); Union - 31 (36); Van Wert - 19 (38); Vinton - 87 (102); Warren - 26 (35); Washington - 126 (145); Wayne - 72 (79); Williams: -32 (48); Wood - 30 (28); Wyandot - 52 (79). Total - 5,930 – less the 51 shot at Plum Brook controlled hunt equals 5,420 (7,223).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Lake Metroparks (Ohio) likely hooks stellar Grand River steelhead- and muskie-fishing hole


Grand River steelhead and muskies will soon find 2,700 fewer linier feet of protection from anglers.

Lake Metroparks is set to acquire 75 acres of property in Perry Township that includes about one-half mile of Grand River frontage. This parcel lies across the Grand River from the agency’s 409-acre Indian Point Park at the confluence of Paine Creek, which provides the property’s rough half-way point up and down the Lake Erie tributary.

This fishing hole is one of the Grand River’s go-to late fall-winter-spring steelhead fishing sites, too. And more, if truth be told.

“I caught a very nice muskie there this spring,” said Paul Palagyi, Lake Metroparks’ executive director.

Palagyi’s muskie was no fluke, either. Just upstream – and within the sphere of influence of the soon-to-be-added property – exists one of the stream’s mid-section deeper holes that has long been heralded as a productive Grand River muskie-fishing hot zone.

Vince Urbanski is the parks system’s deputy director and he says that his agency will pay $335,000 for the 75-acre parcel. This heavily wooded block extends from the Grand River about one thousand to two thousand feet north to River Road, with a few private in-holdings carving out small niches, Urbanski said.

“Once the Vrooman Road bridge project is completed we should be able to in come in with an entrance from the west,” Urbanski said. “Right now there’s a something of a trail off River Road but it’s pretty steep and it certainly gets your attention when you climb it.”

Even so, the 75-acre property’s expected acquisition – which will cost the agency $335,000 – will help permanently secure the spectacular view that Indian Point visitors see when they reach the top of a ridge along the roughly one-mile long Point Overlook Loop Trail.

“That view is now going to be protected,” Urbanski said, who added that many Indian Point visitors come to the unit in autumn just so they can soak in the view that largely contains the anticipated land purchase.

Urbanski said as well that the parks system will seek to sell a conservation easement to the Western Reserve Land Conservancy for the property. If successful this easement will regenerate $65,000 to $70,000 back into the parks system’s General Fund.

“That will help stretch our dollars a little bit more,” Urbanski said.

If all goes well the land purchase should clear all legal hurdles and successfully navigate the protocols of a public entity buying private property by the end of the year, Urbanski added.
For now Indian Point Park and the expected land parcel are easily accessible from off Seeley Road that bolts from off Vrooman Road; itself available as an exit off Interstate 90.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ohio's deer hunters playing catch-up but wicked weather could dampen weekend's youth-only gun hunt


On the cusp of Ohio’s two-day youth-only firearms deer-hunting season a lot of animals should be present for the youngsters: Whitetails that hunters have yet to collect.

Ohio’s to-date deer kill – as of November 15th – stands at 59,908 animals. That figure is 3,118 fewer deer than what was killed for the comparable to-date period last year, as of November 18th, 2015, or 63,026.

Actually the 3,118 is a narrowing of the gap between the weekly to-date reporting periods. Last week’s gap stood at 7,550 animals.

On the reverse side, this weekend’s youth-only firearms deer-hunting season is projected to bring the nastiest weather thus far this autumn.

In Northeast Ohio Saturday’s temperatures are expected to be mild but a 70-percent of rain showers also is in the forecast along with high winds. By Sunday the temperatures will plummet with highs only in the mid-30s along with snow showers: The first of the season.

Deeper south into central Ohio the weather forecast is even less accommodating. Saturday’s high is expected to range around 40 degrees and a few degrees less on Sunday. Rain will mix with snow on Saturday, changing to all snow on Sunday.

Very high winds are forecast for both days, too.

Only along the Ohio will the weather ease its fury; but not until Sunday and then with highs only near 40 degrees. Rain and snow should prevail on Saturday, as well.

The net likelihood should be enough to discourage more than a few youngsters – as well as their more mature mentors. And this could impact the deer kill, which will appear on the November 22nd to-date deer kill ledger, available the following day.

In any event, here is a partial county run-down of the to-date deer kill as of the November 15th reporting date (with their respective 2015 to-date figure in parentheses): Adams – 1,188 (1,477); Ashland – 954 (1,010); Ashtabula – 1,527 (1,625); Athens – 1,084 (1,113); Belmont – 745 (716); Brown – 822 (903); Carroll – 953 (998); Clermont – 950 (1,123); Coshocton – 1,932 (1,708); Crawford – 311 (351); Cuyahoga – 565 (441); Delaware – 698 (770); Erie – 311 (347); Fayette – 111 (104); Franklin – 411 (403); Gallia – 650 (683); Geauga – 727 (807); Guernsey – 1,184 (1,182); Hamilton – 850 (1,103); Harrison – 1,025 (1,095); Henry – 197 (194); Highland – 915 (953); Hocking – 951 (1,065); Holmes – 1,310 (1,350); Huron – 626 (718); Jackson – 922 (935); Jefferson – 739 (705); Knox – 1,463 (1,539); Lake – 432 (463); Licking – 1,841 (1,962); Lorain – 998 (1,064); Lucas – 365 (412); Mahoning – 744 (706); Medina – 766 (776); Meigs – 934 (961); Monroe – 554 (538); Morgan – 822 (840); Morrow – 496 (505); Muskingum – 1,434 (1,346); Noble – 704 (774); Ottawa – 159 (169); Perry – 749 (772); Pickaway – 235 (233); Pike – 726 (768); Portage – 924 (969); Richland – 1,089 (1,152); Ross – 966 (1,101); Scioto – 809 (1,014); Stark – 1,048 (1,101); Summit – 764 (749); Trumbull – 1,440 (1,403); Union – 341 (373); Van Wert – 145 (147); Vinton – 786 (788); Warren – 501 (554); Washington – 790 (770); Wayne – 765 (776); Williams – 625 (665); Wood – 338 (also 338); and Wyandot – 399 (406).

Thus, 12 of Ohio’s 88 counties are experiencing increases in their respective to-date deer kills when compared to their comparable 2015 to-date deer kill numbers.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Monday, November 14, 2016

Ohio's wild turkey hunters are piling up impressive to-date bird kill numbers


Ohio’s fall wild turkey hunters have not exhausted the state’s population of birds but they have put a dent in the species’ numbers.

Indeed, Ohio’s fall turkey hunters have all ready killed more birds to-date than they did during the entire 2015 fall wild turkey-hunting season. And there’s nearly two weeks left in the current season, too.

The to-date tally of wild turkeys killed by Ohio’s fall season hunters stands at 1,715 birds. That figure is a whopping 428 more birds taken than for the same general 2015 to-date figure of 1,228 birds.

In fact, the 1,715 wild turkeys thus far killed by Ohio’s fall season hunters is all ready 180 more than were killed during the entire 2015 fall season; 476 more birds that were killed during the entire 2014 fall season; and 678 more birds than were shot during the entire 2013 fall season.

The 2016 to-date kill likewise is – and so far - the most number of birds taken since the 2009 total fall season wild turkey harvest of 2,255 birds.

Some of the to-date fall season highlights – and lowlights  – include the following (with their 2015 comparable to-date kill numbers in parentheses) – are: Adams County – 25 (35); Ashtabula County – 47 (57); Athens County – 46 (25); Belmont County – 40 (28); Brown County – 18 (24); Carroll County – 22 (15); Clermont County – 18 (34); Columbiana County – 27 (37); Coshocton County – 78 (37); Cuyahoga County – 7 (one); Defiance County – 22 (13); Delaware County – 8 (also 8); Franklin County – 2 (zero); Geauga County – 23 (31); Guernsey County – 69 (29); Hamilton County – 6 (also 6); Harrison County – 52 (28); Holmes County – 65 (21); Huron County – 10 (3); Lake County – 7 (8); Licking County – 43 (25); Lorain County - 18 (24); Meigs County – 69 (26); Monroe County – 64 (14); Morgan County – 44 (9); Muskingum County – 54 (23); Noble County – 59 (32); Perry County – 50 (26); Portage County – 27 (32); Richland County – 25 (18); Ross County – 22 (also 22); Stark County – 32 (23); Trumbull County – 29 (42); Tuscarawas County – 80 (19); Vinton County – 42 (24); Washington County – 43 (16); Wayne County – 5 (10); Williams County – 18 (17).

Previously the Ohio Division of Wildlife attributed this year’s fall season turkey kill success to a good hatch and survival of poults along with the emergence of the 17-year Brood V cicadas. Cicada’s are a much sought-after source of food by wild turkeys and are rich in protein.

However, that emergence was not universal across Ohio, and the Brood V appearance largely mirrors where the fall season turkey harvest numbers are the highest – and lowest.

Ohio’s fall wild turkey-hunting season was first held in 1996 and was opened in 22 of Ohio’s 88 counties. That year hunters shot 1,250 birds and the Ohio Division of Wildlife issued 10,050 fall wild turkey-hunting season permits.

Only twice has Ohio seen the fall season turkey kill exceed 3,000 birds each: 1999 (3,071 birds), and 2001 (3,331 birds).

The largest number of permits issued was in 2002 (15,469 permits) while the smallest number issued was in 1998 (4,804 permits). Final fall turkey season permit issuance figures for 2016 are not yet available since the season runs through November 27th. Fifty-six of Ohio’s 88 counties are open to the fall season.
Hunting hours during the fall season are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset, daily. Only one bird of either sex is allowed to be legally killed. Hunters also must buy a separate fall wild turkey-hunting season license as spring season tags are not legal.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net