Though fewer wild turkeys were shot during the recently concluded spring season, those successful hunters appear to have properly navigated the new check-in system.
This past year a weather-induced decline of 21 percent in the turkey harvest was reported by the Ohio Division of Wildlife. The drop went from 23,421 birds during the 2010 spring season to 18,481 birds killed during this past spring season.
Possibly related to the drop in the turkey kill was a decline in the purchase of permits by all classes of hunters. This shortfall may be related to fewer hunters wanting to buy a second tag since they may have not filled their first one.
In all, 74,788 spring 2011 permits were issued, including those given away to qualifying persons and those documents sold.
However, it would also appear that Ohio's hunting community is reacting favorably to the Wildlife Division's new Internet-based game check-in program.
Fully 44 percent of the successful spring turkey hunters used their telephones to call in their kill. The remaining number of successful spring turkey hunters were evenly split (44 percent each) between visiting a license-issuing vendor or else posting his or her success on the Internet.
The next trial for the game check system will come during this fall's archery deer-hunting season with the first day of the state's firearms deer-hunting season (Nov. 28) being the true acid test.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn