Midway through Ohio’s four-week long spring wild turkey-hunting season and the numbers are nothing to crow about.
Overall, the first two-week period of the 2014 spring wild turkey-hunting season is down 12.07 percent.
Of those counties that saw triple-digit harvests during the 2013 spring wild turkey-hunting season, fully 40 of them saw decreases during the first two weeks of this year’s spring season.
Only two such counties saw increases during the first two weeks of this year’s spring wild turkey-hunting season: Defiance County, up 4.76% from 126 bearded wild turkeys for the first two weeks in 2013 to the 132 birds killed during the first two weeks of this year’s spring season.
The other county is Meigs County, up 9.85% from the 264 birds registered in 2013 and the 290 gobblers recorded during the comparable first two weeks of this year’s season.
Among the typically “hot” spring turkey harvest counties declines were significant. Among the drops (with percentage followed by 2014’s first two weeks, and then 2013’s first two weeks) were Ashtabula County - (down 21.97%, 373, 478); Adams County - (down 11.46%, 255, 288); Clermont County - (down 18.60%, 197, 242); Coshocton County - (down 13.36%, 314, 362); Geauga County - (down 17.91%, 165, 201); Guernsey County - (down 16.17%, 337, 402); Harrison County - (down 18.45%, 274, 336); Hocking County - (down 19.91%, 185, 231); Morgan County - (down 25.71%, 182, 245); Richland County - (down 20.55%, 201, 253); Trumbull County - (down 12.62%, 270, 309); Vinton County - (down 25.88% and largest drop, 169, 228); Williams County - (down 8.72%, 157, 172).
The above shows that the steep declines were seen statewide and not just regionalized into one section of Ohio.
Overall, the rest of the numbers are equally grim. Of Ohio’s 88 counties, just 16 of them saw gains with four of these by just a single bird: Lake County - (47 gobblers for this season’s first two weeks and 46 gobblers for the first two weeks during the 2013 spring season) and Hancock County - (21 gobblers for the first weeks this spring season and 20 gobblers for the 2013 season’s first two weeks); Miami County - (14 gobblers for this season’s first two weeks and 13 gobblers for the first two weeks during the 2013 spring season).
A pair of other counties saw identical first two-week harvests for the 2013 and 2014 spring wild turkey-hunting seasons. They were Putnam County - (no change at 35 birds), and Sandusky County - (no change at 17 gobblers).
How things shake out for this – the season’s third week – and next week’s final leg, much will depend on the weather, how many hunters are willing to brave the ever-earlier sunrise starts along with folks who simply will say they have had enough and reach for their fishing poles instead of their turkey-hunting shotguns.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn