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Turkey Hunting in Ohio



150,000 to 170,000 (NWTF estimate)

Wild Turkey Population


Turkey Subspecies


Number of Licenses Sold Annually


Hunting license, $19; spring turkey permit, $31.20

Cost of Resident License and Permit


Hunting license, $180.96; spring turkey permit, $38.48

Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Image: MW_eastern_6

Photo by Fiona M. Donnelly

After a couple of down years, Ohio seems poised for a turkey comeback in 2024. Poult surveys showed above-average numbers in 2021 and 2022, so there should be plenty of 2-year-old and 3-year-old gobblers around. Hunters took 15,673 bearded turkeys during Spring 2023, and biologists expect the 2024 harvest to be on par with that.

The ODNR began an extensive program in the 1950s to reintroduce turkeys to the Buckeye State. Ohio’s first modern turkey season opened in 1966 (nine counties). That season, hunters checked a dozen birds. Populations continued to increase. In 1984, the number of harvested turkeys topped 1,000 for the first time. Spring turkey hunting was opened statewide in 2000. The record Ohio turkey harvest occurred in 2001, when hunters checked 26,156 turkeys.

Ohio has some excellent public hunting opportunities, with more than 651,000 acres available in national forests and various wildlife management areas.

Editor’s Note: Articles about public hunting are always popular with readers, but we’re public-land hunters, too, and we recognize that technology has made it more difficult than ever to keep a great hunting spot secret. As such, we have made some edits to this piece to trim out specific mentions of some public tracts. The information is still out there and easy to find for anyone who wants to do the research, but we’ve decided that with a platform of our size, it’s best not to share all the secrets. — Team Realtree

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