Turkey population efforts underway

By Dan Armitage, outdoor writer

Ohio’s wild turkey abundance peaked in the early 2000s and since then, statewide turkey populations and spring harvest have generally declined. My own gobbler-hunting experiences reflect that decline. That’s why I was glad to hear that the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) began an in-depth study of wild turkey nesting and movement in 2023 to better understand and manage the state’s changing turkey population. The study effort was expanded in 2024, when 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.

What’s more, each summer, the Division 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.… Continue reading