Biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife have recommended a major reduction to the 2022 fall wild turkey hunting season.
The proposal submitted during the Ohio Wildlife Council meeting on Jan. 12 seeks to reduce the season to Oct. 15 to Nov. 13, a reduction of three weeks when compared to the 2021 fall season.
Wild turkey populations have declined throughout Ohio following several years of below average reproductive success.
The fall turkey hunting proposal was part of a larger package of season dates presented to the Wildlife Council that includes small game, waterfowl, and furbearers.
The proposed reduction in the fall goes along with a reduced limit for the spring season.
Ohio hunters harvested 695 wild turkeys during the 2021 fall season that was open in 70 of 88 counties. The average harvest during the three previous years (2018 to 2020) was 1,079 birds.
Additional 2022-23 hunting season dates proposed include the traditional start of squirrel and mourning dove on Sept. 1; furbearer hunting and trapping on Nov. 10; and rabbit and pheasant on Nov. 4.
Waterfowl hunting dates in the Lake Erie marsh zone were proposed to begin on Oct. 15 with the north and south zone waterfowl openers proposed Oct. 22.
White-tailed deer hunting season proposals will be presented council on Feb. 9.
A statewide hearing on all proposed rules is scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 24.
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all Ohio Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. Council meetings are held virtually and open to the public.
Individuals interested in providing comments are asked to call 614-265-6304 at least two days prior to the meeting to register. All comments are required to be three minutes or less.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Jeffersonian: Proposal to shorten fall turkey season by three weeks presented to ODNR