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Turkey hunters log 21 kills

Ohio hunters took a combined 208 wild turkeys in three new counties, including Lawrence, where the fall turkey season opened for the first time this year.

Tuesday, November 09, 1999

Ohio hunters took a combined 208 wild turkeys in three new counties, including Lawrence, where the fall turkey season opened for the first time this year.

Check stations recorded 21 turkeys taken in Lawrence County during the Oct. 18-24 season, said Michael Budzik, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife chief.

The population had grown and the county had met its minimum turkey harvest from spring seasons during the last few years, said Lloyd Culbertson, a Division of Wildlife research technician stationed in Athens.

And, this year, Lawrence County bordered at least two to three other counties with fall turkey seasons, so the state opened the local season, Culbertson said.

Randy Shepherd, owner of Arabia Pit Stop, said hunters tagged 11 wild turkeys at his store.

One was a gobbler while the rest came from this year’s hatch, he said.

"I thought that was pretty good because they’re not gobbling this time of year," he added.

Most hunters favor the spring turkey season because turkeys are easier to track when looking for mates.

Still, across much of Ohio, the fall season broke records, Budzik said.

Counties saw a record harvest of 3,047 this season in 25 counties, he said.

The preliminary figure is an increase of 147 percent from last year’s harvest total of 1,234. Hunters checked in 1,207 wild turkeys during the 1997 season and 1,226 birds during the inaugural fall season in 1996.

Guernsey County recorded the most taken at 257 this year, followed by Harrison, 216; Coshocton, 204; Tuscarawas, 176 and Jackson, 172.

Athens County recorded a 114-bird harvest while Gallia saw 69 birds taken.

And this year’s drought-like weather did not affect the turkey populations, Culbertson said.

"It looks like at least at the local level we had superb reproduction this year," he said.

Although the drought lowered insect populations that turkeys feast on, the 17-year cicada swarms boosted the food supply, Culbertson said.

And, turkey hatchlings are susceptible to cold rains, so the drought kept that danger away as well, he said.