Ohio's wild turkey hunters are having an excellent season, judging from the taking of 10,374 bearded birds in the first week of the season which opened April 21.
Results last week were mixed, as in mixed up by uncooperative weather, but hunters have nearly two full weeks more of what may be the best hunting before season's end May 18. That is because most hens will be on nest by now, and gobblers should be ranging much more widely, searching for stray, unbred hens.
The first week's kill is up nearly 14 percent from the same period in 2007, and paces forecasts with improved flocks statewide.
"This season has got off to a fantastic start with many hunters, from the young to the more experienced, enjoying success," said Dave Graham, state wildlife chief.
Hunters aged 17 and under killed 1,838 birds in a special, two-day youth-only season that preceded the general statewide season. That bag also was up, compared to 1,630 birds taken a year ago.
Top turkey counties in the bag so far have been Ashtabula 386, Harrison 348, Guernsey 323 and Coshocton 322.
Many northwest Ohio counties showed strikingly higher first-week kills, as seen by the following statistics from the Ohio Division of Wildlife:
Allen 24 (5 in 2007), Defiance 145 (109), Erie 26 (17), Fulton 33 (17), Hancock 5 (10), Hardin 23 (27), Henry 15 (7), Huron 88 (53), Lucas 29 (22), Ottawa 5 (1), Paulding 52 (38), Putnam 45 (32), Sandusky 5 (2), Seneca 60 (45), Van Wert 11 (10), Williams 122 (96), Wood 11 (11) and
Wyandot 33 (18).
The Lucas County total included four birds taken during a special Wheelin' Sportsman hunt on Toledo Express Airport property the first weekend. Four of 12 mobility impaired hunters scored in this second annual event, which is sponsored by the Maumee Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Association in close cooperation with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and Ohio Division of Wildlife. A photo feature on this hunt is scheduled to appear May 25.
Fifteen-year-old Lily Spang of Toledo finished in the top 10 in the 2008-2009 federal Junior Duck Stamp art competition, winning a $500 prize for her work, an acrylic painting of a male hooded merganser. Judging was held recently at the San Diego Zoo.
Spang's entry won the junior stamp competition in Ohio, which entitled her to compete at the national level. She is the daughter of Jonathan "Mark" and Sandra Spang and with her brother, Eli, 13, another budding wildlife artist, is home-schooled.
Her mom said that Lily is looking forward to the next challenge, and is working on a rendering of a red fox, which she plans to enter in the National Rifle Association's 2008 youth wildlife art contest.
The entry deadline for that competition is Oct. 3. Categories cover grades 1 through 12, including home-schooling. Inquiries about the contest can be directed to 703-267-1595 or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teams from Patrick Henry High School in Henry County and Fairview High School in Defiance County are among 14 Ohio entries, including 314 elementary, middle and high school students, who will compete in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) championships Saturday in Louisville.
In all some 3,000 students from across the country will be shooting in the event.
NASP aims at developing recreational archery as a physical education alternative in schools. The program originated in Kentucky in 2002, with Ohio joining in 2004. The two states have the top programs in the country.
The service road at Resthaven State Wildlife Area in Castalia that extends from Cement Street to Herr Road has been closed to traffic, according to Ohio Wildlife District 2 headquarters.
The only road that will be open is the service road from Heywood Road to Ponds No. 7 and No. 11, and that road will be open seasonally through November.
Recreational opportunities at the area remain unchanged, including dog-training grounds, District 2 said.
For other details call the district at 419-424-5000.