Record kills, expanded hunting zones and improved habitat mean great hunting for fall turkeys in the Buckeye State this season. These biologist-recommended hotspots should be on your list this month.
By Curt Williams
"Our wild turkey population is continuing to grow," said Dave Swanson, research biologist for Ohio's Division of Wildlife. "Hunters who have never gone fall turkey hunting should give it a try."
Last year's fall turkey harvest topped out at 2,394 birds. Ashtabula County led with 160 birds harvested, followed by Guernsey (126), Coshocton (120), Muskingum (94), Gallia (90) and Knox (90).
Ohio's fall turkey season now includes 36 counties. The 2003 fall season runs from Oct. 11-26 for shotgun and archery hunters, and the special archery turkey season runs from Oct. 27 through Dec. 1.
The following regional hotspots come highly recommended for a quality fall outing.
POWELSON WILDLIFE AREA The 2,775-acre Powelson Wildlife Area is in Ohio's top turkey-producing county. Muskingum County ranked fourth in last year's overall fall turkey harvest, and this year looks to be just as productive.
Powelson is four miles north of Zanesville between state Route 60 and the Muskingum River.
Photo by Kraig Haske
Approximately 76 percent of the area is covered by woodlands, of which 40 percent consists of saw log-size stands of timber. The remainder is primarily in brush with some open land.
Due to the rugged terrain and high walls left behind from strip-mining procedures, hunters should use caution when hunting in this wildlife area, especially when traveling in the dark.
There are several small parking lots in the Powelson Wildlife Area. The best access is from county Road 49, which runs east from state Route 60. This public hunting area is 27 miles from Coshocton, 60 miles from Columbus, and 124 miles from Cleveland.
For additional information on the turkey hunting opportunities available in southeastern Ohio, contact the ODOW's Wildlife District Four office, 360 East State Street, Athens OH 45701.
BRUSH CREEK STATE FOREST In the southwestern region of the state, 12,600-acre Brush Creek State Forest provides hunters with great fall turkey opportunities in northeastern Adams County approximately an hour's drive from the Columbus and Cincinnati metro areas.
Adams County is one of the better gobbler-producing counties in this section of the state thanks to the excellent wild turkey habitat that covers this heavily forested region of Ohio.
To reach the forest, follow state Route 32 to state Route 73. Turn south onto Coffee Ridge Road. Brush Creek Forest is fragmented between large blocks of private holdings. Study a map and scout the proposed hunting region for a successful outing.
Lodging is available by following state Route 73 south to Portsmouth, or backtrack to state Route 32 and the West Union area.
Maps and additional information can be obtained from the Brush Creek State Forest office, 275 State Route 73, Peebles, OH 45660-9592; or call (740) 372-3194.
Hunting information can be obtained from the Wildlife District Five office, 1076 Old Springfield Pike, Xenia, OH 45385; or call (937) 372-9261.
EAST FORK WILDLIFE AREA Clermont County's East Fork Wildlife Area provides fall turkey hunters with 2,248 acres of prime habitat. Although this are is not heavily timbered, turkeys have taken hold here and are thriving.
This wildlife area is east of Cincinnati close to the southwestern edge of Williamsburg. The area can be reached from connecting roads off state Route 133 east of the area and old state Route 32 west of Williamsburg.
Maps and additional information on turkey hunting at East Fork Wildlife Area can be obtained from the ODOW's Wildlife District Five office in Xenia.
TAR HOLLOW STATE FOREST In Ross County, less than an hour's drive south of the state capital, 16,000-acre Tar Hollow State Forest features steep, heavily wooded habitat near Chillicothe.
This is Ohio's third largest state forest, and it has plenty of room for a fall turkey hunt. Sections of the forest recommended for hunting include Boblett Hollow, Church Hollow and Lyons Hollow. In the northern portion of the forest, recommended turkey cover includes the woods near North Ridge Road and Slickaway Hollow.
To reach Tar Hollow, follow U.S. Route 23 to Chillicothe, and then turn east on U.S. Route 50 to Londonderry. State Route 327 heads north to the forest and numerous county roads lead to the forestlands.
Tar Hollow State Park supplies camping areas and can be contacted by phoning (740) 887-4818. Additional lodging can be found in nearby Chillicothe.
Maps and additional information can be obtained by writing the Tar Hollow State Forest office, Route 1 Box 387, Londonderry, OH 45647-9632; or call (740) 887-3879.
NEW LYME WILDLIFE AREA This 690-acre turkey hotspot is in Ashtabula County. The topography is mostly flat with 70 percent woodlands.
The area is 40 miles from Youngstown and 53 miles from Cleveland in central Ashtabula County, two miles east of South New Lyme. This public hunting area is best reached from the north and south by following state Route 46 to either Brownville Road or Dodgeville Road.
For maps and additional information, contact the ODOW'S Wildlife District Three office, 912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron, OHo 44319; or call (330) 644-2293.
BRUSH CREEK WILDLIFE AREA This rugged 3,065-acre public hunting area in Jefferson County has been specifically managed for forest game species and contains excellent turkey habitat. A 519-acre tract was recently purchased in partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation to provide Ohio hunters with additional turkey hunting opportunities. Turkey hunting is obviously a major recreational use of this wildlife area.
Elevations vary from 760 to 1,360 feet above sea level, which makes for some steep hunting terrain. Second- growth hardwoods occu
py over 80 percent of this area with oak and hickory dominating the upper slopes.
The Brush Creek Wildlife Area is six miles southeast of Salineville in northern Jefferson County, 35 miles from Steubenville and 66 miles from Akron. Access is via county Road 55, which can be reached from state Route 164 at Monroeville. Township roads provide good access to most of the wildlife area.
Additional information can be obtained from the Area Manager, Highlandtown Wildlife Area, 16760 Spring Valley Road, Salineville, OH 43945; or call (330) 679-2201.
Additional information can be obtained from the ODOW's Wildlife District Three office in Akron.
MOHICAN MEMORIAL STATE FOREST Mohican Memorial State Forest contains 4,500 acres of excellent turkey habitat in southern Ashland County. This forest is south of Mansfield and less than an hour from Columbus or Cleveland via Interstate Route 71 and state routes 97 and 3.
Hunting is not permitted within Memorial Forest Park or Mohican State Park, but the boundaries for these areas are marked with red paint. Private property boundaries are marked with yellow paint.
Lodging is available at Mohican State Park Lodge, and campsites are available in the park. For maps and additional information, contact the Mohican State Forest office, 3060 County Road 939, Perrysville, OH 44864-9791; or call (419) 938-6222.
For lodge reservations, contact the Mohican State Park Lodge, RD 2, Perrysville, OH 44864; or call (419) 938-5411.
For additional information on turkey hunting opportunities in northeast Ohio, contact the Wildlife District Three in Akron.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION Only shotguns, crossbows and longbows are permitted for fall turkey hunting in Ohio. The bag limit is one turkey of either sex. A fall turkey permit is required, and hunting hours are from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset.
Hunting wild turkeys over bait is prohibited, and taking them from a tree stand is unlawful.
Additional fall turkey hotspots include Zaleski, Hocking, Shawnee and Scioto Trail state forests.
For more information on fall turkey hunting in Ohio, call (800) WILDLIFE or write to the Ohio Division of Wildlife headquarters, 1840 Belcher Drive, Columbus OH 43224-1300.
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