The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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December 2, 2012

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Gun season opens with a bang!

(Continued)

Gobblin’ ’em up

Hunters harvested 1,338 wild turkeys during Ohio’s 2012 fall wild turkey season, according to the Division of Wildlife. Ohio’s 2012 fall wild turkey hunting season was open Oct. 13-Nov. 25.

This year’s total is a 2.5 percent decline from 2011, when hunters bagged 1,372 wild turkeys. The 2010 harvest total was 1,425.

“Wild turkey hunting is a challenging activity that thousands of hunters enjoy year after year with family and friends,” ODNR Director James Zehringer said. “Ohio’s wild turkey population remains strong, and we appreciate those hunters who participated in the fall wild turkey season this year.”

The top 11 counties for fall turkey harvest were: Ashtabula (61), Coshocton (56), Geauga and Tuscarawas (53 each), Knox (46), Clermont (42), Licking (41), Guernsey (39), Holmes (38) as well as Adams and Richland (37 each). Ashtabula was also the top county in 2011, with 67 wild turkeys.

Prior to the start of this fall’s hunting season, Ohio’s wild turkey population was approximately 180,000. More than 17,000 hunters, not including private landowners hunting on their own property, enjoyed Ohio’s fall wild turkey season. Hunters could pursue a wild turkey of either sex in 48 counties using a shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, bow or crossbow.

More information about Ohio wild turkey hunting can be found at www.wildohio.com. Hunters can share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.

Note: A list of wild turkeys checked by hunters during the 2012 fall season is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2012, and the 2011 numbers are in parentheses.

Adams: 37 (35); Ashland: 22 (17); Ashtabula: 61 (67); Athens: 32 (27); Belmont: 27 (32); Brown: 21 (26); Carroll: 29 (39); Clermont: 42 (32); Columbiana: 29 (37); Coshocton: 56 (44); Cuyahoga: 2 (0); Defiance: 20 (13); Gallia: 25 (36); Geauga: 53 (31); Guernsey: 39 (53); Harrison: 34 (38); Highland: 32 (37); Hocking: 28 (20); Holmes: 38 (42); Jackson: 21 (17); Jefferson: 23 (20); Knox: 46 (55); Lake: 9 (7); Lawrence: 14 (21); Licking: 41 (40); Lorain: 9 (29); Mahoning: 22 (24); Medina: 11 (17); Meigs: 30 (15); Monroe: 34 (45); Morgan: 17 (23); Morrow: 16 (11); Muskingum: 35 (36); Noble: 31 (50); Perry: 29 (26); Pike: 21 (21); Portage: 19 (18); Richland: 37 (39); Ross: 20 (19); Scioto: 24 (22); Stark: 17 (23); Summit: 9 (3); Trumbull: 36 (31); Tuscarawas: 53 (53); Vinton: 34 (21); Washington: 24 (24); Wayne: 7 (9); Williams: 22 (27). Total: 1,338 (1,372).

Dentistry

For those of you who have had a successful harvest you might want to take note of this. The answer is yes, to a point. If you look at the third molar (from the front) on the bottom jaw, and that tooth has three parts — called a “tricuspid” — then the deer is 1.5 years old. Note that the tooth might actually look like three separate teeth but has only one root. You can take that to the bank.

But if that same tooth is made up of only two parts — a “bicuspid” — the deer is at least 2.5 years old. Beyond that, you can make an educated guess based on wear, but you can’t be certain. Factors such as the type of food the deer eats and its genetics play a big role in tooth wear, so one 3.5-year-old deer’s teeth might wear more than another of the same age. Biologists can make a cross-section cut of the tooth and look at it under a microscope to get exact age, but such methods are beyond most hunters.

So with a deer past the age of 2.5, it’s possible to make a good guess based on tooth wear, but aging any deer older than 2.5 based on tooth wear alone is still an educated guess at best.

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