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Promising Outlook for New Hampshire Turkey Hunt Spring Gobbler Season: May 3-31; Youth Hunt: April 30-May 1


Hunting- Things look good for a successful 2005 New Hampshire spring gobbler season, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Turkey Project Biologist Ted Walski. The state's turkey hunting season runs from Tuesday, May 3, through May 31, with a youth weekend just prior, set for April 30-May 1, 2005.

"I'd predict our turkey hunters could take a record harvest of about 3,000 gobblers in 2005," Walski said. New Hampshire hunters took 2,706 turkeys during the May 2004 hunt, and 2,600 birds in May 2003. The state also has a three-month fall turkey hunt that is archery-only; during the 2004 fall season, archers took a total of 341 birds. In 2004, New Hampshire sold about 18,000 turkey-hunting permits overall.

A New Hampshire hunting license and $6 turkey permit are required for all hunters 16 years and older. Youth hunters (under age 16) must have a turkey permit, but do not need a license. Licenses and permits can be purchased online (click here for online sales) or from license agents statewide.

Hunting hours during the spring season are one-half hour before sunrise to noon. Hunters may take one male or bearded turkey by archery or shotgun, and birds must be registered within 12 hours.

"Last summer's wild turkey hatch was above average, and productivity was good. People were reporting seeing turkeys everywhere," Walski said. "It also was helpful to have a second successive relatively easy winter for wild turkeys, especially since there were very few acorns and beechnuts during the fall of 2004, and the crop of wild apples and other fruits was relatively poor. So we have a lot of turkeys out there in the field!"

Last year's first-ever New Hampshire youth turkey hunting weekend was a big success, with youth taking 321 gobblers, or 12 percent of the total May 2004 season harvest. Once again this year, the weekend before opening day (April 30-May 1) will be a youth turkey hunt reserved for hunters under age 16 guided by a properly licensed adult. The adult may not hunt.

All hunters should keep in mind some basic safety tips when turkey hunting: Never stalk a turkey -- rather than stalking, scout out a good spot, call and wait for the turkeys to come to you. Be seen! Turkey hunters should always wear a blaze orange hat or vest as they enter and leave the area they are hunting. Tying blaze-orange survey tape around a decoy/calling location can alert other hunters to your presence and won't scare the birds. Avoid clothes with the colors red, white and blue and black, as these are the colors of the male turkey. Be alert -- remember that other hunters may be using a decoy and calling.

"We have hunting opportunities like this in New Hampshire only because wild turkeys have been such an amazing wildlife restoration success story," Walski said. Turkeys had completely disappeared from the Granite State by the mid-1800s. In 1975, Fish and Game released 25 wild turkeys. Since then, careful management based on good science has allowed the state to grow that number to more than 25,000 birds statewide. These restoration efforts are funded through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration program.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats.

Source: New Hampshire Fish and Game Department


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