New Hampshire has 40,000 turkeys
Change is the only constant for the state's turkey population.
Once abundant, the last wild turkey was spotted in Weare in 1854. Now there are an estimated 40,000 birds in the state, thanks to a restoration effort that began with 25 birds in Walpole in 1975.
Ted Walski, New Hampshire Fish and Game's turkey biologist, has been at the job since 1972. He said loss of habitat played a major role in the turkey's decline, as well as unregulated hunting.
The bird's revival began when the state traded a number of fisher cats for 25 turkeys from the Allegheny Mountains of New York and Pennsylvania.
One hunter who is happy the turkeys made a comeback is Steve Carpenter of Plymouth. He will have a domesticated bird on the table today, but does enjoy eating wild turkey breast.
Wild birds are about the same size as on most tables today - about 18 pounds from the field.
"They're tough," Carpenter said of both eating and catching New Hampshire's wild gobblers. "I won't eat the legs," he said.
"I first tried baking them. That wasn't good. Now I deep-fry and season with bread crumbs. Some guys like to soak them in buttermilk overnight," rather than a brine, he said.
At first, Carpenter plucked the birds, but found it is too much work.
"Never again," he shook his head.
Carpenter now skins the breasts and just cooks and eats the breast meat, which he said is darker and not as tender as a domestic bird.
Wild turkeys now roam in gangs of 20 or so in neighborhoods from New Castle to Pittsburg, roosting on swing sets, grazing at feeders, often stopping traffic as they scoot across roadways.
When are there too many turkeys, Walksi was asked.
"I don't have a concern for overpopulation," he said.
- - - - - - - -
Paula Tracy may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Triplet-feature film lineup explores a bit of animal magnetism - 0
- Brian Regan brings wit to Capitol Center - 0
- Rockers Guster to blow through Manchester - 0
- Lipizzan stallions high-step into NH - 0
- Cruising Downtown revs up in the Queen City Saturday - 0
- North Shore Acappella to appear in Wolfeboro - 0
- The Portsmouth Underbelly Tour exposes the seedy side of Seacoast lore - 0
- Steely Dan to take the stage at Meadowbrook Saturday - 0
- Tom Keifer from Cinderella to play Tupelo Music Hall - 0
Win tickets to see the Pretty Reckless
Win tickets to see ZZ Top
Win tickets to see Ziggy Marley
Fish & Game gets bat disease grant
Where is Shaheen? Hiding from you
Reports: Market Basket doomsday plan would shutter 61 of 71 stores if deal not struck soon
GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help