Across the state, and particularly in the Lakes Region, wild turkeys have made their presence known in large numbers, becoming residents of most New Hampshire towns, according to state officials.
Fish and Game officials, who are asking residents to help count the big birds this month, say they rarely receive complaints about them.
"They've established kind of a lazy daytime roost in the rural areas, and near the cities, they are becoming suburban birds," said Ted Walski, N.H. Fish and Game Turkey Project biologist. "They have become like some of the bear and the deer. They go where they want, and they think they own you."
Turkeys disappeared for decades because of overhunting, but were restored through a Fish and Game program led by Walski.
There has been talk among hunters that the state should increase the length of its turkey hunting seasons.
Walski said the state's 40,000-plus wild turkeys now "make their living around people," especially in winter when they eat from bird feeders. In warmer months they frequent yards and meadows near humans, munching on insects.
Fish and Game officials think turkeys have reached their "carrying capacity," or the maximum population the environment can sustain indefinitely, in western parts of the state, Walski said. They are near carrying capacity in the Lakes Region.
Fish and Game officials urge people to report sightings of hen turkeys, with or without young, from now through the end of August online at wildnh.com/turkeybroodsurvey.