We mainly think about turkeys in the fall when the holidays are approaching, but there is a spring gobbler hunting season that runs from May 1–31 this year in the Granite State.
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Turkey Biologist Ted Walski predicts another good harvest for the 2019 season.
Walski was instrumental in reintroducing turkeys to the state beginning in 1975, when 25 wild birds were released. Careful management based on sound science has brought the population to around 40,000 birds today.
This year, for the first time, spring turkey hunters can harvest a second male or bearded bird after their first bird has been legally registered. While the first bird may be taken anywhere in the state, the other bird may only be taken in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) H1, H2, J2, K, L, or M.
Turkey hunters who harvest a second bird during the spring season forfeit their chance to take a fall bird during either the statewide fall archery season or during the 7-day fall shotgun season. The fall shotgun season is restricted to WMUs D2, G, H1, H2, I1, I2, J1, J2, K, L and M. The fall season allows for the taking of one bird of either sex.
About 20,000 people participate in turkey hunting in New Hampshire out of a total of approximately 60,000 hunters in the state. Last year, spring turkey hunters harvested 4,204 birds. Read more about the turkey harvest by town and WMU in the newly published 2018 NH Wildlife Harvest Summary, available at https://bit.ly/2PY99sI.
For turkey hunting, adult hunters (16 or older) must have a regular New Hampshire hunting, combination, or archery license and a turkey license to hunt turkeys. A New Hampshire turkey license is $16 for state residents and $31 for nonresidents. A small game license does not allow for the hunting of turkeys.
Youth hunters (under age 16) do not need a hunting, combination, or archery license but they do need a turkey license. Also, they need to be accompanied by a licensed adult who is 18 years of age or older.
If you want to try turkey hunting this spring and have not completed Hunter Education yet, consider the Apprentice Hunting License. This license allows those 16 and older interested in trying hunting to do so under the guidance of an experienced hunter without first taking Hunter Education. Apprentice turkey hunters must also possess a turkey license. Learn more at www.huntnh.com/hunting/apprentice.html.
Licenses are available online at www.huntnh.com or from any license agent.
Detailed information regarding the 2019 spring and fall turkey seasons are available at: www.huntnh.com/hunting/documents/turkey-regs.pdf. To learn more about turkeys in New Hampshire, visit https://www.wildnh.com/wildlife/profiles/wild-turkey.html.