---- — CONCORD — New Hampshire’s five-day fall shotgun turkey hunting season ends Friday, Oct. 19, in all but six of the state’s Wildlife Management Units.
Areas open to fall shotgun turkey hunting encompass much of the Connecticut River Valley and Southern New Hampshire, including WMUs D1, D2, G, H1, H2, I1, I2, J1, J2, K, L and M. Because fall harvest tends to favor females and given the number of permits sold each year, the fall shotgun season is restricted to five weekdays only, to avoid overharvest and a subsequent impact on spring hunting opportunities.
For a map and more information on turkey hunting in New Hampshire, visit huntnh.com/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_turkey.htm.
The turkey license required to hunt turkey in New Hampshire covers both the spring and fall turkey seasons during a calendar year; the price is $16 for residents and $31 for nonresidents. In addition to the turkey license, residents also must have a current N.H. hunting, archery or combination license, and nonresidents must have a big game hunting or archery license, depending on their hunting plans. Youth hunters are reminded that they do require a turkey license.
Hunters may take only a single turkey (of either sex) during the fall, either with bow and arrow during the archery season, or with a shotgun during the shotgun season. The bird must be tagged with the “fall” tag that comes on the turkey license.
New Hampshire also has a long fall archery season for turkey, which runs from Sept. 15 through Dec. 15 throughout the state, with the exception of WMU A, which is closed to fall turkey hunting.
Ted Walski, N.H. Fish and Game’s turkey project leader, advises that the state’s wild turkeys are doing well this year. The early summer 2012 wild turkey brood survey indicated a favorable hatch, which will add a significant number of turkeys to the fall population.
A majority of the hatch occurred during May, because the mildest winter in 40 years stimulated early green-up and nesting. Walski reports numerous observations of abundant turkey flocks throughout the state during September and October. All this means there should be some good opportunity for turkey hunting in New Hampshire this fall. With the virtual absence this year of beechnuts, wild apples and other small fruits, turkeys are more likely to be found in fields rather than in the dense woods.
Last fall (2011), hunters registered a total of 643 turkeys in New Hampshire during the fall season, 432 of them taken during the five-day shotgun season.
Since turkeys tend to gather in groups in the fall, hunters are advised to be extremely selective in deciding when to shoot, both as a matter of safety and to guard against hitting more than one bird with a single shot.
“Even if the turkeys are not ‘flocked up,’ their cryptic coloration, coupled with the pellet pattern cast by a shotgun, requires that hunters exercise extreme restraint when choosing a shot,” says Fish and Game Wildlife Division Chief Mark Ellingwood. “Pursuit of flocks visible from public roadways is discouraged for reasons of safety and fair-chase.”
Licenses, permits and more information on turkey hunting in New Hampshire is available at huntnh.com/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_turkey.htm.
Want to take a friend hunting? Check out the new Apprentice Hunting License, which allows people a chance to hunt under the guidance of an experienced hunter age 18 or older, without having to take a Hunter Education course first. Learn more at huntnh.com/Hunting/apprentice.html.