CONTACT:
Ted Walski, N.H. Fish and Game Turkey Project Biologist: 603-352-9669
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211
June 30, 2009

Good 2009 Spring Turkey Season in New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire had a good spring turkey hunt in 2009, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Turkey Project Biologist Ted Walski.  The final 2009 spring gobbler season harvest for the state was 4,056 turkeys.  Of this total, the breakdown was: 2,609 adult toms, 1,435 jakes and 12 bearded hens.  This year's take was just under last year's 2008 harvest total of 4,107 turkeys.  The spring gobbler season runs from May 3-31 in New Hampshire.

During the Youth Turkey Hunt Weekend (held April 25-26, 2009), young hunters harvested 570 gobblers, or 14.1% of the total spring harvest.  This was about the same as the 579 turkeys taken during youth weekend in 2008. 

On opening day of the 2009 season (Sunday, May 3, 2009), hunters registered 932 gobblers, or 26.8% of the 3,474 gobblers taken during the regular season. The next- highest harvest days were:  Monday, May 4, with 269 birds taken; Tuesday, May 5, with 190 birds taken; Friday, May 8, with 202 taken; and Saturday, May 9, with 258 birds harvested. Most of the hunting pressure and harvest appeared to be over by May 18.  After that date, 562 gobblers were taken or 16.2% of the regular season gobbler total.  The last weekend of the season (May 30-31) accounted for 115 gobblers, or 3.3% of the total regular gobbler season take.

Of the state's ten counties, the highest totals were in Grafton (734 turkeys taken), Merrimack (647), Hillsboro (557), and Cheshire (491).  Of the 18 Wildlife Management Units into which the state is divided, there were no significant changes in harvest from the 2008 to 2009 season.  Unit J2, east and north of Concord, registered the most gobblers (530), followed by Unit H2 (505) and Unit K (487).

"It is gratifying to see the continued increases in turkey numbers and harvest in eastern and northern regions of the state," said Walski. "It was also good to see numerous adult toms composing a large portion of the harvest."

The 2009 harvest of 1,435 jakes (35.5%) and 2,609 toms (64.5%) was a juvenile to adult harvest ratio of 0.55 to 1.00, or approximately two toms registered for each jake.  The lower percentage of juveniles may be partly because of lower productivity of young that resulted from poorer hatching weather last year, Walski said.

"The 2009 spring turkey season represents a good harvest," said Walski. "Hunters said turkeys were 'everywhere' and not hard to find.  There were many towns with good numbers of turkeys harvested.  The number of adult toms registered was double the number of jakes.  However, this was another year with an early end to winter and early spring green-up.  These conditions encourage turkeys to start breeding earlier, and the early vegetation reduces visibility and sound somewhat when hunting.  Turkeys were also in the woods somewhat more than in the fields, using the past fall's acorns and beechnuts."

For more on turkey hunting in New Hampshire, visit www.huntnh.com/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_turkey.htm.

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