Ted Walski: (603) 352-9669
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
April 16, 2010
2010 Spring Gobbler Season Looks Good for N.H. Turkey Hunters
CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire’s turkey hunters can expect a productive spring gobbler season, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game Department turkey biologist Ted Walski. The spring season opens Monday, May 3, and runs through May 31 statewide. New Hampshire's Youth Turkey Hunt Weekend immediately precedes the season, taking place on May 1-2 (Saturday and Sunday).
Walski reports seeing turkeys gobbling and displaying since mid-January. Last winter was a relatively easy one for turkeys and other wildlife in N.H. Late January rains knocked down the snow cover and created a solid crust on the snow, which helped turkey movement to feeding areas during the cold months. Turkeys ate a lot of apples and acorns and benefited from areas of bare ground throughout much of the winter.
Some turkey breeding was observed in early March, which means that most of the hatching this year may occur in May rather than June, according to Walski. Most hens may begin incubation on nests in April, so that when the season begins May 1 (with the Youth Hunt Weekend) gobblers may be quite interested in coming to hunters' calls.
During the spring 2009 gobbler season, New Hampshire hunters harvested 4,063 turkeys. “This year's spring harvest is likely to be in the same range, if not better,” said Walski. "I've seen sizeable groups of adult males. Hunters will be happy to see that."
Turkeys have begun gobbling early in the mornings between 6:00 and 6:15 a.m. since the end of March. "Try to get out and drive some early morning gobbling routes,” says Walski. “Start about a half-hour before daybreak. Stop at one-half to one-mile intervals along a 5- to 10-mile route in the region you intend to hunt; get out of the vehicle and listen for gobbling turkeys and drumming grouse for four minutes at each stop.” This is the same method employed by Fish and Game biologists, who survey several 10-mile routes each spring between April 15 and May 10, listening for turkey and grouse.
The purchase of your N.H. turkey license for the spring season also allows you to participate in the fall turkey hunt. Licenses are available online at www.huntnh.com or from any license agent. Consider taking a young person out during the Youth Hunt Weekend (remember that youth hunters DO need to have a valid turkey permit).
"Have an interesting turkey hunt and be sure to observe all the other things in the spring woods!" said Walski.
Hear Ted Walski talk about the upcoming turkey season (and why wild turkeys are like a New York street gang) on Fish and Game's April 2010 Radio Diner Podcast. Just go to http://blog.wildnh.com or find it on the New Hampshire Fish and Game website at www.wildnh.com/broadcast. Anyone with a computer can listen in, or you can download the show for listening on an iPod or other mobile device.
All hunters should keep in mind some key safety guidelines for turkey hunting:
- Always positively identify your target.
- Never assume that calls and movement indicate the presence of a turkey -- hunters commonly imitate turkey calls and use decoys in order to locate and/or attract turkeys.
- Never stalk a turkey; you could be mistaken for game -- rather than stalking, scout out a good spot, call and wait for the turkeys to come to you.
- Be seen! Turkey hunters should always wear a blaze orange hat or vest as they enter and leave the area they are hunting. Tie blaze-orange survey tape around a decoy/calling location to alert other hunters to your presence; it won’t scare the birds.
- Avoid clothes with the colors red, white and blue and black, as these are the colors of the male turkey.
For more information on turkey hunting in New Hampshire, including a list of registration stations, turkey hunting regulations and important safety tips, visit www.huntnh.com/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_turkey.htm.
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