CONCORD, N.H. — N.H. Fish and Game Turkey Biologist Ted Walski predicts a possible record harvest in the upcoming 2018 spring gobbler season. The spring turkey hunt opens on May 3, and runs through May 31, statewide.
New Hampshire’s Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend is set for April 28-29, 2018. Last year’s youth weekend hunters registered 494 turkeys, or 11.0% of the spring season total.
Note: Any proposed changes to the spring turkey season rules made during the current 2018 biennial season-setting process WILL NOT BECOME EFFECTIVE UNTIL SPRING 2019.
About 20,000 people hunt turkey in New Hampshire, out of a total of approximately 60,000 hunters in the state. Last year (2017), spring turkey hunters took 4,482 birds. See turkey harvest by town and Wildlife Management Unit in the newly published NH Wildlife Harvest Summary, available at www.huntnh.com/hunting/documents/2017-harvest-summary.pdf for more information.
“There should be a good turkey harvest during the May 2018 Spring Gobbler Season,” said Walski. “While spring 2017 had some potentially poor hatching weather with rainy/cold periods, late summer showed some fairly good reproductive success.” The Summer 2017 Public Internet Turkey Brood Survey recorded 1,784 turkey brood observations, and the month of August had a statewide average of 3.32 poults per hen.
Winter 2018 has been relatively easy for wild turkeys. There were three thawing periods during January, which created bare ground sites on south-facing slopes. Again in February a 19-day thawing period produced numerous bare ground sites. Turkeys have also fattened up on the abundant acorn crop still laying on the ground.
Since the middle of February turkey flocks have been congregating, with gobblers displaying and fighting. Numerous flocks were observed during winter 2018, typically of 25 to 30 turkeys per flock, and some flocks of 50 to 75 turkeys.