Allison Keating: (603) 352-9669
Dan Bergeron: (603) 271-1126
April 7, 2022
Concord, NH –The Granite State’s spring turkey hunt opens on May 1 and runs through May 31. The youth turkey hunt takes place the preceding weekend, Saturday, April 23, and Sunday, April 24. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHFG) urges hunters to take advantage of the state’s weather, woodlands, and natural resources this year with hunting safety in mind.
During the 2021 youth weekend, young hunters took 542 turkeys or 10% of the total spring season’s harvest. To participate in the youth weekend, hunters must be age 15 or younger and accompanied by a properly licensed adult age 18 or older. The mentoring adult may not carry a firearm or bow. Youth hunters do not need a hunting license, but they must have a valid turkey permit, which is $16 for residents and $31 for nonresidents. Accompanying adults must hold either a current New Hampshire hunting or archery license and a turkey permit.
Hunters should be aware of the increased number of people recreating in the outdoors this spring. “Since the COVID pandemic began, we have seen an increase in turkey hunting,” said Allison Keating, NHFG’s Turkey Project Leader. “While it is great to see the increased participation, it is more important than ever to keep safety in mind.”
Hunters are strongly encouraged to maximize pre-season scouting, be prepared with back-up locations if their desired spot is busy with other outdoor enthusiasts, and be absolutely sure of their target and what lies beyond it during the spring turkey season. “The past three spring seasons have had record turkey harvests,” Keating commented. “Spring 2021 resulted in 5,399 wild turkeys harvested statewide. All indications are that spring 2022 will be on par with recent years.”
Hunters should also be aware of the recent outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), recently detected in Granite State waterfowl. HPAI is a virus that occurs mainly in wild birds but typically does not cause high mortality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers HPAI to be a low risk to humans. The main threat of the virus is to domestic poultry such as chickens, turkeys, quail, and ducks. HPAI has been detected in a number of states so far this year, including New Hampshire. The virus was first identified in the state in samples taken as part of routine monitoring by NHFG and tested by the US Department of Agriculture Animal (USDA) and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Hunters are encouraged to take extra precautions including:
- Do not harvest or handle dead birds or those that are obviously sick.
- Dress and dispose of game birds in an area away from domestic birds.
- Wear rubber gloves when field dressing your gobbler.
- Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol based sanitizer after handling wild birds.
- Use dedicated tools for processing wild birds, or clean and disinfect tools that may also be used around domestic birds. 1/3 cup of household bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water makes an effective cleaning solution.
- Avoid cross-contamination. Keep uncooked game in a separate container away from cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
- Cook game meat thoroughly. Poultry should measure an internal temperature of 165°F to kill disease organisms and parasites.
To learn more about HPAI, visit https://wildlife.state.nh.us/wildlife/avian-flu.html.
Turkey hunters will also continue to have the option to register their harvested birds online or in person at a local registration station. Regardless of registration method, all harvested birds must be affixed with the tag that is issued with the hunter’s turkey license immediately upon taking, and all birds must be registered within 24 hours. Hunters choosing to harvest two birds in the spring (where permitted) must register their first bird prior to the taking of a second bird. To learn more about registering your harvest visit https://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/hunting/turkey-reg.html.
Spring turkey hunters interested in harvesting two male or bearded birds may take one bird statewide and the other may only be taken in 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 bird during the statewide fall archery and shotgun seasons. 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.
People who would like to try hunting turkeys this spring and were unable to complete Hunter Education should consider the Apprentice Hunting License. This license allows those age 16 and older interested in trying hunting to do so under the guidance of an experienced hunter without first taking Hunter Education. Learn more at www.huntnh.com/hunting/apprentice.html or call (603) 271-3422 for more information.
A New Hampshire turkey license is required for hunters of all ages ($16 for state residents and $31 for nonresidents). Hunters age 16 and older must hold either a current New Hampshire hunting or archery license and a turkey permit. Licenses are available online at https://www.nhfishandgame.com/ or from license agents.
Last year, spring turkey hunters harvested 5,399 birds. For detailed information about the 2021 turkey season harvests, check out the newly published 2021 NH Wildlife Harvest Summary, available at www.wildnh.com/hunting/harvest-summary.html (select 2021).