New Hampshire's Fall Shotgun Turkey Season
New Hampshire's five-day fall shotgun turkey hunting season takes place Monday through Friday, October 13-17, 2008, in select Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in the Connecticut River Valley and southwest portions of the state (WMUs D1, D2, G, H1, H2, I1, I2 and K). These areas have New Hampshire's densest wild turkey populations.
Participants in the fall shotgun turkey season need both a turkey license ($16 for N.H. residents or $31 for nonresidents) and a current N.H. firearms hunting license. Hunters can purchase licenses online at www.HuntNH.com or from any Fish and Game license agent.
New Hampshire's turkey license comes with 2 tags, one for use during the spring gobbler season, and one for use during either the fall archery or the fall shotgun turkey season. Hunters are restricted to taking a single turkey 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 regular turkey license.
Mark Ellingwood, a wildlife biologist with Fish and Game, notes that, "Hunters no longer require a special fall shotgun turkey permit in order to hunt the fall season. Beginning in 2008, purchase of a turkey license gives you the option to take a spring bird and a fall bird. The fall bird can be taken during the archery season (statewide, except for WMU A) or the shotgun season, in the 8 designated Wildlife Management Units open to fall shotgun hunting."
Ellingwood advises fall turkey hunters 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 Ellingwood. He also reminds hunters to use good judgment in deciding where to pursue turkey flocks: "Pursuit of flocks visible from public roadways is discouraged for reasons of safety and fair-chase."
New Hampshire's 5-day fall shotgun turkey season has been in place since 2006. Last fall, shotgun hunters tallied 343 turkeys (226 hens and 117 gobblers) from the 8 WMUs open to fall shotgun turkey hunting, all in the western half of the state. During the first year the fall shotgun hunt was offered (2006), hunters took 122 turkeys during the limited season.
New Hampshire's fall archery season for wild turkey runs from September 15 through December 15 (statewide except for WMU A, which is closed to fall turkey hunting). A total of 418 turkeys were harvested during the 2007 fall archery season, double the previous year.
Nearly 20,000 hunters purchase New Hampshire turkey hunting licenses annually. The spring gobbler season, which occurs statewide in May, is the more popular turkey season. During the 2008 spring season, hunters harvested a record 4,098 turkeys in New Hampshire.
For more information on turkey hunting in New Hampshire, visit www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_turkey.htm.
New Hampshire currently has an estimated 40,000 wild turkeys statewide.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's marine, fish and wildlife resources and their habitats. Visit www.HuntNH.com.