Youth Turkey Hunt Scheduled

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New Hampshire's 2005 youth turkey hunt will take place April 30-May 1, 2005, the weekend before spring gobbler season gets underway. Last year, during the state's first-ever youth turkey hunting weekend, the kids took 321 gobblers, or about 12 percent of the total May 2004 season harvest, during the two-day hunt.

To participate, youth hunters must be under age 16. They do not need to have a hunting license, but must buy a turkey permit and be accompanied by a properly licensed adult. The adult may not hunt. An adult may guide two youths on the hunt, although the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department recommends that less-experienced hunters take a single youth. Youth are also allowed to hunt turkeys during the regular spring gobbler season (May 3-31), but the special weekend gives them a quiet time with less competition in the woods, when the focus can be on safety and education for young hunters.

"The youth weekend is an opportunity to introduce young people, under the careful guidance of an experienced adult, to an exciting hunting opportunity," said Mark Ellingwood, wildlife programs administrator for Fish and Game. "Turkey hunting is a chess game that pits your skills, knowledge and experience against a million years of evolved turkey wariness and vigilance. Sharing these experiences helps build bonds that can last a lifetime and provides an opportunity to take advantage of one of New Hampshire's wildlife restoration success stories -- the re-establishment of wild turkeys."

Hunting hours during the youth weekend are one-half hour before sunrise to noon (as for the regular gobbler season). Hunters may take one male or bearded wild turkey by archery or shotgun. Bird registration is required within 12 hours.

If you plan to accompany a youth or hunt during the spring gobbler season, make sure you have fulfilled the hunter education requirement for all first-time hunting license holders in New Hampshire. Click here for a list of available hunter education courses, as well as information on a home-study option. Hunter education is not required for youth participating in the youth weekend. Hunter education classes are made possible by funds from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program.