CONCORD, NH — New Hampshire’s 2018 youth turkey hunt will take place Saturday, April 28, and Sunday, April 29, the weekend before spring gobbler season gets underway. During the 2017 youth weekend, young hunters took 494 turkeys or 11.0% of the spring season’s take.
Note: Any proposed changes to the youth turkey season rules made during the current 2018 biennial season-setting process WILL NOT BECOME EFFECTIVE UNTIL SPRING 2019.
To participate in the youth weekend, hunters must be age 15 or younger and must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult age 18 or older. The adult may not carry a firearm or bow and arrow. Youth hunters do not need a hunting license, but they must have a valid turkey permit ($16 resident, $31 nonresident). Accompanying adults must hold either a current New Hampshire hunting or archery license AND a turkey permit.
The special weekend provides youth and mentoring adults a quiet, noncompetitive time in the woods, where they can focus on safety, ethics, hunting methods, and exploring the natural world.
Fish and Game Turkey Project Leader Ted Walski advises mentors to make sure that youth hunters with little hunting experience pattern their shotgun on targets, do not shoot at turkeys beyond range, and do not take body shots.
“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 a 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.
Pre-season scouting is important during late March and throughout April. Do some early morning gobbling surveys on the back roads, particularly near field sites. Start about one-half hour before sunrise. Stop at one-half to one mile intervals, get out and listen for four minutes at each stop. You will be surprised to hear the gobbling, grouse drumming, and other sounds.
See short video about turkey hunting in New Hampshire — and find more information — at www.huntnh.com/hunting/turkey.html.
Fish and Game urges all turkey hunters to memorize the following list of ten safety guidelines:
Never stalk a turkey. It rarely works and it increases the risk of an accident.
Never wear red, white, blue, or black over- or under-clothing, as these are prominent colors of displaying gobblers.
Never call from a tree that is thinner than the width of your shoulders.
Never jump or turn suddenly in response to a suspected turkey.
Never call from a site where you can’t see at least 40 yards in all directions.
Never imitate a gobbler call while concealed in a stand.
Never presume that what you hear or what responds to your call is a turkey.
Never think that your camouflage makes you totally invisible.
To ID yourself to other hunters, wrap an orange band around the tree nearest you.
Never hide so well that you can’t see what’s happening around you.
Never move or wave to alert approaching hunters; shout “stop” instead.