Take a Kid Hunting on Youth Turkey Weekend

CONCORD, NH — New Hampshire’s 2017 youth turkey hunt will take place Saturday, April 29, and Sunday, April 30, the weekend before spring gobbler season gets underway. During the 2016 youth weekend, young hunters took 484 turkeys or 12.5% of the spring season’s take.

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.

According to Walski, New Hampshire’s wild turkeys fared well during the winter of 2017 because of low total snow cover and significant periods with bare ground, allowing good mobility and nutrition and fat from the availability of acorns. “There could be a record harvest for the upcoming May 2017 spring gobbler season (May 3-May 31),” says Walski. “The semi-drought conditions of spring/summer 2016 contributed to an above-average hatch, followed by a relatively easy winter.”

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 things.

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.