Hunters harvested a total of 5,076 turkeys during the 2019 spring season, setting a new spring season record. This was an increase of 872 turkeys or 20.7% over the 2018 season. The youth hunt weekend resulted in a total harvest of 424 turkeys, an increase from 339 birds in 2018, representing 8.4% of the spring season’s total.
Large gobblers were abundant. The heaviest birds recorded this season were between 28 and 25.5 pounds; 45 gobblers weighing 24 or 25 pounds were checked in.
On May 1, opening day, 744 gobblers were registered (14.8%), and during the first weekend, May 4-5, 813 gobblers were registered (16.1%). The total gobbler harvest was comprised of 1,532 jakes (30.3%) and 3,518 toms (69.7%) for a juvenile to adult gobbler harvest ratio of .44 jakes per tom.
Hunters had added opportunity during the spring 2019 season with the addition of a two-gobbler bag limit, where 1 of the 2 turkeys were required to be taken in one of the most populated turkey units in southern New Hampshire: H1, H2, K, J2, L, or M. A total of 903 hunters (21.6%) registered two gobblers.
The harvest results of 2018 and 2019 would likely have been similar if not for the increased 2019 bag limit.
New Hampshire’s southeastern units J2 (853), L (506), and M (617) continue to have gobbler harvests equal to, or surpassing, the original turkey transplant units of H1 (455), H2 (608), and K (677) in the southwestern part of the state.
There were some towns with notable quantities of turkeys harvested including 82 in Gilmanton, 81 in Claremont, 80 in Weare, and 70 in Epsom. A total of 30 towns had 40 or more turkeys taken, while 16 towns recorded 50 or more birds harvested.
Most turkey eggs typically hatch from late May to mid-June. Fish and Game is again asking the public to help in monitoring observations of turkey broods through its annual turkey brood survey which runs through Aug. 31. For additional information and to participate in the survey, click here.