Field & Stream: Turkey Harvest Down Slightly in N.H.
Hunters harvested a total of 4,203 turkeys in New Hampshire during the 2018 spring hunt. This was down slightly from the total of 4,482 taken in the 2017 spring season and ranks as the third highest spring harvest. The youth hunt weekend resulted in a harvest of 339 turkeys.
“The winter of 2017-18 was again fairly easy for wild turkeys in much of the state where turkey flocks wandered at will and were provided good nutrition and fat from the availability of acorns and beech nuts,” said longtime N.H. Fish and Game Turkey Biologist Ted Walski.
“The slight reduction in the spring 2018 harvest may have been the result of reduced hunter participation during the second half of the season as abnormally high temperatures resulted in early green-up and high tick numbers.”
Of the 18 Wildlife Management Units, J2 (north of Route 4 to Lake Winnipesaukee) had the most turkeys taken (642), followed by K (western Hillsboro County) with 544, then H2 (470) in Cheshire County, and M (454) in the southeast. These four units have consistently produced the highest harvests in recent years. Heavy gobblers were fairly numerous with a total of 45 weighing 24 pounds or more.
Further details of the data from the 2018 spring gobbler season will be available in the 2018 New Hampshire Wildlife Harvest Summary, which will be published in March 2019.
Turkey usually have their young in very late March through June. Gobbling will start in February, especially by the juvenile males. They are doing their best to get themselves higher up in the pecking order. But a 2-3 year-old tom will win out every time.
The bulk of the eggs hatch in June. They will lay up to 14 eggs with most hatching but only half surviving. So this is where Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire Fish and Game is asking for the public’s help in monitoring observations of wild turkey broods through its annual turkey brood survey that runs through Aug. 31.
With spring turkey numbers looking good, this should allow for a very fruitful fall season that will get started with the archery season in September. However, season and bag limits change by state. So check the rules where you are planning on hunting.
Deer herd looks good
Mass. deer hunters who put in for antlerless deer permits should now check the MassWildlife web site where you bought your license to see if you got a permit. If you put in for a permit for zones 10 to 14 you were a winner. The other nine zones are a bit up in the air. So look close. If you were drawn it will cost you $5.
Now there is some very good news here too with the adding of two additional weeks of the archery season in zones 10 to 14. These surplus permits will go on sale starting Sept. 25 until they are sold out.
Just a fact for this year, the Massachusetts deer herd looks like it is well over 100,000 now. Not bad for a state with 6.5 million people.
The Centralville Sportsmen’s Club at 308 Wheeler Road in Dracut will have a Steer Roast on Aug. 25 from noon to 5 p.m. They will have corn on the cob and potato salad and for cooling off a water slide, bouncy house and face painting.
The Harvard Sportsmen’s Club will have a unique Hunter Safety Course Sept. 20 and 29. Two days with two days of homework. The course is free and you pre-register by calling 508-389-7830 .
The Merrimack River herring return was a remarkable 448,000-- up from just 100 fish ten years ago. But still we are not allowed to keep 5-10 fish for smoking, dinner, or snagging to catch a striped bass. But there will be millions upon millions of herrings out to sea for lobster fishermen to use as bait.
If I am wrong on this I stand corrected. But I think not. The lobster guys just don’t use that many herring!
Bill Biswanger’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org