Why it Matters: After a record setting spring turkey harvest of 5,725 birds in 2022, New Hampshire’s spring turkey hunters took 5,580 birds in spring 2023. According to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s turkey biologist, Allison Keating, this past spring marks the fifth consecutive year that the spring turkey harvest exceeded 5,000 birds. While other areas of the country have experienced declines in turkey populations, the northeast, and New Hampshire specifically, continues to maintain healthy populations of wild turkey and continues to create opportunities for the Granite State’s 20k resident turkey hunters and non-resident hunters alike. In recent years the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and Commission have increased access and opportunities for turkey hunters by way of authorizing .410 shotguns in combination with advanced Tungsten Super Shot (TSS) loads, the addition of crossbow usage during the Fall Archery season in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) L and M, and increased bag limits from one bearded bird in the spring to two bearded birds after checking the first bird in the southern third of the state (WMUs H1, H2, I2, J2, K, L, and M). New Hampshire’s generous three-month long archery season (September 15 – December 15) coupled with a 7-day shotgun season in October for Units WMUs D2, G, H1, H2, I1, I2, J2, K, L, M, offers great opportunities for fall turkey hunters. With 23.3% of spring hunters registering two birds in 2023 and many Granite State hunters turning their attention to whitetail deer pursuits the upcoming Fall turkey season can offer relief for weary deer hunters as well as diehard turkey hunters looking to interact with fall flocks of wild turkey.
- The health of New Hampshire’s wild turkey populations remains strong and is estimated to be around 40,000 birds.
- Opportunities abound in the Granite state with a 3-month archery season and 7-day shotgun season in the upcoming 2023 Fall Season.
- You can report your summer brood flock observations to NH F&G 2023 NH Turkey Brood Survey (google.com). August is the most important month for reporting and is a point of measure of poult recruitment and productivity.
With spring 2023 in the rearview and fall seasons set to kick off next month, planning those fall pursuits should be on your late summer agenda. New Hampshire boasts a very healthy wild turkey population and with a generous three-month long archery season for all but one WMU and a seven day, half hour before sunrise to half hour after sunset, shotgun season, a fall gobbler might just be the adventure you need! Fall turkey hunting offers the hunter an opportunity to observe larger flocks of birds than in the spring, as well as the ability to observe turkey habits and turkey talk unlike spring pursuits. Targeting a fall gobbler can be accomplished by calling or scattering the flock. In New Hampshire the use of a “turkey dog” to scatter a fall flock remains a solid tactic as well as a great tradition in the New Hampshire woodlands. The all-day hunt allows for greater access and opportunities for the hunters of all experience levels looking for an action-packed adventure without the rigors of an all day sit in a deer stand. Greater access for injured hunters and youth hunters exists with the ability to utilize a crossbow during the archery season if the hunter elects to do so in WMUs L and M. With nearly a quarter of all turkey hunters tagging out for the year during the spring season, and most New Hampshire hunters turning their attention towards whitetails, the fall turkey woods are wide open and accessible for your next fall adventure.