New Hampshire Turkey Hunting Laws and Regulations

Turkey Hunting Overview in New Hampshire

Wild turkeys in New Hampshire are considered a remarkable wildlife restoration success story. The state now provides extensive spring and fall turkey hunting opportunities, including a special youth hunt. While the highest concentration of turkeys is found in the Connecticut River Valley, these birds are well-distributed throughout the state, and their distinctive clucks, purrs, and gobbles can be heard in various regions.

Turkey hunting in New Hampshire offers a chance for both experienced and novice hunters to enjoy the outdoors and participate in the conservation and management of the turkey population.

Turkey Hunting Licensing Requirements

When it comes to turkey hunting in New Hampshire, specific licensing requirements apply:

Adult Hunters (16 or older)

  • Adult hunters must possess either a Regular N.H. Hunting License, Combination License, or Archery License in addition to a Turkey License to hunt turkeys.
  • A Small Game License does not permit the hunting of turkeys.

Youth Hunters (Under 16 years of age)

  • Youth hunters under 16 years of age are not required to have a Hunting, Combination, or Archery license, but they do need a turkey license.

Tags and Bag Limits

  • Each Turkey License includes 2 tags, which may be used in any order and allow the harvest of two (2) turkeys per year.
  • During the spring season, turkey hunters have the option to take one (1) male or bearded turkey and a second turkey of either sex during the fall. Alternatively, hunters may take two (2) male or bearded turkeys during the spring season, but the first spring turkey must be legally registered before the second one is taken.
  • For the spring season, one of the turkeys may be taken statewide, while the other may only be taken in specific Wildlife Management Units (WMUs): H1, H2, I1, J2, K, L, or M. Taking two (2) spring birds is not permitted in WMUs A-G, I2, or J1.
  • During the youth weekend, one (1) or two (2) turkeys may be taken, but all spring season registration and WMU regulations apply.

Fall Season Bag Limit

  • The total bag limit for the fall season is one (1) turkey.
  • Hunting during the fall season may be conducted statewide with bow and arrow during the fall archery season, with a crossbow in WMU L or M during the archery season, or with a shotgun or crossbow during the fall shotgun season in units where allowed (refer to Turkey Hunting Seasons for specific details).

Turkey Hunting Regulations

When it comes to turkey hunting in New Hampshire, there are specific regulations to follow:

Hunting Hours

  • Fall Season: Hunting hours are from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
  • Spring Season: Hunting hours are from half an hour before sunrise until 12 noon.

Tagging and Registration

  • Turkeys must be tagged immediately upon harvesting.
  • Registration of a fully feathered intact carcass is required either online or at the nearest open registration station within 24 hours of the harvest.
  • Gutting the turkey is allowed.

Shotguns and Loads

  • Shotguns may be used with the following shot and loads:
    • Shotguns between 10 and 20 gauge inclusively, with shot size #4 and smaller, but only in hunting loads (not target loads).
    • 28 gauge and .410 shotguns are permitted with shot sizes #7 through #9, provided they have a minimum shot density of 18 grams per cubic centimeter (G/CC) and a minimum barrel length of 18 inches.

Assisting Other Hunters

  • A person who has taken a turkey is allowed to assist another properly licensed turkey hunter by calling only.
  • The person assisting by calling is prohibited from possessing a bow and arrow, crossbow, or firearm (other than a pistol or revolver).

Archery and Crossbow Regulations for Turkey Hunting

When it comes to turkey hunting using archery or crossbows, specific regulations apply:

Archery and Crossbow Users

  • Archers and crossbow users are required to have their name and address on arrows or bolts.

Broadhead Requirements

  • Fixed blade broadheads used for turkey hunting must be at least ⅞ inches wide, with no upper size limit.
  • Retractable blade broadheads are allowed, but they must not be less than ⅞ of an inch wide when open.

Minimum Draw Weight

  • The minimum bow and arrow draw weight for hunting turkeys is 30 lbs.

Crossbow Regulations

  • Crossbows used for turkey hunting must meet the requirements specified in the Deer Hunting Regulations.
  • Specific regulations for crossbows can be found in the Crossbows section of the License Information.

Prohibited Activities in Turkey Hunting

When it comes to turkey hunting in New Hampshire, certain activities are strictly prohibited. Hunters should be aware of these regulations to ensure they are in compliance with the law:

  • Tagging Requirement: It is unlawful to possess a turkey that hasn't been properly tagged. Upon harvesting a turkey, the tag must be filled out and immediately attached to the turkey.

  • Prohibited Methods: The following methods are prohibited for taking turkeys:

    • Using a rifle
    • Employing dogs (during the spring season)
    • Using bait
    • Using electronic calling devices
    • Using live decoys
    • Participating in cooperative drives
    • Using an air rifle
  • Taking Turkeys in Trees: It is unlawful to take a turkey while the turkey is in a tree.

  • Reaping and Fanning (Effective from 2023): Starting in 2023, the following practices are prohibited:

    • Reaping: The practice of stalking or approaching a turkey while holding, wearing, or using a real or artificial turkey fan as camouflage.
    • Fanning: The practice of remaining in a stationary position while holding, wearing, or using a real or artificial turkey fan as camouflage to entice a turkey to approach the hunter's position.

New Hampshire Turkey Hunting Laws and Regulations

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.