CONCORD — The Granite State’s spring turkey hunting season opens on May 1, and runs through May 31. Despite issues presented by the COVID-19 public health emergency, all New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHFG) rules and regulations associated with the state’s spring turkey season remain in effect and will be enforced, including the registration of harvested birds. Hunters must, without exception, be prepared and able to register their turkey within 24 hours of harvest either at a check station or online.
Check Station Registration: While NHFG works with many registration stations statewide to provide local places for hunters to register their birds, some registration stations may be closed, have limited hours, or be experiencing other restrictions because of the COVID-19 public health emergency. All hunters must contact their local registration stations to determine if the location is operating and confirm that they are registering birds during the spring season. Turkeys registered at a check station will continue to receive the official leg seal. For a list of registration stations in New Hampshire visit: https://wildlife.state.nh.us/hunting/deer-check-stations.html.
Online Registration: If birds are not registered in person, they must be registered online within 24 hours of taking. The tag that is issued with the hunter’s turkey license must be affixed to the bird, and the first harvested bird must be legally registered prior to harvesting a second bird in those Wildlife Management Units where two spring birds are permitted. To expedite online registration, hunters must have a reliable internet connection and should have the following information readily available:
• Hunting/turkey license information
• License plate number of the vehicle used while hunting
• Town and Wildlife Management Unit where the turkey was harvested
• Sex of the bird
• Age of the bird (adult vs. juvenile)
• Weight of the bird (to the nearest 1/4 pound)
• Beard length (to the nearest 1/4 inch)
• Spur lengths (to the nearest 1/16 inch)
Successful online registration will result in a confirmation email upon completion. Hunters must retain a copy of this confirmation as proof that their turkey was legally registered online by saving a digital version or printing a copy of the email. Accurately entered registration data is imperative as the information is relied upon by wildlife biologists and conservation officers who rely upon it and depend upon its accuracy. To register turkeys online, and for tips on how to age, weigh, and measure birds see https://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/hunting/turkey-reg.html.
To slow the spread of COVID-19, The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department recommends hunting locally and traveling minimally. Time in the field should be spent alone or with members from your household only while maintaining the recommended social distance of at least six feet between people. Hunters must be aware of the increased number of people sharing the outdoors this spring—it is more important than ever to be absolutely sure of your target and what lies beyond it. Pre-season scouting should be maximized and hunters should be prepared with back-up locations if their chosen spot is busy with other outdoor enthusiasts during this turkey season.