CONCORD — The Granite State’s fall turkey hunting season opens on September 15 for archers, while the fall shotgun season runs October 11–17 in designated Wildlife Management Units. Hunters who did not fill both of their turkey tags during the 2021 spring season may harvest one bird during either the fall archery or fall shotgun season.

New this fall, hunters who participate in the one-week shotgun season will have the option to harvest a bird using a .410-gauge or 28-gauge shotgun with certain ammunition requirements. Hunters will also continue to have the option to register their birds either online or in person. Regardless of the registration method, hunters must register their turkey within 24 hours of harvest.

Check Station Registration: It is recommended that hunters contact their local registration station to determine if the location is operating and to confirm that they are registering birds during the fall 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. The tag that is issued with the hunter’s turkey license must be affixed to the bird. 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 because the information is relied upon by wildlife biologists and conservation officers. To register turkeys online, and for tips on how to age, weight, and measure birds visit https://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/hunting/turkey-reg.html.

Hunters can help monitor the state’s flocks for the West Nile virus this fall. New Hampshire is participating in a regional effort to document the levels of West Nile virus present in wild turkeys this year. NH Fish and Game is asking willing hunters to collect blood samples from their harvested turkeys this fall. Those interested in participating should contact the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Region 4 office by calling 603-352-9669 or emailing reg4@wildlife.nh.gov to request that a sampling kit be mailed to them.

During the spring season, a total of 71 kits were mailed to hunters and 30 were returned, for a response rate of 42%. Those samples have been sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Georgia for testing. NH Fish and Game is endeavoring to collect at least another 20 samples during the fall seasons.

Declining population trends in ruffed grouse across their eastern range has led numerous state wildlife agencies to initiate research to assess the effect of the West Nile virus on this species. Preliminary results suggest ruffed grouse are highly susceptible to the West Nile virus, however, the effects of the virus on wild turkeys are unknown. While the turkey population in New Hampshire remains stable, data collected through this effort will further wild turkey management efforts on a broader, regional level. All hunters who are passionate about the long-term health of the Granite State’s eastern wild turkey population are encouraged to participate this year during the spring or fall seasons. Collected blood samples will be supplied to the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study Project for testing.

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