EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

May 9, 2014

Wild turkey population rebounding in N.H.

Southern N.H. sees steady population growth

Spring has brought wild turkeys out of the woods in Southern New Hampshire; they can be seen wandering in the middle of the road as they look for insects to eat.

But they better be careful.

The state’s four-week spring turkey hunting season began Saturday, and New Hampshire Fish and Game wildlife biologist Ted Walski said the birds seem to be out in abundance.

“It looks like the season has started off reasonably well,” Walski said. “There are so many of them.”

Local gun shop owners said turkey hunters are stocking up on ammunition and other supplies.

Seeing wild turkeys is one of the “603 Reasons” readers said they love New Hampshire.

For those who love seeing turkeys, their best luck spotting them may be in Derry, Salem and Windham, according to Fish and Game’s 2013 spring/summer survey.

“All the towns in Rockingham County have turkeys and their numbers seemed to have increased in the last four or five years,” Walski said.

Anyone who sees flocks of wild turkeys this spring and summer is asked to report their sightings to Fish and Game once its new survey begins May 15. It ends Aug. 31.

There were 91 sightings reported by the public in Derry last summer, the highest number in the state. The next largest numbers of sightings were 51 in Salem and 44 in Bedford. Windham had 29 sightings.

There were 1,091 turkeys counted in Derry, but there’s no way of knowing if a bird was counted more than once, Walski said.

Statewide, there were 1,676 sightings last year, compared to 1,085 in 2012 and 808 in 2011. The Fish and Game surveys help biologists gauge how many young turkeys are surviving into adulthood.

Walski said he’s waiting to compile the results of the annual winter survey, which tallied 1,400 sightings.

But a winter that saw a record number of zero-degree days didn’t appear to have a major impact on the wild turkey population, Walski said.

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