In spite of the record number of zero degree days during the winter of 2014, New Hampshire's wild turkey flocks seem to be "happy campers," according to N.H. Fish and Game Turkey Biologist Ted Walski. That bodes well for hunters planning for the spring gobbler season, which opened yesterday and runs through Saturday, May 31, statewide.

Last year, New Hampshire hunters took a total of 4,550 turkeys during the spring season (of these, 590 were taken during the youth weekend). Another 855 turkeys were taken in the fall, 542 during the five-day shotgun season and 313 during the three-month fall archery season.

A New Hampshire turkey license is required for hunters of all ages ($16 for state residents and $31 for nonresidents). This license allows the taking of one gobbler during the spring season (May 3-31) and one turkey of either sex during the fall archery season (Sept. 15-Dec. 15), or during the fall shotgun season (Oct. 13-17). Hunters age 16 and older must hold either a current New Hampshire hunting or archery license AND a turkey permit.

Fish and Game officials anticipate continued interest in New Hampshire's apprentice hunting license, which allows those 16 and older interested in trying hunting to do so under the guidance of an experienced hunter without first taking Hunter Education. Learn more at huntnh.com/Hunting.

Massachusetts turkey hunters took to the woods last Monday and will for three more weeks.


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As usual the weather was not as great as many would like for the opener with a cold rain keeping many hunters home. The rest of this week has been fair for the hunters and the birds responding well to gobbling.

Many hunters use a box or mouth call to entice a gobbler in. Try not to over-call. Calling every 20 to 30 minutes is best and you won't be overdoing it. If you get a response a purr call might work if the bird is just hung up. Don't move, just hang in there because sometimes those gobblers will just walk in without saying a word and you will spook them and then they are gone.

Last year hunters took nearly 4,000 gobblers during the spring season. Like any state hunters are only allowed to shoot bearded turkeys.

News and notes

The striped bass have returned.

The linesiders have made their long trip back from their winter vacations down south and have entered Bay State waters off the Cape. They have arrived in small numbers in the canal but this is just plain exciting news as their grandparents are right behind them.

Herring are once again filling the river ways which is a delicacy to the striped bass and will be for weeks to come. The Merrimack and Mystic Rivers are two big herring runs and the bass will be here in a couple weeks chasing them right up until they hit the dams. It's a feast for the bass.

Flounder are once again moving back into Boston Harbor. Last year was a great year for doormats with many 4-pound fish caught and this year should be no different. In fact it could be better. Fish from Long Island to the wastewater treatment plant and make sure you drag the bottom up a little so the flounder wake up a bit for some great action.

Trout stocking is well underway with stocking of dozens of brookies done last week in northeast Middlesex County. Also the Charles and Ipswich Rivers were planted.

A ridiculous bill being considered in the Rhode Island legislature would make hunting for deer on private land without permission a felony level offense.

The measure, House Bill 7858, would also require jail time (up to two years) for anyone who hunts deer on private land without written permission. In addition, the use of a salt lick to entice deer would be considered a felony level violation.

The Department of Environmental Management and the Federated Rhode Island Sportsmen's Clubs testified against the bill as being unnecessary and excessively punitive.

Want to hunt moose in New Hampshire this fall? The deadline for entering the New Hampshire moose hunt lottery is May 30. It costs just $15 for residents and $25 for non-residents to enter the lottery for a chance at the adventure of a lifetime. A total of 124 permits are proposed to be issued. The state's moose hunt will run from Oct. 18-26. Last year, the statewide hunter success rate was 64 percent.

Two deer harvest reports for you: Maine came in with a harvest of 24,785 deer which was up almost 15 percent over 2012 and New York came in with a harvest of 243,700 which is up 12 percent over 2012.

Bill Biswanger's email is bboutdoor1@aol.com