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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Merrimack, Lyndeborough lead way in turkey hunting

When it comes to turkey hunting, Merrimack and Lyndeborough are the places to be in Greater Nashua, judging from results from 2011.

In last year’s spring season, 41 birds were killed in Lyndeborough and 28 in Merrimack, far more than any other area community, according to data from New Hampshire Fish and Game.

Turkey season is unusually spread out among communities in New Hampshire. The most success was found in Weare, where 62 turkeys were killed, but with a couple of exceptions in the depths of the White Mountains or far north, at least one turkey was killed in every town and city in the state.

That includes Nashua, where one turkey was killed in the spring season.

A total of 3,762 turkeys were taken in the spring season, by far the biggest season for the birds. The fall shotgun season saw 432 turkeys killed, and 211 were taken in the fall archery season.

The 2011 gobbler harvest was virtually unchanged from 2010, when 3,669 turkeys were taken.

This year, youth hunt weekend will take place April 28 and 29, with regular season running May 3 through May 31. The season is expected to be good for hunters, because the mild winter has allowed turkey populations to flourish.

Turkeys were once widespread in New Hampshire but were wiped out here by hunting in the 19th century. Three dozen birds were imported to the Keene area from New York state in the 1970s, and a breeding colony was established.

They are now found throughout the state, and are regarded as perhaps New Hampshire’s best wildlife-restoration success story.