Late, Great Northern New England Spring Turkey Hunting

Turkey Blog with Steve Hickoff

Late, Great Northern New England Spring Turkey Hunting

Posted 2015-05-17T09:38:00Z

Still hungry for more? Go north.

Maine. New Hampshire. Vermont. By definition, that's northern New England. Sure, southern New England has some pretty good turkey hunting, too, but I'm a little stuck in my ways. For me, the northern corridor pulls me in. I hunt all three states for turkeys and have for decades.

Why should you? Northern New England 2015 spring turkey hunting seasons run until late May; even into the first week of June. Do you like eating lobster? Me too. Here's what I've seen out there.

Maine. Last day of the 2015 spring turkey season: June 6.

I'm fortunate to travel the United States and even Mexico for turkeys. I make my home base in Maine. Ours is the longest running turkey season in the country. This month, I filled my first Maine turkey tag on May 7, after not hearing a gobbler for the first several days of the season. But you know how it is with turkey snatchers.

Did our recent winter with record cold and snow hurt our northern flocks? Maybe. But local friends who hunt this state are locating, hunting and filling tags on spring turkeys, too.

Try Maine turkey hunting.

This New Hampshire mountain turkey is my recent favorite. (Steve Hickoff photo)New Hampshire. Last day of the 2015 spring turkey season: May 31.

I killed my first Granite State gobbler way back in 1992, not long after UNH grad school. I tagged my most recent longbeard there May 17, 2015 (pictured right). He's a recent favorite.

Here's how it went: After three days of turkey hunting a spot a buddy and I had first tried several years ago - with land manager permission - I found vocal gobblers roosting with the barred owls. Both bird species carried on a shouting match the way we like it until the turkeys flew down. It even continued then.

In the middle of all that, I yelped and purred, cutting back at them, then laid on the silent treatment. They answered. I grinned. Game on.

One gobbler broke off from the group after first walking in the other direction with others. He hammered, coming in my direction. I called back and he cut me off. Soon I saw his full-fan tail and snowball head walking up the hill to me. He strutted. He marched my way. I closed the deal at 25 yards.

It's then he cartwheeled back down the hill, flipping and flopping, losing half his tail feathers. Bird in hand. Nope, I don't have an iPhone video of me chasing it.

Try New Hampshire turkey hunting.

Vermont. Last day of the 2015 spring turkey season: May 31.

Last Saturday, in the pre-dawn, I crossed the Connecticut River from New Hampshire and into the Green Mountain State. I visited rugged spots my boot tracks have covered over the years. My tires too. I briefly got my old truck stuck, cursed my foolishness, then caught a break. I owled and listened. I found no birds where I could hunt and have before; there were some gobblers where I couldn't or maybe could, but hadn't arrived in time to ask permission. My bad.

This Vermont strutter is still out there. (Steve Hickoff photo)

The last thing you want to do is wake a landowner up at four in the morning (or right after fly-down time) to ask if you can hunt their land. Scouting is everything. Do it during daytime hours, and you'll meet with more success. So I hadn't done my homework there before my first hunt of the season. But I have before with other favored spots and they have birds - yes, even after the brutal winter of 2014-2015.

Mountain ridges. Lots of walking. It's wild turkey hunting rivaling what I was used to as a teenager in my native north-central Pennsylvania, and even last season with a gobbler we named Mike Tyson.

Steve Hickoff is Realtree's turkey hunting editor and blogger.