New Hampshire knows the value of letting youth hunters get the thrill and experience of being out in the woods and being a part of something special.

That’s why the state, annually, holds a youth turkey hunt. This year’s will take place April 30 and May 1, the weekend before the regular spring turkey season kicks off.

This year will mark the seventh of the youth hunt. During the 2010 weekend, the young sportsmen did their fair share of quality shooting, harvesting 541 turkeys—a total of nearly 15-percent of the total harvest in the state.

To participate in the special weekend turkey hunt, youth hunters must be age 15 or younger and must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult age 18 or older. The adult may not carry a firearm or bow and arrow. Youth hunters do not need a hunting license, but they must have a valid turkey permit ($16 resident, $31 nonresident). Accompanying adults must hold both a current N.H. hunting or archery license and a valid turkey permit.

The event is one that has proven to be one that is enjoyed by both the youth and the adults who participate in it.

“Nothing generates more compliments, letters of thanks, and photographs of proud parents and beaming kids, than our youth turkey weekend,” said Mark Ellingwood, wildlife programs administrator for Fish and Game. “We take great pride and satisfaction in providing young people and mentoring adults with the opportunity to learn safe hunting practices, to put lean, healthy, natural food on their family table, and to enjoy the spellbinding wonders and beauty of New Hampshire’s spring woodlands.”

The special weekend provides youth and mentoring adults a quiet, noncompetitive time in the woods, where they can focus on safety, ethics, hunting methods and natural science.

Hunter education is not required for youth hunters under age 16. Youth are encouraged to complete the hunter education course between the age of 12 and their 16th birthday. Many hunter and bowhunter education classes are available in April.

For more information on turkey hunting in New Hampshire and a link to online license and permit sales, go to this website.

Fish and Game urges all turkey hunters, including youth, to memorize the following list of ten safety guidelines before going out in the field:

  1. Never stalk a turkey. It rarely works and it increases the risk of an accident.
  2. Never wear red, white, blue or black over or under-clothing, as these are prominent colors of displaying gobblers.
  3. Never call from a tree that is thinner than the width of your shoulders.
  4. Never jump or turn suddenly in response to a suspected turkey.
  5. Never call from a site where you can’t see at least 40 yards in all directions.
  6. Never imitate a gobbler call while concealed in a stand.
  7. Never presume that what you hear or what responds to your call is a turkey.
  8. Never think that your camouflage makes you totally invisible. To ID yourself to other hunters, wrap an orange band around the tree nearest you.
  9. Never hide so well that you can’t see what’s happening around you.
  10. Never move or wave to alert approaching hunters; shout “stop” instead.

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