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Hatches Are Off the Hook in New England

Turkey_henryzemanWord from OL contributor Steve Hickoff and others from New York north is that poults are E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E!!!!

Steve writes: Turkey hatches "here" (being Maine and New Hampshire) have ranged from late May (the earliest I saw) to the third week of July (the latest I've noted). Pretty amazing bird when all is said and done. Looks like a great season coming up.

Gerry Bethge, who hunts both Mass and NY, says its unbelievable how many birds he is seeing when he is out and about on the weekends. Quaker Boy's Dave Streb echoes his observations.

It's shaping up to be on phenemonal fall hunt throughout the region this year and of couple states, I believe New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and possibly even Maine (I need to confirm all of these),  will allow turkey dogs for the first time. With or without dogs, if you've kept your calling and shotgunning confined to spring, this year might be the year you want to change it up.

I'll let you know how things are shaping up elsewhere in the coming days.


Levi Banks

Here in mid-Missouri we had a big flood shortly after the end of the season. Do you think this means that most likely the birds had already nested and that any nests in low lying areas were washed away? I'm excited about the fall season coming up, but I don't want to hunt these areas much if the numbers are going to be low.


Here in Alabama we had a freeze late in April after all the hens were on nest. This killed all the nest and it was like the season started all over. The turkeys gobbled all the way to early June. However some hens didn't have another nest. Normally we would have seen and reconized at least six different hens and her babies, but this year we have only seen one.


Hey Levi,

It's hard to say about the flooded out areas. If the floods were due to heavy rains, more than the floods, the rains themselves if they occurred in the first two weeks of the birds hatching could have a ruinous effect on that year's hatch. Excessive rain cools the hatchlings and causes them to loose too much body heat. I wouldn't worry too much about "not" fall hunting. But if you get out there and you're seeing small or virtually nonexistent young of year birds, it's naturally not a bad idea to lay off of them a little.

As for the freeze, if it hit before the hens finished laying and weren't sitting their nests, they will likely renest as the gobbling seems to indicate. It will obviously take a toll on the year's hatch, but all should not be lost.

Linda Barkley

Jim and I just got back from a road trip to Maine. I was very pleased to see all of the turkeys out east, even Vermont had fields full of long beards and hens. I'll be getting ready soon to hunt this fall in Iowa. I'll see if I can't find the brother to the one I harvested this last spring.