Countdown to Hunting Season

Nwtf_photosz_doubledip_hickoff In the northeast, two sleeper turkey states offer lengthy opportunities for the big birds and whitetails starting soon . . .

NEW HAMPSHIRE
The Granite State’s 92-day archery-only season for both deer and turkeys (annually held Sept. 15-Dec. 15) gets a bowhunter’s attention. That’s right. If you New Englanders can’t work that into your schedule, quit your job, grab your bow of choice, and hunt full-time. (I'll be out on opening day myself.)

Seriously, just two seasons ago, 34% of the state’s buck kill were 3 1/2 years old or older.

As an example, the archery Top 10 deer weighed between 237 and 212 pounds, with seven of New Hampshire’s 10 counties contributing to that impressive list. Typical antler racks over 180 inches make the books.

Mild winters have contributed to increased deer numbers, which are highest in central and southern locations. Some 33,000 wild turkeys roam the state.

CONNECTICUT
I know you Westerners might be thinking that Connecticut is all gobbled up with well-manicured sprawl, but in truth the forested areas of the state often see lower hunter pressure on the 35,000 wild turkeys that roam there, and bowhunts for deer coincide with such opportunities.

State land archery hunts for whitetails run from Sept. 15-Nov. 18, 2008, and reopen Dec. 24 to Dec. 31. Bowhunting-only locations offer Sept. 15-Dec. 31, 2008 hunts. And so-called “Private Lands (Zones 1-10)” hunts also run from Sept. 15-Nov. 18, then resume Dec. 10 through Dec. 31.

Fall turkey bowhunt dates vary for state and private land, but encompass the broad Sept. 15 through Jan. 31, 2009 period.—Steve Hickoff