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Bear Season Dates & Density Estimates

Detailed harvest information from previous years is available in the NH Wildlife Harvest Summary.

 

WMU Maps

 

2019 Bear Season Dates

Method

Wildlife Management Units

Dates

General Season WMUs:  H2, K, L, M Sept. 1–Oct. 12
WMUs: A, B, C2, D1, H1, I2 Sept. 1 – Nov. 12
WMUs: C1, D2, E, F, G, I1, J1, J2 Sept. 1 – Nov. 30
Baiting Season WMUs: H1, H2, I2, K, L, M Sept. 1 – Sept. 21
WMUs: A, B, C2, D1, G, I1, J1, J2 Sept. 1 – Sept. 28
WMUs: C1, D2, E, F Sept. 1 – Oct. 5
Dog Season WMUs: A, B, C1, C2, D1, D2, E, F, G, H1, I1, I2, J1, J2 Sept. 23 – Nov. 12
WMUs: H2, K, L, M Dog season CLOSED

 

 

Bear Season Update

 

The 2018 New Hampshire bear hunting season has reached a new historical high surpassing the previous record harvest of 898 bears in 2016. As of November 10, a total of 1,033 bears (539 males, 494 females) have been reported to the bear project. Bait hunters harvested 592 bears (319 males, 273 females), still hunters/stalkers have taken 355 bears (179 males, 176 females) and hound hunters have reported 86 bears (41 males, 45 females). The current overall harvest sex ratio remains at 1.1 males per female. Method-specific harvest sex ratios include 1.2, 1.0 and 0.9 m:f for bait, still and hound hunters, respectively.

 

Regionally, 196 bears (105 males, 91 females; 1.2 m:f) have been taken in the North, 294 (147 males, 147 females; 1.0 m:f) in the White Mountains, 314 (151 males, 163 females; 0.9 m:f) in the Central, 109 (59 males, 50 females; 1.2 m:f) in Southwest-1, 111 (69 males, 42 females; 1.6 m:f) in Southwest-2 and 9 (8 males, 1 female) in the Southeast region.

 

Below is a breakdown of the bear harvest through November 10 for the past 6 years. Currently, this year’s harvest is running 49% above the 5-year in-season average (693 bears) and nearly twice the 2017 tally (563 bears) at this point in the season.

 

The record bear harvest that has occurred this fall remains as no surprise given the low food availability throughout the state. Earlier in the season bear foods were primarily limited to apples (although spotty), white oak acorns (low statewide distribution) and corn. These foods were largely depleted by early to mid-October and bears began denning earlier compared to previous years as a result. By the end of the first month of bear season, 87% of the total harvest (based on tally to date) had been achieved. Since the start of the muzzleloader deer season (November 3), only 6 harvested bears have been reported which reflects the fact that most bears have denned and no longer vulnerable to harvest. During abundant food years, opportunistic deer hunters take a fair number of bears during November.

 

The 2018 bear hunting season has ended in most areas of the state. Only the still hunting season in the White Mountains and Central region remains open for a few more days (closes November 30).

 

2018 IN-SEASON BEAR HARVEST TALLY COMPARED TO PREVIOUS 5 YEARS

AS OF 11/30/18 AS TALLIED ON 11/30/18

DATE 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
09/15 253 385 299 411 263 557
09/30 421 610 518 685 430 894
10/15 480 672 569 770 476 994
10/30 522 710 630 827 521 1,027
11/15 561 768 737 892 587 1,050
11/30 572 784 754 898 587 1,053

 

 

Regional Bear Densities and Management Goals

 

Bears per Square Mile
Region 2016-2025 Management Goal Current Population Estimate Management Required
North 0.6 0.65 Stabilize
White Mountains 0.8 1.0 Decrease
Central 0.5 0.76 Decrease
Southwest-1 0.5 0.47 Stabilize
Southwest-2 0.5 0.52 Stabilize
Southeast 0.05 0.06 Stabilize
Statewide 0.52 0.64 Decrease