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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

 

As of November 20, 822 bears (450 males, 372 females) have been reported to the bear project.  Bait hunters took 470 bears (279 males, 191 females), still hunters/stalkers have taken 213 bears (107 males, 106 females) and hound hunters have reported 139 bears (64 males, 75 females).  The current overall harvest sex ratio is 1.2 males per female.  Method-specific harvest sex ratios include 1.5, 1.0 and 0.9 m:f for bait, still and hound hunters, respectively.

 

Regionally, 140 bears (80 males, 60 females) have been taken in the North, 246 (138 males, 108 females) in the White Mountains, 255 (131 males, 124 females) in the Central, 97 (58 males, 39 females) in Southwest-1, 74 (39 males, 36 females) in Southwest-2 and 7 (3 males, 4 females) in the Southeast region.  Three bears (1 male, 2 females) have not been assigned to a region at this time.

Below is a breakdown of the bear harvest through November 20 for the past 6 years.  Currently, this year’s harvest is running nearly identical (+1%) to the 5-year in-season average of 812 bears.  Additionally, the current harvest is only 22% behind the record 2018 tally (1038 bears) at this point in the season.  There is a chance that this season could end as the second highest bear harvest ever achieved.  The current second highest harvest year was 2016 with 898 bears.  A new hound harvest has been set this year surpassing the previous record of 117 in 2014.

 

Due to the abundance of fall foods, namely red oak acorns, bears have remained very active and have been taken at a higher rate by opportunistic deer hunters over the past three weeks.  Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of hunters using hounds to take bear and these hunters have had high success this fall, which typically accounts for 10-12% of the annual bear harvest. Currently hunters using hounds have taken 17% of the total bear harvest this fall.  Bear season was extended in the White Mountains and Central regions in 2018 due to the need to reduce density thereby creating additional late season harvest opportunity.

 

The bait and hound hunting portion of the season has ended in all regions.  The still hunting season for bear has ended in the North, Southwest-1, Southwest-2 and Southeast regions.  The still hunting season remains open in the White Mountains and Central regions until November 30.

 

2019 IN-SEASON BEAR HARVEST TALLY COMPARED TO PREVIOUS 5 YEARS

AS OF 11/20/19 AS TALLIED ON 11/20/19

DATE 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
09/30 610 518 685 430 894 613
10/31 714 652 828 522 1,027 763
11/20 775 749 898 587 1,053 822

 

 

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