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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


Wildlife Management Units


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 October 9, 578 bears (334 males, 244 females) have been reported to the bear project.  Bait hunters have harvested 430 bears (257 males, 173 females), still hunters/stalkers have taken 124 bears (64 males, 60 females) and hound hunters have reported 24 bears (13 males, 11 females).  The current overall harvest sex ratio is 1.4 males per female.  Method-specific harvest sex ratios include 1.5, 1.1 and 1.2 m:f for bait, still and hound hunters, respectively.


Regionally, 101 bears (64 males, 37 females) have been taken in the North, 159 (91 males, 68 females) in the White Mountains, 181 (102 males, 79 females) in the Central, 59 (36 males, 23 females) in Southwest-1, 73 (38 males, 35 females) in Southwest-2 and 5 (3 males, 2 females) in the Southeast region.


Below is a breakdown of the bear harvest through October 9 for the past 6 years.  Currently, this year’s harvest is running 13% below the 5-year in-season average (669 bears) and 40% below the 2018 tally (962 bears) at this point in the season.  It should be recognized that comparison to the 2018 bear season is somewhat misrepresentative given the very high harvest that occurred in that year.  This year’s harvest is tracking very similarly to that of a typical year when natural foods are abundant.  In terms of harvest numbers, the current season is tracking very similar to that of 2014 and 2015 when the total bear killed equaled 786 and 754, respectively.


While many typical fall bear foods are plentiful this fall, some crops are sporadic.  Most noteworthy is the beechnut crop.  While there are beechnuts, their production is varied and not uniformly distributed across all ridges.  This is not untypical of beechnuts.  Other species, including red oak, apple and mountains ash have produced very abundant crops and will continue to be utilized into late fall.  Hobblebush berries typically are not a highly sought after bear food but bears have been feeding on these berries fairly heavily up north this fall.  This likely relates to the tremendous crop of hobblebush fruit.


The bait hunting portion of the season has ended in all regions.  The still hunting season for bear ends in the Southwest-2 and Southeast regions on October 12.  The still hunting season will end in the North and Southwest-1 regions on November 12.  The still hunting season remains open in the White Mountains and Central regions until November 30.  The statewide hound hunting season ends on November 12.



AS OF 9/16/19 AS TALLIED ON 9/16/19

DATE 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
09/15 385 299 411 263 555 371
09/30 610 518 685 430 894 570
10/09 640 548 742 455 962 578



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