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NH Hunting Report - October 2, 2015

bearGreetings, hunters.  We’re glad to bring you the first report from New Hampshire’s archery deer season and more news on the bear hunt. Small game and upland bird seasons start October 1.



Archery Deer Hunt Update: As of the deer registration call-in on September 27, the reported archery deer harvest for 2015 was 1,109.  This is a decrease of 10% from 2014, when 1,230 had been taken at this point in the season. This early in the season, numerous factors can influence the harvest, including weather conditions, especially on weekends, and mast availability.  This year, fall foods, notably apples, beechnuts and acorns all appear to be quite abundant, likely affecting deer movement and hunters’ ability to “pattern” deer.  Although last winter was somewhat above average severity, mortality did not appear to have increased significantly and anecdotal reports suggest deer numbers are still strong throughout the state. We will be getting additional information as the season progresses. For a county breakdown of reported deer registrations at this point in the season for the past 9 years, visit


Deer Hunting Talks: Our outdoor adventure series continues with Deer Hunting Basics on October 7 and Hunting Dominant Bucks on October 14.  Author Jack Noon rounds out the series on October 21 with a look at Fish and Game history. Admission is free.


Bear Season Numbers: As of October 1, 424 bears (266 males, 158 females) have been reported to the bear project.  Bait hunters harvested 318 bears (201 males, 117 females), still hunters/stalkers have taken 99 bears (61 males, 38 females) and hound hunters have registered 7 bears (4 males, 3 females).  The current overall harvest sex ratio is 1.7 males per female.



  • 82 bears (55 males, 27 females) have been taken in the North;
  • 129 (90 males, 39 females) in the White Mountains;
  • 132 (71 males, 61 females) in the Central;
  • 41 (30 males, 11 females) in Southwest-1;
  • 37 (18 males, 19 females) in Southwest-2; and
  • 3 (2 males, 1 female) in the Southeast region. 


Currently, this year’s harvest is 15% below the 5-year in-season average of 502 bears for this time period.  Additionally, the current harvest is 29% below the 2014 tally (which was an above average harvest year) at this point in the season. In terms of harvest numbers, the current season is tracking relatively similar to that of 2013 when 570 bears were taken.


Various bear foods remain abundant in the woods and which species local bears are keyed in on varies by area.  In the North and White Mountains, bears are concentrating largely on beechnuts.  In more southern areas, acorns seem to be a primary staple.  The apple crop is tremendous, but may not receive a lot of use where nuts are abundant.  The mountains ash crop will become important later in the season.


The bait hunting portion of the season has ended statewide.  Additionally, the entire bear hunting season has ended in the Southwest-2 and Southeast regions.  The statewide (excluding the southernmost two regions) hound hunting season opened September 21 and will end November 10.  The still hunting season will end in the North and Southwest-1 regions on November 10 and in the Central and White Mountains regions on November 24.


Bear Meat Processing Tips: With proper handling, bear meat is a delicious taste of the wild -- learn more at


Pheasant Hunters Afield: Pheasant stocking is underway at 70 sites in 46 towns. Sites will be stocked each week on Thursday or Friday through October 23, with a total of 12,200 birds released. The tradition of pheasant hunting is available only because landowners continue to allow hunters access and areas to hunt pheasants. Please respect their property. Take the time to thank them for their generosity and help keep the lands open.


Note: Franklin Falls Flood Control Area is closed due to excessive rainfall; the gates are closed to all pheasant hunters until further notice.


Fall Turkeys: The long fall archery season for turkey runs September 15 through December 15, concurrent with the deer archery season. The five-day fall turkey shotgun season will be October 12 (Monday) through October 16 (Friday). Turkey Biologist Ted Walski reports that the 2015 Spring Gobbler Season saw a good harvest of 4,005 turkeys. This summer’s turkey "hatch" looked promising. The semi-drought of April/May and early March snowmelt stimulated some earlier breeding and hatching, and there will be some large young turkeys by fall.


Waterfowlers Take Note:  Waterfowl hunters are reminded that different waterfowl hunting zones have different starting dates; hunters need to be aware of the dates of adjoining hunting zones before drifting across zone boundaries. For 2015, the opening day in the Northern Zone (October 2) is 4 days earlier than the opening day in the Inland Zone and Connecticut River Zones (October 6). Hunters planning to hunt in portions of the Connecticut River Zone adjacent to the Northern Zone should be aware that the Connecticut River Zone season does not open until October 6.  Learn more:


Small Game Hunters: Please take time to participate in our small game and grouse wing and tail surveys; we’ve got a quality firearm to raffle off to a lucky participant in each.


Moose Season Is Coming!  October 17-25, 2015, by permit only (see Limited-edition 2015 moose hunt shirts still available at


Youth Deer Weekend is coming up on October 24-25, 2015. Plan to share your enthusiasm by taking a youngster hunting (learn more at Opening Day for New Hampshire’s regular firearms deer season is November 11, 2015. Find a summary of NH deer season dates at


Hunt for the Hungry: Have too much game meat? Find out how you can donate excess at


Report a Poacher:  If you are aware of a poaching situation, call Operation Game Thief toll-free at 1-800-344-4262 or report wildlife crime online at





Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration: A User-Pay, User-Benefit Program
Researching and managing wildlife and teaching people to become safe, responsible hunters are activities funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, supported by an excise tax on your purchases of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. Learn more at