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NH Hunting Report - November 20, 2017

Kent Gustafson: (603) 271-2461



Deer Hunting


Courtney Shaw

Courtney Shaw, 24, of Salisbury with her 175-lb 8 pointer in Merrimack County. Select image for larger view.

The next couple of weeks, including the Thanksgiving holiday, should provide hunters with lots of opportunity, as the rut should remain strong.


Deer Project Leader Dan Bergeron reports that the 2017 total estimated deer kill to date is 8,132, up 10% from last year at the same point and is the third highest in the past nine years. Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Grafton counties, respectively, are showing the highest registrations to date.


See a breakdown of deer season results to date by county at
Either-sex regular firearm deer hunting opportunities have ended in most Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) and the remainder of the regular firearm season in these units will be legally antlered bucks only. Licensed firearm hunters with valid Special Unit-L and/or Unit-M Antlerless Only Permits may use these permits through the end of the regular firearm season on December 3, while bow hunters may use them until the end of the archery season on December 15. The regular firearm season will run through December 3, with the exception of WMU-A, where it ends on November 26.


Bear Hunting


As of November 16, 534 bears (291 males, 243 females) have been reported.  Bait hunters harvested 321 bears, still hunters/stalkers have taken 114 bears, and hound hunters have registered 99 bears.  The current overall harvest sex ratio is 1.2 males per female.


On a regional basis, 97 bears have been taken in the North, 156 in the White Mountains, 173 in the Central, 60 in Southwest-1, 46 in Southwest-2, and 2 in the Southeast region (both males).  Bear Project Leader Andrew Timmins reports that a surge in bear harvest has occurred since the beginning of muzzleloader deer season and has continued through deer firearms season. Acorn and beechnut crops remain abundant, and opportunistic deer hunters have taken 22 bears over the past 2+ weeks.


The bait and hound hunting portions of the season have ended statewide.  Additionally, the entire bear hunting season has ended in the North, Southwest-1 and 2 and Southeast regions.  The still hunting season will end in the Central and White Mountains regions on November 21.


For a comparison of the statewide bear harvest over the past six years, visit


Turkey Hunting


The fall 2017 turkey harvest is down significantly from last year’s fall harvest, according to Turkey Biologist Ted Walski. The primary reason is the plentiful supply of hard and soft mast in the woods. There is a definite correlation on fall turkey harvests:  harvest is down on good mast years, and harvest is up on poor mast years, when turkey flocks are in the fields where they are seen.



The 2017 fall shotgun season harvest of October 16-22 stands at 223 turkeys, compared to 790 turkeys for the 2016 total.  Therefore, the harvest is down 71.8%. More registration slips may still come in, so the totals are subject to change. The Wildlife Management Units J2, L, and M in southeast New Hampshire show the best harvest at a total of 95 turkeys, or 41.3% of the statewide harvest.


The 2017 fall archery season stands at 126 turkeys harvested, compared to the 312 turkeys for the 2016 total.  The harvest is down 59.6%. A few more archery turkeys may be registered because the season doesn’t end until December 15.




duck leg banding

Wildlife biologists work to place leg bands on waterfowl. Select image for larger view.

New Hampshire Fish and Game wildlife biologists completed their annual effort to attach hundreds of metal leg bands to ducks throughout the state. This year, a total of 1,037 ducks were banded in New Hampshire during the pre-hunting season effort -- a record high total banded in the 29 years of the program. This included: 778 mallards, 238 wood ducks, 9 black ducks, and 12 mallard/black duck hybrids.


The pre-season banding effort is conducted in US states and Canadian provinces throughout the Atlantic Flyway in August and September.  This considerable effort provides survival rate data that is used in combination with breeding plot data, parts collection data, and HIP (National Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program) survey data as inputs for the model used to determine annual season regulations in the spring.


Late season waterfowl hunting opportunities remain available in New Hampshire. Learn more at


Trapping Seasons Underway


A skilled group of outdoor enthusiasts take part in trapping, a highly regulated activity that provides important benefits to the state. Trapping seasons in New Hampshire typically run from October through March statewide, with the bulk of trapping activity on land occurring during the months of November and December. Though relatively few in number (479 licenses were sold in New Hampshire in 2016), skilled trappers provide an extremely valuable service to society by helping to manage abundant wildlife populations and collect biological samples, at no cost.


More for Hunters


NH Wildlife Journal Highlights: The latest issue of NH Wildlife Journal covers stories about black bear, white-tailed deer, and a hunter education instructor recounting her hunting experiences and the many rewards she has found as a hunter in New Hampshire. Visit to read sample articles or to subscribe. Makes a great gift this holiday season.


Available Online: We have a limited supply of hunter’s caps, mugs, green Fish and Game logo hooded sweatshirts, and a new “Search and Rescue Supporter” red t-shirt available in our online store.  Visit


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


Hunt for the Hungry: Share game meat with the needy by donating to the NH Food Bank.  Learn more 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