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NH Hunting Report - November 30, 2018

Kent Gustafson: (603) 271-2461



Deer Hunt Update:

The remaining days of deer season should provide hunters with outstanding opportunity. The rut should remain strong during this period, and recent fresh snowfalls represent a welcome late-season addition for many hunters.


The 2018 total estimated harvest to date is 9,262, up 14% from last year at this same point. The 2018 total at this juncture in the season is the highest in the past nine years, slightly above the previous high of 9,122 in 2013. Hillsborough, Grafton, and Rockingham counties, respectively, are showing the highest registrations to date.


See a breakdown of results to date by county at

Either-sex regular firearm 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 9, while bow hunters may use them until the end of the archery season on December 15. The regular firearm season will run through December 9, with the exception of WMU-A, where it will end on December 2.


Bear Season Numbers:

As of November 20, 1,033 bears (539 males, 494 females) have been reported to the bear project. Bait hunters harvested 592 bears, still hunters/stalkers have taken 355 bears, and hound hunters have registered 86 bears. The current overall harvest sex ratio is 1.1 males per female.


On a regional basis, 196 bears have been taken in the North, 294 in the White Mountains, 314 in the Central, 109 in Southwest-1, 111 in Southwest-2, and 9 in the Southeast region. Harvest has dropped off since late October as the lack of fall foods including acorns and beechnuts has resulted in many bears beginning to den.


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 continue in the Central (WMUs G, I1, J1, and J2) and White Mountain (WMUs C1, D2, E, and F) regions until November 30.


Turkey Harvest Update:

This fall’s turkey harvest is significantly more successful than the total harvest of 2017. The primary reason is the lack of hard and soft mast crops in the woods. There is a direct correlation between fall turkey harvests and the availability of food; harvest is down on good mast years, and harvest is up on poor mast years, when turkey flocks are in the fields where they can be seen. To date, a total of 1,127 turkey registration slips have been received, which is an increase of 150% from the fall season total of 450 turkeys taken in 2017.


The 2018 fall shotgun season harvest of October 15-21 stands at 769 turkeys, compared with 276 turkeys taken during the entire 2017 season, an increase in harvest of 179%. More registration slips may still come in, so the totals are subject to change. The Wildlife Management Units J2 (166), K (93), H1 (81), and H2 (73) had the highest shotgun harvests totaling 413 turkeys, or 54% of the statewide harvest.


The 2018 fall archery season stands at 358 turkeys harvested, compared with 174 turkeys taken during the 2017season. This year’s archery harvest is 106% ahead of last year’s total. A few more archery turkeys may be registered because the season continues until December 15 with the exception of WMU-A where it concludes December 8.


Report Banded Waterfowl

New Hampshire Fish and Game wildlife biologists have completed the annual effort to attach hundreds of metal leg bands to ducks throughout the state. This year, a total of 1,011 ducks were banded in New Hampshire during the pre-hunting season effort – second only to the record high total of 1,037 banded last year. This included: 762 mallards, 231 wood ducks, 12 black ducks, and 5 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.

Read more about the banding effort at

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

Trapping Seasons Underway

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. Sharing the outdoors for recreation is a longstanding tradition in New Hampshire. A part of that tradition involves a skilled group of outdoor enthusiasts who participate in trapping, a highly regulated activity that provides important benefits to the state. Though relatively few in number (454 licenses were sold in New Hampshire in 2017), skilled trappers provide an extremely valuable service to society by helping to manage abundant wildlife populations and collect biological samples at no cost.


Read more about how trapping contributes to wildlife management in New Hampshire at:


Shop WILD Saturday is December 8: This first-ever event at Department headquarters, 11 Hazen Drive in Concord, NH, will feature gifts for outdoor enthusiasts including hunting and fishing licenses, Hike Safe cards, and the full line up of official Fish and Game logo merchandise, including an all-new fleece vest for both men and women. Bring the family from 10:00am to 2:00pm to finish your holiday shopping, meet cast and K-9 stars from the hit TV show North Woods Law, and meet live birds of prey with Jane Kelley. See you there!


NH Wildlife Journal Highlights: The January/February issue of the New Hampshire Wildlife Journal features a story about coastal waterfowl hunting in which author Brendon Jackson helps readers who are new to the sport explore the basics, and the excitement, of this sporting tradition. Also in 2019’s first issue, Andrew Schafermeyer introduces us to Al’s Lodge and the hunting history associated with this camp that has become lore in the White Mountains. Visit to read sample articles or to subscribe. The Journal makes a great gift this holiday season.


Get Your WILD Deal Before They’re Gone: Order by December 8 and get the NH Fish and Game Department's 2019 Wildlife Calendar AND a one-year subscription to New Hampshire Wildlife Journal for just $17. The calendar includes 2019 hunting season dates.  


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


Hunt for the Hungry: Hunters are reminded of the New Hampshire Food Bank’s need for venison donations. Call the NH Food Bank at (603) 669-9725 or visit to find out how you can help those in need.



WSFRFederal 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, which is supported by an excise tax on your purchases of firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment. Learn more at