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NH Hunting Report - November 24, 2021

Important Resources for Hunters:

 

Deer Hunting

New Hampshire’s deer season is in full swing, and just as muzzleloader season ended on November 9, the regular firearms season began on November 10. Read more about deer hunting in the Granite State at www.huntnh.com/hunting/deer.html.

 

According to Game Program Supervisor Dan Bergeron, the total estimated 2021 deer harvest to date is 7,873, a decrease of 17% from last year at this same point in the season when the number of deer taken was 9,475. While the 2021 harvest is down slightly from last year, it is in line with the long-term average for this point in the season.  It is also important to note that last year’s total harvest was the fourth largest recorded dating back to 1922.  Poor hunting weather throughout the season has also likely contributed to the decline in harvest from last year. Much of the archery season proved to be unseasonably warm while heavy rains and wind marked the opening of both the muzzleloader and firearms seasons.  Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Grafton counties, respectively, continue to show the largest numbers of deer registrations. To see a breakdown of results to date by county visit www.huntnh.com/hunting/deer-harvest.html.

 

The Youth Deer Hunt weekend was October 23-24, and the unofficial reported youth harvest was 273 deer. This preliminary estimate is similar to the 2020 total of 295 deer; however this figure may change as final registration information is entered and verified.

 

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department urges hunters not to use natural urine-based deer lures. These products can potentially spread Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a neurological disorder that is always fatal to white-tailed deer and moose. Synthetic lures are preferable. Do your part and help keep our deer herd free of CWD. Learn more at www.huntnh.com/wildlife/cwd.

 

It’s the color of the season: all outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, and hikers should incorporate hunter/blaze orange into their woodland wardrobes—it’s common sense in the Granite State.

 

Moose Hunt

New Hampshire’s 2021 moose season wrapped up with hunters taking a total of 30 moose – 24 bulls and 6 cows – according to preliminary numbers from Moose Biologist Henry Jones. Hunters achieved a 73% success rate during the 9-day season.

 

Around the state, moose hunters achieved a 100% success rate in the Connecticut Lakes Region, 87% in the North Region, 60% in the White Mountain Region, and 0% in the Southeast Region.

 

Bear Harvest

The 2021 bear season represents a more typical harvest, reflecting abundant fall foods.  Bear Project Leader Andrew Timmins reported that as of November 17, 812 bears, including 447 males and 365 females, have been harvested by hunters in New Hampshire. Bait hunters harvested 529 bears, still hunters/stalkers took 188 bears, and hound hunters registered 95 bears. This year’s harvest remains below both the 2020 level (1,170 bears, -31%) and 5-year average (901 bears, -10%).  While these numbers remain down, the 2021 bear season is tracking similarly to the mean harvest achieved during the past several years.  The conditions such as weather, drought, and low natural food abundance in 2020 that influenced that year’s harvest only occur about once a decade. The 2021 harvest is expected to be relatively similar to levels typically seen in years with abundant natural foods. 

 

Bear harvest data this fall, such as harvest sex ratios, method-specific harvest tallies, and regional distribution of harvest, remain consistent with management objectives. Bear harvest was highest in the White Mountains and Central regions, two areas where bear density has exceeded goals.  Bear seasons were extended in these regions to provide increased harvest pressure and hunter opportunity.  While the bear season has ended in most regions, the still hunting portion of the season remains open in the White Mountain and Central regions through November 30.  Opportunistic deer hunters may take a few more bears in those regions; however, an increasing percentage of bears have entered dens due to declining fall mast.

 

For a comparison of this year’s harvest with the statewide bear harvest over the past six years, visit www.huntnh.com/hunting/bear-harvest.html.

 

Fall Turkey Season

The fall turkey season is underway and has been successful for hunters, with a total of 538 turkeys registered to date.  Registrations show that 198 turkeys have been harvested so far during the fall archery turkey season, and 340 were taken during the fall shotgun turkey season from October 11-17 in certain Wildlife Management Units. These preliminary numbers are close to last year’s fall season total of 585 birds. Wildlife Management Unit J2 is again showing the highest success for fall turkey seasons. Unit J2 is located south of Lake Winnipesaukee and includes the towns of Sanbornton and Gilford, running south to Strafford and as far east as Milton on the Maine border. Hunters still have time to get out and harvest a turkey this fall. The archery season runs through December 8 in Wildlife Management Unit A and through December 15 in all other Wildlife Management Units.

 

More for Hunters

 

Apprentice License: Don’t forget the apprentice hunting license, an option for those ages 16 and older who want to try hunting, but have not yet taken the required Hunter Education course. It allows hunting under the guidance of a licensed hunter age 18 or older. Apprentice licenses are available only at Fish and Game headquarters. Learn more at www.huntnh.com/hunting/apprentice.html.

 

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

 

Report Poachers: If you are aware of poaching, call Operation Game Thief toll-free at 1-800-344-4262, or report wildlife crime online at www.huntnh.com/ogt.

 

 

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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 huntnh.com/funding/wsfr.html.