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NH Hunting Report - January 28, 2022

Important Resources for Hunters:

 

Deer Hunting

The official deer harvest of New Hampshire’s 2021 hunting season was 12,551. This number is a decrease of 4% from 2020’s final harvest of 13,043 deer, but also represents the third-greatest harvest in the past 10 years.

 

“With over 12,000 deer taken during the 2021 season, it has been another great year for New Hampshire hunters,” said Becky Fuda, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Deer Project Leader. She noted that the physical condition of deer appeared good this fall, and that a number of very large bucks were harvested throughout the state again this year. “This season’s total harvest ranks as the sixth highest in the last 100 years of the state’s history,” said Fuda. Recent harvests continue to remain among the highest in the state’s history, with 14 of the top 20 harvests all taking place since 2000. Current harvests are also more stable and sustainable than in the past, with 65% of the harvest being comprised of adult bucks. Many deer harvests during the 1960s were comprised of a majority of antlerless deer.

 

Bear Hunt

The 2021 statewide bear harvest totaled 892 bears, the fourth highest harvest in New Hampshire history. This year’s harvest was similar to the preceding 5-year average of 922 bears, and 25% below 2020’s record harvest of 1,183 bears. The 2021 harvest consisted of 475 males and 417 females, representing an overall harvest sex ratio of 1.1 males to each female. Method-specific harvest results included 531 bears taken by bait hunters, 245 bears taken by still hunting, and 116 bears taken with hounds.

 

“For the fourth consecutive year, bear hunters have had high success rates with annual harvests ranging from 800 to 1,200 bears,” said Andrew Timmins, New Hampshire Fish and Game’s Bear Biologist. “Despite abundance of natural foods during several recent seasons, hunters have been very successful in taking bears. Historically, we have relied on years of high harvest followed by years of low harvest to keep bear populations consistent with objectives. However, the need to reduce bear densities in some regions has led to extended bear seasons, resulting in increased hunter effort and higher harvest rates.”

 

Current bear densities are consistent with regional population objectives in three of six management units. Bear densities in the White Mountains, Central, and Southeast regions are currently above goal, therefore seasons have been extended in an effort to curtail population growth and offer increased hunter opportunity. Timmins noted that the recent trend in increased bear harvest over the past four years in select management regions has been very effective in moving regional populations toward formulated regional goals.

 

Fall Turkey Season

The fall 2021 turkey season was a successful one for hunters, with a total of 584 turkeys registered. Registrations show that 232 turkeys were harvested during the fall archery turkey season, and 352 were taken during the fall shotgun turkey season that took place in October in certain Wildlife Management Units. These numbers are very close to the previous year, when 538 birds were harvested during the entire fall season. 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, which is on the Maine border. The fall archery season for turkeys runs concurrent with the fall archery season for deer: September 15 through December 15, except for Wildlife Management Unit A where it ends a week earlier on December 8. The fall shotgun season runs for seven consecutive days during the month of October. It begins five days preceding the moose season and only occurs in designated Wildlife Management Units, including D2, G, H1, H2, I1, I2, J1, J2, K, L, and M.

 

Moose Season Summary

During New Hampshire's 2021 moose season, 30 hunters succeeded in taking a moose 24 of the harvested moose were bulls and 6 were cows. The success rate was 73% and highest north of the White Mountains, which is consistent with previous years.

 

Two of the bulls weighed 880 pounds dressed, which translates to approximately 1,200 pounds on the hoof! This illustrates the need for permittees to be well equipped for removing a downed moose from the woods; it is not as simple as dragging out a deer. In 2021, most hunters were well prepared for this task, but please keep this point in mind if you are selected for a moose permit in the future. The 2022 moose hunt lottery opens January 28, 2022 and closes May 27.

 

More for Hunters

 

Wildlife Harvest Summary: Final numbers from the year's hunting seasons will be summarized in the 2021 New Hampshire Wildlife Harvest Summary, which will be issued in March of 2022.

 

Help Teach Hunter Education: The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is looking for volunteer instructors to help with the Hunter Education Program. Hunting is one of the safest outdoor recreational activities thanks to the 450+ volunteers in the state who teach the mandatory hunter education course. If you are age 18 or older and willing to invest as little as one day of your time per year, consider taking the required volunteer instructor training to get started. Applications are available at www.wildnh.com/hunting/hunter-ed-become-instructor.html. If you have questions, contact Fish and Game Hunter Education Coordinator Josh Mackay at joshua.mackay@wildlife.nh.gov.

 

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.