Greetings, hunters. Our first deer numbers are in, bear season is in full swing, and small game and upland bird hunters are afield. Wear blaze orange, stay safe and enjoy the season!
Hunting in New Hampshire: www.huntnh.com/hunting
New Hampshire hunting licenses and permits: www.nhfishandgame.com
NH Hunting and Trapping Digest: www.huntnh.com/hunting/publications.html (includes waterfowl dates)
Archery Deer Update: As of September 25, New Hampshire’s reported statewide archery deer harvest was 851, down 23% from 1,109 taken at this point in the season in 2015. This estimate is based on the number of deer registered (not necessarily killed) in each county.
This early in the season, numerous factors can influence the harvest, including weather conditions, especially on weekends, and mast availability, according to NH Fish and Game Deer Biologist Dan Bergeron. Acorns are relatively abundant once again this year, likely affecting deer movement and hunters’ ability to “pattern” deer. Temperatures have also been relatively warm, further reducing deer movement. Anecdotal reports suggest deer numbers are still strong throughout New Hampshire, as last winter was well below average severity, and deer survival was high.
For a breakdown by county of reported deer registrations at this point in the season for the past nine years, visit www.huntnh.com/hunting/deer-harvest.html.
Youth Deer Weekend — October 22-23, 2016. Share your enthusiasm by taking a youngster hunting (learn more at www.huntnh.com/hunting/youth.html).
Deer Hunting Talks: Fish and Game wraps up its Outdoor Adventure series with two deer-hunting talks given by Hunter Education Instructor and experienced deer hunter Dave Priebe. “Deer Hunting Basics” comes up on Wednesday, October 5, and “Hunting Dominant Bucks” on October 12. The talks are free; come on down to 11 Hazen Drive in Concord at 7 p.m. and learn more about the fascinating world of white-tailed deer.
More info on the deer hunt talks: www.huntnh.com/newsroom/news.html?news=497.
If you can’t make it in person, watch the talks streamed live on the Fish and Game Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nhfishandgame.
Muzzleloader deer season: Opens statewide October 29.
Bear Season Numbers: As of September 26, a total of 503 bears (270 males, 233 females) had been reported to Fish and Game. Bait hunters had harvested 380 bears (208 males, 172 females), still hunters/stalkers had taken 117 bears (58 males, 59 females) and hound hunters had taken 6 bears (4 males, 2 females). The current harvest sex ratio is 1.2 males per female.
Regionally, 110 bears (53 males, 57 females) had been taken in the North, 149 (82 males, 67 females) in the White Mountains, 137 (73 males, 64 females) in the Central, 50 (30 males, 20 females) in Southwest-1, 56 (31 males, 25 females) in Southwest-2 and 1 (1 male) in the Southeast region.
Currently, this year’s harvest is running slightly above (+6%) the 5-year in-season average of 473 bears for this time period, according to Bear Project Leader Andy Timmins. Additionally, the current harvest is very consistent (+1%) with last year’s level (497 bears) at this point in the season. For a comparison with the past 6 years, visit www.huntnh.com/hunting/bear-harvest.html.
The bait hunting portion of the bear season has ended statewide. The entire bear hunting season has ended in the Southwest-2 and Southeast regions. The statewide (excluding the southernmost two regions) hound hunting season ends November 8. The still hunting season will end in the North and Southwest-1 regions on November 8 and in the Central and White Mountains regions on November 22.
Bear Meat Processing Tips: With proper handling, bear meat is a delicious taste of the wild – learn more at www.huntnh.com/hunting/bear-meat.html.
Pheasant Hunters, Take Note: New Hampshire pheasant hunters should be aware that the pheasant season will be closed statewide until noon on in-season stocking days. These closures will occur on Thursdays and Fridays, October 6-7, 13-14, and 20-21, 2016. See a list of pheasant stocking sites at www.huntnh.com/hunting/pheasant.html.
Fall Turkey Shotgun Season: A notable change this year is that the fall turkey shotgun season has been extended from 5 to 7 days (October 10-16, 2016). The season now includes a weekend! The fall archery season for turkey extends through December 15, concurrent with the deer archery season. Find tips and tactics for fall turkey hunting in the latest NH Wildlife Journal magazine – www.huntnh.com/pubs/documents/samples/talking-turkey.pdf.
NH Moose Hunt: October also brings the moose hunt (October 15-23, by permit only).
Small Game Hunters: October sees the launch of most of New Hampshire’s small game seasons. Diversify your hunting experience and enjoy New Hampshire’s great outdoors. Learn more at www.huntnh.com/hunting/small-game.html.
Small game hunters are asked to fill out a small game survey. Participants will be entered into a raffle for a quality firearm (get the survey at www.huntnh.com/surveys/small-game.html).
For grouse hunters, there’s also a wing and tail survey, also with a firearm prize; see locations for picking up survey packets at www.huntnh.com/surveys/ruffed-grouse.html.
Report poaching: Online at www.wildnh.com/ogt or make a confidential toll-free call to Operation Game Thief at 1-800-344-4262.
Share the Bounty: NH Food Bank is once again accepting donations of game meat for its Hunt for the Hungry program. Visit www.huntnh.com/hunting/hunt-for-hungry.html.
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 Hunter Education. 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.