New Hampshire Small Game Seasons Get Underway

CONCORD, N.H. — Small game hunting season for gray squirrel gets underway September 1 — a nice opportunity to get out and hunt in comfortable weather and a great way to introduce a youngster to hunting skills. On October 1 ruffed grouse, woodcock and snowshoe hare seasons open and all are exciting to hunt and make excellent table fare.

Small game hunters will want to check out the newly published New Hampshire Small Game Summary (PDF), which presents final data from the Small Game Hunter Survey and the Ruffed Grouse Wing and Tail Survey, both conducted by the NH Fish and Game Department each year.

While the report covers a variety of small game species, the primary focus is on New Hampshire’s two most sought-after small game species: ruffed grouse and woodcock. The report addresses long-term trends for grouse observation rates and breeding surveys for grouse (drumming) and woodcock (singing ground). Ruffed grouse were the most popular small game species in New Hampshire last season, accounting for 64% of hunter hours, while woodcock accounted for 22% of hunter effort. Other species of interest included snowshoe hare and gray squirrel.

“With a better understanding of small game populations, we hope to achieve improved management and provide enhanced opportunities for public enjoyment of New Hampshire’s small game species,” writes Small Game Project Leader Karen Bordeau.

If you hunt small game, please take part in this year’s surveys:
Download the Small Game Survey form at, call (603) 271-2461, or email (include your name and mailing address and mention the small game survey).

Grouse hunters can participate in the Wing and Tail Survey by picking up grouse sample packets from participating locations listed at

Everyone who completes either of these two surveys will be entered into a raffle for a firearm donated by Sturm Ruger and the Ruffed Grouse Society, respectively.

“A big thanks to all the small game hunters who participated in our survey efforts!” said Bordeau.

Learn more about small game hunting in New Hampshire at

Wildlife research and management activities in New Hampshire are funded through Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration, a user-pay, user-benefit program supported by the purchase of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment.