Deer Hunt Begins

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Firearms season for deer -- a favorite time of year for most New Hampshire hunters -- is almost here. Last year, hunters took a total of 11,089 deer in the state. Currently, New Hampshire has an estimated population of about 76,000 white-tailed deer.

"Many hunters live for this season," says Kent Gustafson, deer project leader for New Hampshire Fish and Game. "It should be a good year for deer hunting in the state, but some extra scouting may help this fall. A generally poor and spotty year for hard mast such as acorns and beechnuts may result in somewhat different patterns of deer movement, especially earlier in the season. If you can find a stand of oak or beech with nuts this year, you could find some great action."

New Hampshire has the following hunting seasons for white-tailed deer:

  • Muzzleloader season starts November 1 and runs through November 11. Hunting with traditional muzzle-loading rifles is growing in popularity, according to Gustafson. Last year, muzzleloader hunters took a total of 2,911 deer in New Hampshire, up 29 percent from the previous year.
  • Regular firearms season starts November 12 and ends December 7. The regular firearms season remains the most popular hunting season of the year in the Granite State; firearms hunters took 6,064 deer last year, up 19 percent from 2001.
  • Archery season began September 15 and runs through December 15. Last year, archery hunters took 1,854 deer, up 18 percent from 2001.
  • Youth deer weekend took place on October 25 and 26. In 2002, youth hunters took 260 deer during the youth hunting weekend.

Within the hunting seasons are dates for hunting any deer and for hunting only antlerless deer. For specific details on the seasons, bag limits and other rules, check the 2003-2004 New Hampshire Hunting Digest, available from license agents statewide, or click here to view online.

Deer hunters should note that the bear hunting season will be closed beginning November 1 in WMUs A, B, C2, D1 and D2, due to an unusually high harvest this fall.

Deer hunting activity provides an important boost to the state's economy, according to a study produced by Southwick Associates, Inc., for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. More than 65,000 people hunted deer in New Hampshire in 2001, generating expenditures in the state of nearly $68 million.

License and permit fees paid by hunters help support New Hampshire Fish and Game's deer research and management programs, which allow wildlife biologists to carefully monitor and regulate deer population levels throughout the state.