Great Season for New Hampshire Youth Deer Hunters

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Preliminary reports show that young hunters succeeded in harvesting 332 deer during the 2008 Youth Deer Hunt Weekend in New Hampshire, which took place on October 25-26, 2008.

This year's total was down from 2007, when 642 deer were taken during the youth hunt, according to Kent Gustafson, the Deer Project Leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. "Reduced deer numbers in much of the state as a result of last winter's severity, as well as reduced participation resulting from new residency reciprocity regulations, contributed to the lower kill," said Gustafson. This year's total was similar to that seen during the 2003-2005 youth hunts, when between 312 and 334 deer were taken annually.

"In spite of the lower harvest, New Hampshire's young hunters were able to enjoy two days of nice weather, the companionship of an experienced mentor, and a chance to learn the skills of deer hunting," said Gustafson.

Final youth hunt numbers will not be available until all the registration slips have been entered and verified.

The special weekend gives young people statewide the opportunity to go deer hunting with an adult mentor, without the pressure of competing with thousands of adult hunters. Accompanying adults must be licensed hunters and are not allowed to carry a firearm, so that they can devote all of their time and attention to coaching their young companions. New Hampshire has offered a special youth deer hunt since 1999.

Youth also may hunt in New Hampshire during the regular seasons. All youth hunters under age 16 must be accompanied by a licensed adult 18 years or older while hunting. "Accompanied" means within sight and hearing, excluding electronic devices, when actual physical direction and control can be effected, pursuant to RSA 207:1, XXX.

New this year, non-resident youth hunters were able to participate in the New Hampshire Youth Deer Hunt Weekend only if New Hampshire youth may hunt in their state if it holds a special youth deer hunt. Vermont youths were not eligible to participate in this fall's New Hampshire youth deer hunt weekend because of residency restrictions on Vermont's youth hunt. These restrictions do not apply during the regular deer seasons.

For more information about youth hunting in New Hampshire, visit www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunting/youth_hunting.htm.