New Hampshire 2008 Wildlife Harvest Summary Available

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Wildlife biologists from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department have finished crunching the numbers for the 2008 hunting seasons, and the numbers are available in the 2008 New Hampshire Wildlife Harvest Summary, online at www.huntnh.com/Hunting/hunting.htm (click on publication cover at right).

The report provides a complete breakdown of 2008 hunting season statistics, including totals by town, Wildlife Management Unit and more, making it a valuable reference both for biologists and for hunters scouting for their 2009 hunts.

The report confirms that the severe winter of 2007-08 contributed to a reduced deer harvest in 2008; the total take was 10,916 deer, a 19% decrease from the near record harvest of 13,559 deer in 2007. Above-average winter mortality, reduced fawn production and reductions in either-sex hunting days in many Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) all contributed to a reduced deer harvest in 2008.

Despite a reduction in harvest, the Harvest Summary indicates that New Hampshire's deer herd remains in good shape and is poised to rebound given average to mild winters. Reductions in either-sex hunting days in many WMUs this past fall will help offset last year's higher than average winter mortality by reducing the doe kill and allowing more rapid population recovery. Despite population and harvest decreases, the statewide adult buck kill in 2008 was the 5th highest since 1962.

Hunters took 439 black bears in New Hampshire during 2008. Although this represented a 29% decrease from the 2007 harvest of 615 bears, the 2008 harvest was consistent with target bear harvest objectives. During most years, hunters harvest between 8 and 10% (400-500 bears) of the total bear population. The widespread abundance of acorns and other natural fall foods during the fall of 2008 contributed to the reduced harvest.

Moose hunters took 333 moose during the nine-day season in 2008, a 65% success rate. Moose hunters enjoyed ideal weather conditions for the hunt. Moose were actively rutting during the season and many hunters found they could call in bulls, while others were fortunate enough to watch bulls sparring and wooing cows. Due in part to the large number of antlerless-only permits issued in the White Mountain region, the statewide success rate was down from 71% in 2007. Hunters traveled from 17 states and one foreign country (Scotland) to participate in the 2008 moose hunt in New Hampshire.

Turkey hunters registered a total of 4,107 turkeys from 232 towns during the 2008 May spring season and Youth Hunt weekend. The Youth Hunt weekend tallied 579 gobblers, a 27.5 % increase over the previous year and 14.1% of the total spring harvest.

During the 2007/08 trapping season, New Hampshire trappers continued to provide valuable benefits to our citizenry. The activities of trappers, under the guidance of carefully regulated trapping programs, help maintain furbearer populations at desired levels. Trappers provide important data to furbearer management programs and provide a valuable public service in their capacity as damage control specialists. The Harvest Report indicates that New Hampshire furbearers remain abundant and widespread. A total of 452 trappers held licenses in N.H. last season, down from 515 issued the previous year. Average pelt values declined for most species. The value of the 2007/08 fur harvest was $109,758.

A limited number of print copies of the 2008 N.H. Wildlife Harvest Summary are available for pick-up at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord and at the Department's regional offices in Durham, New Hampton, Lancaster and Keene.

The first major hunting season of 2009, the spring gobbler season, is almost here. The season runs from May 3-31, preceded by the youth turkey weekend on April 25-26. For more information on turkey hunting in New Hampshire, visit www.huntnh.com/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_turkey.htm.

Hunting activity has a positive impact on New Hampshire's economy; according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 60,000 people hunted in New Hampshire in 2006, generating more than $80 million of direct hunting-related expenditures in the state.