New Hampshire Firearm Deer Season Winding Down
New Hampshire's regular firearms deer hunting is going well in the final weeks of the season, as hunters look forward to time afield during the Thanksgiving holiday. Estimated statewide deer harvest numbers so far are below last year's levels, but similar to those seen in 2006. The regular firearms season runs through December 7, 2008, in most of the state, with the exception of Wildlife Management Unit A in northern New Hampshire, where it closes November 30, 2008.
Through November 16, 2008, hunters statewide had taken an estimated 7,886 deer. Last year, hunters had harvested 9,290 deer by this date. Other than last year's near-record season, however, hunters haven't taken a higher total number of deer at this point in the season since 2000. Notable decreases in harvest have been recorded in eastern and northern areas where last winter's impacts were most severe.
"Thanksgiving week should continue to provide good firearm and archery hunting opportunities, with at least some snow in much of northern New Hampshire," said Kent Gustafson, Deer Project Leader for Fish and Game. "For many families, this is a traditional time to get out and enjoy the pursuit of whitetails, a time when hunting stories and Thanksgiving dinner are both shared with family and friends."
For a comparison of harvest results by county at this same point in the season in recent years, visit www.HuntNH.com/Hunting/deer_hunt_take_November.htm..
Deer hunters should note Wildlife Management Unit- and season-specific either-sex day regulations, in the 2008-2009 New Hampshire Hunting Digest, which is available online at www.HuntNH.com/Hunting/hunting.htm or can be picked up at Fish and Game license agents around the state. In WMU A only, an antler point restriction is again in place in addition to changes in season length.
Hunting licenses can be purchased from license agents across the state, or online anytime if you've bought a N.H. hunting license since 2000, at www.HuntNH.com. Licenses are also sold at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord. The basic N.H. hunting license is $22 for residents and $103 for nonresidents. Hunters under age 16 do not need a license, but must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult at least 18 years of age.
New Hampshire's bear hunting season concludes this week. As of November 16, hunters in New Hampshire had taken an estimated 426 bears (240 males, 186 females). The bear harvest is 31% below the 2007 tally at this point in the season (613), but is 21% higher than the 2006 total by this date (352 bears). The bear season ends November 25; it currently remains open only in four WMUs in the White Mountain region.
According to Fish and Game bear biologist Andrew Timmins, bears have continued to remain very active over the past couple of weeks because of the abundance of acorns in many areas of the state. During years of less abundant mast, most bears typically den by early November. Many deer hunters are reporting seeing bears while deer hunting, and a number of these hunters who also have a bear license have taken bears.
Successful hunters can help the less fortunate by sharing their harvest with the "Hunt for the Hungry" program at the New Hampshire Food Bank. For more information on donating game meat, call (603) 669-9725 or visit www.nhfoodbank.org.
For more information on hunting in New Hampshire, visit www.HuntNH.com/Hunting/hunting.htm.