Wildlife and Crossbow Rules Finalized

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The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department today announced final state rules regarding wildlife and wildlife management, as well as crossbow hunting.

The new rules decrease the number of days during which muzzleloader or firearms hunters may hunt antlerless deer in some parts of the state during the upcoming deer hunting seasons. The change is based on research, previously reported, showing record-setting highs in this past winter's "severity index" for the central and southern parts of the state. Persistently cold temperatures and deep snow resulted in more winter deer deaths and fewer fawns this spring.

Kent Gustafson, deer project leader, noted that Fish and Game's deer management plan goal is to maintain or increase numbers of white-tailed deer in much of the state. A decrease in hunting pressure on female deer will help offset the negative effects of the severe winter in much of central and southern New Hampshire; hence the proposed decrease in "either-sex" hunting days.

"The proposed change makes sense given the severity of the winter and the deer population goals, and it should help the deer recover from a rough winter," Gustafson said. "We will increase the number of either-sex days in future years, consistent with providing hunting opportunity and meeting population objectives."

On the flip side of the coin, for Wildlife Management Units A, B, C1, C2, D and L, the new rules lengthen the either-sex archery season to extend from September 15 through December 15. This is a return to season length prior to 2002-2003. There were no changes in either-sex muzzleloader, firearms or archery season dates for Unit M on the seacoast. Click here for a chart showing detailed deer season dates.

Fish and Game also announced final regulations allowing hunters to take deer with a crossbow during the firearms season and using the firearms deer tag, provided they purchase a special $5 crossbow hunting permit in addition to the regular hunting license for deer. Persons permitted to use a crossbow pursuant to disabled hunter regulations would not be required to purchase the crossbow permit, but would still be required to comply with other regulations. (Click here for more information on disabled hunter regulations.) The rules also would allow the use of crossbows for taking deer on Long Island in Moultonborough using a Long Island deer permit and prohibit the use of crossbows during the youth hunting weekend for deer.