Kent Gustafson: (603) 271-2461
Mark Ellingwood: (603) 271-2461
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
November 6, 2006

Firearm Season for Deer Starts November 8
Deer Herd in Good Shape - Excellent Hunting Opportunities Ahead

CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire's firearm deer season, the season most hunters look forward to all year, opens November 8, 2006. Many of the state's estimated 60,000 deer hunters will go afield during the 26-day season, which continues through December 3, 2006, except in WMU A in northern New Hamsphire, where it closes on November 26.

Early indications suggest that deer are abundant in New Hampshire this year, according to Kent Gustafson, the Deer Project Leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. As of November 5, 2006, archery and muzzleloader hunters had taken an estimated total of 5,197 deer, which is a 30% increase from the 2003-2005 average harvest at this point in the season. "This increase occurred in spite of heavy rains and high winds on the opening weekend of muzzleloader season, some of the worst weather in many years. All indications are that deer numbers are up from recent years and decent hunting conditions will provide good opportunities for the rest of the fall," Gustafson said.

Results from New Hampshire's 2006 youth deer hunt also look good. Preliminary figures from the special youth weekend, which took place October 21-22, are that youth had taken 610 deer. "This was clearly the best year ever for youth hunters on their weekend," said Gustafson. The previous youth weekend harvest record was set in 2003, when 334 deer were taken. During the 2005 youth weekend, youth hunters took a total of 326 deer.

Hunters should check the 2006-07 New Hampshire Hunting Digest for Wildlife Management Unit and season-specific either-sex day regulations and additional details. To view the current digest, click here and on the orange icon, or pick up a copy from license agents or Fish and Game offices around the state.

"For many New Englanders, the firearm deer season represents a traditional opportunity to get together with family and friends, enjoy our bountiful resources and put natural, healthy meat in the freezer before the onset of our long winter," said Gustafson.

If you haven't purchased your hunting license yet, you can buy it online if you've purchased a N.H. hunting license since 2000 (click here for online license sales). Licenses also are sold at Fish and Game headquarters and license agents across the state. The basic New Hampshire hunting license costs $22 for residents and $103 for nonresidents. Hunters under age 16 don't need a license, but must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult who is at least 18 years old.

All deer taken by hunters, including deer taken by youth, must be registered at one of many official deer registration stations in the state. A portion of hunter-killed deer are examined by wildlife biologists, providing Fish and Game with valuable information on the health of the state's deer herd. Learn more about what biologists learn from the hunter harvest in the November/December issue of New Hampshire Wildlife Journal magazine; click here and on the sample story, "Whitetails 101."

Successful hunters are reminded that they can help the less fortunate by sharing their harvest with the "Hunt for the Hungry" program run by the New Hampshire Food Bank. For more information on donating game meat, contact the food bank at (603) 669-9725.

In 2005, hunters in New Hampshire registered a total of 10,595 deer during the entire firearms, archery, youth and muzzleloader seasons. New Hampshire's deer population is estimated at about 85,000 animals, with greater numbers in the southern half of the state.

For more information on deer hunting in New Hampshire, click here.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats.


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