CONTACT:
Kent Gustafson: (603) 271-2461
Mark Ellingwood: (603) 271-2461
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211 
October 30, 2008            

Opening Day for Firearms Deer Hunting Is November 12

CONCORD, N.H. - Opening Day for New Hampshire's regular firearms deer season takes place November 12, 2008.  Most of the state's estimated 60,000 deer hunters go afield during this season, which runs through December 7, except in Wildlife Management Unit A in northern New Hampshire, where it closes November 30. 

The popular muzzleloader deer season starts on Saturday, November 1, except in WMU A, where it begins on November 3.  Muzzleloader season runs through November 11.

"For many New Englanders, the firearms deer season represents a traditional opportunity to get together with family and friends, enjoy our bountiful resources and put meat in the freezer before the onset of our long winter," said Kent Gustafson, the Deer Project Leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

In 2007, hunters in New Hampshire registered a total of 13,559 deer during the firearms, archery, youth and muzzleloader seasons. Last year's harvest represented approximately 15% of the pre-hunt deer population.

Early indications suggest that an abundant, healthy deer population is providing excellent opportunities for hunters, according to Gustafson.  As of October 19, 2008, archery hunters had taken an estimated 1,633 deer.  While down slightly from last year's total at this point in the season (2,406), it remains good compared to previous years.  In comparison, hunters had taken 1,675 deer at this point in the season in 2006.  "Hard mast" crops, such as acorns, are providing deer and other wildlife with abundant food this fall in parts of the state.  For a comparison of harvest results by county at this same point in the season in recent years, visit www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunting/deer_hunt_take_inseason.htm.

Deer hunters should note Wildlife Management Unit- and season-specific either-sex day regulations, available in the 2008-2009 New Hampshire Hunting Digest, which can be downloaded from www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunting/hunting.htm or obtained from Fish and Game license agents around the state.  Of particular note this year 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.

All deer taken by hunters, including deer taken by youth, resident landowners and lifetime license holders, must be registered at one of many official deer registration stations in the state.  Those not using the registration tag attached to their license may use the tag in the back of the 2008-2009 N.H. Hunting Digest or print a tag at www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_deer.htm.
                       
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.

New Hampshire's deer population is estimated to be about 85,000 animals, with greater numbers in the southern half of the state.  "While the winter of 2007-08 was more severe than those in recent years, deer numbers in the state as a whole remain good," said Gustafson.  "Reductions in either-hunting days in those WMUs most impacted by winter will reduce doe kills and allow for faster population recovery. Other WMUs should see harvests remain the same or increase in 2008."

For more information on deer hunting in New Hampshire, visit www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_deer.htm 

Management of the deer population by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is guided by a 10-year Big Game Management Plan

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