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Bear Harvest

From Andrew Timmins, NH Fish and Game Bear Project Leader

 

As of November 16, 534 bears (291 males, 243 females) have been reported to the bear project.  Bait hunters harvested 321 bears (186 males, 135 females), still hunters/stalkers have taken 114 bears (60 males, 54 females) and hound hunters have registered 99 bears (45 males, 54 females).  The current overall harvest sex ratio is 1.2 males per female.  Method-specific harvest sex ratios include 1.4, 1.1 and 0.8 m:f for bait, still and hound hunters, respectively.

 

On a regional basis, 97 bears (45 males, 52 females, 0.9 m:f) have been taken in the North, 156 (93 males, 63 females, 1.5 m:f) in the White Mountains, 173 (91 males, 82 females, 1.1 m:f) in the Central, 60 (34 males, 26 females, 1.3 m:f) in Southwest-1, 46 (26 males, 20 females, 1.3 m:f) in Southwest-2 and 2 (both males) in the Southeast region.  A surge in bear harvest has occurred since the beginning of muzzleloader deer season and has continued through deer firearms season.  Acorn and beechnut crops remain abundant and opportunistic deer hunters have taken 22 bears over the past 2+ weeks.  A few additional bears will likely be taken in the White Mountains and Central region prior to those regions closing to bear hunting on November 21.

 

Below is a breakdown of the bear harvest through November 12th for the past 6 years.  This year’s harvest continues to run 29% below the 5-year in-season average (749 bears) and 40% below the 2016 tally (889 bears) at this point in the season.  When comparing this year’s harvest to previous years, it is important to recall that above-average bear harvests were achieved during 2 of the last 6 years (2012 and 2016).   Furthermore, 2016 represented a record state bear harvest (898 bears) and this year’s harvest will not reach that level given the increased abundance of natural foods this fall.  In terms of harvest numbers, the current season is tracking relatively similar to that of 2013 when the total bear killed equaled 572.

 

The bait and hound hunting portions of the season have ended statewide.  Additionally, the entire bear hunting season has ended in the North, Southwest-1 and 2 and Southeast regions.  The still hunting season will end in the Central and White Mountains regions on November 21.

 

2017 IN-SEASON BEAR HARVEST TALLY COMPARED TO PREVIOUS 5 YEARS

YEAR

DATE

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
9/15 423 253 385 299 411 263
9/30 675 421 610 518 685 429
10/15 745 480 672 569 770 473
10/31 789 522 714 652 828 514
11/12 811 560 759 727 889 534

 

 

Historical Data

Updated 12/13/2016

The 2016 New Hampshire bear season concluded at 898 bears which was 34% above the preceding 5-year average of 668 bears.  Additionally, this year’s harvest was 19% above the 2015 level.  The harvest consisted of 481 males and 417 females resulting in an overall harvest sex ratio of 1.2 males per female.  Method-specific harvest sex ratios included 1.3 m:f for bait hunters and 1.0 m:f for both still and hound hunters. A breakdown by region and method follows.

 

2016 NH Black Bear Harvest by Region
North Region

WMUs

A, B, C2, D1

Total Harvest 164 bears (84 females, 80 males)
Harvest by method (#  bears) Bait (127), Hound (15), Still (22)
5-year average annual harvest (2011-2015) 134 bears
White Mountains Region

WMUs

C1, D2, E, F

Total Harvest 282 bears (130 females, 152 males)
Harvest by method (#  bears) Bait (161), Hound (46), Still (75)
5-year average annual harvest (2011-2015) 195 bears

Central Region

WMUs

G, I1, J1, J2

Total Harvest 293 bears (136 females, 157 males)
Harvest by method (#  bears) Bait (128), Hound (39), Still (126)
5-year average annual harvest (2011-2015) 224 bears

Southwest-1 Region

WMUs

H1, I2

Total Harvest 89 bears (37 females, 52 males)
Harvest by method (#  bears) Bait (33), Hound (12), Still (44)
5-year average annual harvest (2011-2015) 69 bears

Southwest-2 Region

WMUs

H2, K

Total Harvest 69 bears (30 females, 39 males)
Harvest by method (#  bears) Bait (37), Still (32)
5-year average annual harvest (2011-2015) 43 bears

Southeast Region

WMUs

L, M

Total Harvest 1 bear  (1 male)
Harvest by method (#  bears) Still (1)
5-year average annual harvest (2011-2015) 3 bears

 

 

2016 Bear Harvest Tally Compared to Previous 5 Years
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
418 812 570 786 754 898