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NH Hunting Report - November 10, 2015

CONTACT:
Kent Gustafson or Ellen MacNeil: (603) 271-2461

 

The opening day of regular firearms hunting season is always a holiday for deer hunters, but this year it is doubly so, as the season opener falls on November 11, 2015, which is also Veteran’s Day.  With that in mind, hunters are encouraged to call ahead to make sure deer check stations are open; a full list of New Hampshire deer check stations, with contact information, can be found at www.huntnh.com/hunting/deer-check-stations.html. With the opening of the regular firearm season and the increasing number of hunters afield, hunters are reminded to wear blaze orange. New Hampshire has more than 59,000 licensed hunters age 16-68.

 

 

Deer Hunt Update


deerThe statewide estimated deer kill through November 8, 2015, is 4,929.  This is the fifth highest in the last 9 years. These reported totals include the archery season and estimated registrations through the second weekend of the muzzleloader season, which ends Tuesday, November 10. Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Grafton Counties are showing the highest deer registrations to date. The 2015 totals represent a 3% decrease in harvest from the same point last year, according to Deer Biologist Dan Bergeron. See a deer harvest comparison (to this point in the season) with previous years at www.huntnh.com/hunting/deer-harvest.html.

 

Each Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) has various numbers of either-sex days. Hunters should check the 2015-16 NH Hunting & Trapping Digest (available at license agents or www.huntnh.com/hunting/publications.html) for WMU-specific regulations.

 

Hunters are reminded that the season to bait for deer closes on Wednesday, November 18, in WMUs A-L.  The deer baiting season will remain open through December 15 in WMU M and on Long and Governor’s Islands.  Also, hunters holding a Disabled Veterans or Paraplegic hunting license can continue to bait for deer through December 15 in WMUs B through M and until December 8 in WMUA.

 

The firearms deer season runs through December 6 in most of the state, except in WMU A in northern New Hampshire, where it closes November 29.

 

Find more information about deer hunting in New Hampshire at www.huntnh.com/hunting/deer.html.

 

Successful Youth Deer Weekend


Preliminary reports show that young hunters succeeded in harvesting 368 deer during the 2015 Youth Deer Hunt Weekend in New Hampshire, down 8% from the official 2014 total of 398. This unofficial total does not include information from all registration stations. The 2015 total is slightly above the annual average since the youth deer hunt began in 1999.

 

Fall Turkey Report


The turkey harvest for fall 2015 looks pretty good, according to Turkey Biologist Ted Walski.  As of November 9, a total of 859 registration forms have been received. People are reporting “turkeys everywhere” this year, says Walski.  Dry weather during April and May contributed to good hatching success. The total fall 2014 harvest was 705 turkeys (240 in the archery season and 465 in the shotgun season).  Therefore, the current fall 2015 season of 859 is 21.8% higher so far.

 

Of the total taken to date, hunters took 636 turkeys (296 gobblers and 340 hens) during the five-day fall turkey shotgun season of October 12-16.  Unit J2 east of Route 93 and north of Route 4, continues to be the “hot” unit, with 149 turkeys reported; it is followed by WMUs K (79), L (70), H1 (65) and H2 (65).  The statewide total fall shotgun harvest last year (2014) was 465 turkeys.

 

Archery hunters with a turkey permit still have until December 15 to try for a turkey, except in WMU A where the season ends on December 8. 

 

Apprentice License Option

  
New Hampshire’s Apprentice Hunting License allows people a chance to hunt under the guidance of an experienced hunter age 18 or older without taking a Hunter Education course. This license is a great way to introduce a friend or family member to hunting. In 2014, a total of 1,353 individuals (944 men and 409 women) took advantage of the apprentice license program, hunting everything from deer to migratory waterfowl. Apprentice licenses are available only at Fish and Game headquarters. Learn more at www.huntnh.com/hunting/apprentice.html.

 

Darren Compton - moose69% of Hunters Successful in 2015 New Hampshire Moose Hunt

 

Preliminary figures show that 74 hunters succeeded in taking their moose during the 9-day moose season. With a total of 108 permits issued, this represented a statewide success rate of 69%.  Last year's (2014) overall success rate was 72%. The breakdown for the harvest this year was 46 bulls (62%) and 28 cows (38%).

 

Bear Season Numbers


As of October 28, 564 bears (346 males, 218 females) have been taken by NH hunters.  Bait hunters harvested 375 bears, still hunters/stalkers have taken 136 bears, and hound hunters have registered 53 bears. The current overall harvest sex ratio remains at 1.6 males per female.

 

Currently, this year’s harvest is tracking relatively close (within 7%) of the 5-year in-season average of 606 bears for this time period. The bear kill to date is 20% below the 2014 tally (which was an above average harvest year) at this point in the season.

 

On a regional basis, 126 bears have been taken in the North, 161 in the White Mountains, 170 in the Central Region, 66 in Southwest-1, 38 in Southwest-2, and 3 in the Southeast region.

 

It appears that bears have recently shifted their focus to the abundant apple crop, according to Bear Biologist Andrew Timmins.  This likely reflects a dwindling beechnut and acorn supply that has been the main staple since September.  While production of these nuts was reasonable in many areas, they were not bumper crops.  In addition to apples, bears will likely switch to mountain ash in the more northern part of the state during the latter part of the season.

 

The bait hunting portion of the season has ended statewide. The hound hunting season ends November 10.  The entire bear hunting season has ended in the Southwest-2 and Southeast regions. The still hunting season ends in the North and Southwest-1 regions on November 10 and in the Central and White Mountains regions on November 24.

 

Small Game Hunters: Please take time to help monitor small game populations and participate in our small game and grouse wing and tail surveys; we’ve got a quality firearm to raffle off to a lucky participant in each (see huntnh.com/newsroom/news.html?news=176).

 

The NH Fish and Game Department owns 89 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) across the state, encompassing nearly 52,000 acres. The primary purpose of these lands is to protect and improve habitat for wildlife, but these lands are also open for public recreation including hunting. Check out our interactive WMA map at www.huntnh.com/maps/wma.html.

 

Hunt for the Hungry: Have too much game meat? Find out how you can donate excess at www.huntnh.com/hunting/hunt-for-hungry.html.

 

Report a Poacher:  If you are aware of a poaching situation, call Operation Game Thief toll-free at 1-800-344-4262 or report wildlife crime online at www.wildnh.com/ogt.

 

Know someone who would like to get the N.H. Hunting Report?  Have them sign up at www.huntnh.com/about/mail-list.html.

 

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WSFRFederal Aid in Wildlife Restoration: A User-Pay, User-Benefit Program
Researching and managing wildlife and teaching people to become safe, responsible hunters are activities funded by your license dollars and by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program, supported by an excise tax on your purchases of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. Learn more at huntnh.com/funding/wsfr.html.