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NH Hunting Season Results - Preliminary Totals for Deer, Bear, Turkey

Contact:
Dan Bergeron, Deer Project Leader: (603) 271-2461
Andy Timmins, Bear Project Leader: (603) 788-3164
Ted Walski, Turkey Project Leader: (603) 352-9669
Jane Vachon, Public Affairs: (603) 271-3211

December 21, 2015

NH Deer Hunt: The unofficial deer kill for New Hampshire’s 2015 hunting season was 10,912, down 4% from the 2014 final kill of 11,396. Based on this estimate, the 2015 total is very similar to the 20-year average of 10,896. Deer hunting seasons are now closed in the state.

 

"With nearly 11,000 deer taken by hunters, it has been another very good overall season in New Hampshire,” said Dan Bergeron, the N.H. Fish and Game Department’s deer biologist. He noted that the physical condition of the deer he inspected at biological check stations this fall was excellent.

 

The 2015 harvest represents about 11% of New Hampshire's pre-season population of about 100,000 deer.

 

The unofficial deer kill for New Hampshire’s 2015 season by county, with comparisons to previous years, can be viewed at www.huntnh.com/hunting/deer-harvest.html.  The official harvest total will be made available after all deer registration data are entered and verified.

 

Bear Hunt Results

 

Hunters took a total of 749 bears during the 2015 New Hampshire bear season, which was 14% above the preceding 5-year average of 659 bears, and generally consistent (- 5%) with the 2014 tally of 786 bears, according to Fish and Game Bear Biologist Andrew Timmins.

 

The bear harvest consisted of 436 males and 313 females, resulting in an overall harvest sex ratio of 1.4 males per female.  Method-specific harvest sex ratios included 1.8 m:f for bait hunters, 1.2 m:f for still hunters  and 0.8 m:f for hound hunters.

 

A breakdown by region and method may be viewed at www.huntnh.com/hunting/bear-harvest.html.

 

The 2015 bear harvest level was the result of several factors including a strong bear population, a continued shift in hunters using methods that yield higher success rates, concentrated fall food sources and extended hunting opportunities in select regions. The two major food sources that bears focused on were beechnuts and apples. Hunters were able to better predict where bears would be, therefore harvest vulnerability increased.   Additionally, most Wildlife Management Units had extended bear hunting seasons that overlapped with a significant portion of deer season, including both muzzleloader and firearms. This provided opportunity for opportunistic deer hunters to take a bear.

 

Fall Turkey Season

 

As of December 14, hunters had taken a total of 948 turkeys during the 2015 fall hunt.  Of these, 677 (71.4%) were taken by shotgun during the five-day fall season, and 271 turkeys (28.6%) were taken by archery.  The fall archery season ended December 15.

 

The 2015 total topped last year’s (2014) fall take of 705 turkeys, representing an increase of 34.5%. Turkeys seemed to be abundant this year, according to Ted Walski, N.H Fish and Game’s turkey biologist. Semi-drought weather during April and May contributed to good hatching success and survival of turkey poults.  The 2015 Summer Brood Survey provided a record 2,302 online brood observation reports from throughout the state.

 

Of the 18 Wildlife Management Units in the state, WMU J2 registered the highest number – 212 turkeys, or 22.4% of the total harvest.  The next highest harvests were:  WMU L (115), WMU K (108), WMU H1 (94), and WMU H2 (90).

 

The tentative age/sex breakdown for the fall 2015 turkey harvest was:  409 adult females (43.1%), 299 adult males (31.5%), 144 immature males (15.2%), and 96 immature females (10.1%). Heavy toms registered included a 26 pounder and one weighing in at 24 pounds.  There were also 18 bearded hens taken.

 

2015 NH Moose Season Summary

 

According to Fish and Game Moose Biologist Kristine Rines, the 2015 moose hunt tallied 74 moose and concluded with a statewide success rate of 69%.

 

A total of 108 moose permits were issued. In addition to the 105 permits issued through the lottery (down from 124 in 2014), two auction permits were issued for the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire and one permit was donated to the Hunt of a Lifetime (HOL) program.

 

At 69% statewide success, the moose hunt was only slightly less successful than 2014 (72%). Regional success rates saw some notable changes, including the Connecticut Lakes region, which despite reduced permits, recorded the lowest success rate in its history at 70%.

 

Conversely, the Central region exhibited the highest success rate in its history at 90%. The low number of permits (10, down from 25) issued in this region likely contributed to this high success rate. In contrast, hunters in the heavily developed Southeast region had zero success (five permits were issued). While some units have had 0% success in the past, this was the first time that an entire region has tallied 0% success.

 

While success rate is interesting to observe, for moose it is a poor indicator of the status of the moose population. That information is best derived from our deer hunter moose sighting index. This year’s sighting information is still being entered and will be reported in the 2015 NH Wildlife Harvest Summary. Based on the 2014 sighting data and the new regional goals, moose populations are slightly above or at goal for all regions. The Connecticut Lakes population has been stable for the past six years, the North and White Mountain populations have shown growth for the past two years, the population in central New Hampshire has declined steadily for six years, and the Southwest and Southeast regions have been stable for one year. This fall’s deer hunter moose sighting rates will tell us how our regional moose populations have fared during this past year.

 

Successful hunters traveled from eight different states to participate in the 2015 New Hampshire moose hunt. Sixty residents and 14 non-residents filled their permits. Permittees were the primary shooter in 48 instances and sub-permittees in 26. Women hunters accounted for 8 of the 74 moose taken this year. Seventy percent of all moose were taken in the first three days of the season. Only rifles were utilized this year and, once again, the 30-06 was the preferred caliber. A gallery of photos and stories from some of the successful 2015 New Hampshire moose hunt participants can be viewed at www.huntnh.com/hunting/moose-hunt-gallery.html.

 

The heaviest bull was taken by New Hampshire resident John Gibbas in zone D2 on October 18. The animal weighed 810 lbs. completely dressed and had a spread of 51¼ inches. The heaviest cow was taken by non-resident Tyler Sypek in zone B on October 19; his animal weighed 675 lbs. dressed. The largest spread of 54.5 inches was on a bull taken by New Hampshire resident Richard Malasky in zone B. Ten-year-old NH resident Skylar Pelletier was the youngest hunter and the Hunt of a Lifetime permittee, registering a 772 lb. bull with 18 points and a 48.13 inch spread. The oldest hunter participating in the moose hunt this year was Donald Marten, a 78-year-old New Hampshire resident, who took a 630 lb. cow on an antlerless-only tag in C1.

 

Wildlife Harvest Summary: Final numbers from all the year's hunting seasons will be summarized in the 2015 New Hampshire Wildlife Harvest Summary, which will be issued in March of 2016.

 

Contributing to New Hampshire’s economy: New Hampshire’s successful hunting seasons are a reminder that hunting activities, made possible by science-based wildlife management, contribute significantly to New Hampshire’s economy.  The 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-associated Recreation done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that hunters generate about $61 million in hunting-related expenditures each year in New Hampshire. In 2014, more than 59,300 hunting licenses were sold in the state.

 

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.

 


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