Crisp air, golden trees and wily game to outwit — fall is a great time to be out in New Hampshire's big woods.
The following is the weekly hunting report from New Hampshire Fish and Game.
Deer hunt update: Hunters harvested 1,993 deer in New Hampshire through October 18, according to Fish and Game Deer Project Leader Dan Bergeron. This represents an increase of 2 percent from harvest at the same point in the 2014 season. The kill remains up significantly from 2010 and 2011, when the September archery season was bucks only. The harvest to date is the third highest in the last nine years and is only below 2007 and 2013, when the state's second and fourth highest total deer kills occurred.
This year's Youth Deer Hunt Weekend is coming up on Oct. 24-25, providing hunters age 15 or younger the opportunity to take a deer of either sex while accompanied by an experienced adult hunter. The weekend provides youngsters a chance to learn deer hunting techniques and traditions, as well as other outdoor skills that can provide a lifetime of enjoyment. All youths must be accompanied by an adult mentor at least 18 years of age, with a valid N.H. hunting license. Take a kid hunting and pass on the outdoor tradition.
The 2015 muzzleloader season will begin on Saturday, Oct. 31. Check the 2015-2016 NH Hunting & Trapping Digest for Wildlife Management Unit specific regulations.
See a deer harvest comparison (to this point in the season) for the previous eight years at www.huntnh.com/hunting/deer-harvest.html.
N.H. moose hunt opening weekend brings 33 percent success: A third of New Hampshire's moose hunters were successful during the first two days of the nine-day season, achieving a 33 percent success rate on the opening weekend of the hunt. On Oct. 17-18, a total of 36 moose were taken by hunters statewide — 24 bulls and 12 cows. The total number of hunters was 108 (105 lottery permit holders, two Wildlife Heritage Foundation of NH auction permittees and one Hunt of a Lifetime participant). In comparison, last year, 39 percent of moose hunters were successful during the opening weekend. The season runs through this Sunday, Oct. 25, by permit only (see www.huntnh.com/hunting/moose.html). Limited-edition 2015 moose hunt shirts are available to all at www.shopwildnh.com.
Waterfowl Hunting is underway: Check out our new waterfowl identification resources and more at www.huntnh.com/hunting/waterfowl.html.
Bear season numbers: As of Oct. 8, Bear Project Leader Andy Timmins reports 501 bears (313 males, 188 females) have been taken so far during New Hampshire's bear season. Bait hunters have harvested 364 bears, still hunters/stalkers have taken 108, and hound hunters registered 29 bears. The current overall harvest sex ratio remains at 1.7 males per female.
This year's harvest is tracking very similar (within 8 percent) to the 5-year in-season average of 545 bears for this time period. The current harvest is 21 percent below the 2014 tally (which was an above-average harvest year) at this point in the season. In terms of harvest numbers, the current season is tracking relatively similar to that of 2010 and 2013, when totals of 708 and 570 bears were taken by the end of the season, respectively.
The bait hunting portion of the season has ended statewide, and the bear hunting season overall has ended in the Southwest-2 and Southeast regions. The statewide (excluding the southernmost two regions) hound hunting season opened Sept. 21 and ends Nov. 10. The still hunting season will end in the North and Southwest-1 regions on Nov. 10 and in the Central and White Mountains regions on Nov. 24.
Pheasant hunters take note: Under an emergency measure, no one shall discharge a firearm at any pheasant stocking site in New Hampshire from 7 a.m. to 12 noon Oct. 22-23. Those are the last two days that Fish and Game will be stocking pheasants this year. The measure results from unsafe shooting taking place while Fish and Game staff were in the process of stocking pheasants, according to Executive Director Glenn Normandeau. For a list of stocking sites, see www.huntnh.com/hunting/pheasant-stocking.html.
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 www.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.
- Category: Sports Columns