Concord, N.H. — Opening day for New Hampshire’s regular firearms deer season is November 9, 2011, a date anticipated with great enthusiasm by the state’s estimated 60,000 deer hunters. The season runs through December 4 in most of the state, except in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) A in northern New Hampshire, where it closes November 27.
The state’s popular muzzleloader deer season gets underway on October 29 statewide and runs through November 8.
“For many New Englanders, the firearms deer season is a traditional opportunity to get together with family and friends, enjoy our bountiful resources and put meat in the freezer before winter,” said Kent Gustafson, the deer biologist for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
Overall, the 2011 deer season is expected to be good for New Hampshire hunters, according to Gustafson. Following a mild winter in 2009-10, deer in much of the state entered the winter season in good shape last year thanks to a decent acorn crop. While snow piled up in mid-January and February, creating challenges for the deer, warm weather in mid-March quickly reduced snow depths. So, although the winter of 2010-11 was above-average in severity statewide, it could have been much worse for New Hampshire’s deer population, which is still recovering from decreases resulting from a series of severe winters since 2007.
The archery deer season began September 15 and was limited to antlered deer in September. Archers have taken a preliminary total of 1,025 deer (as of October 16, 2011); that number is up somewhat from the total for 2010 at this point in the season, but continues to reflect the desired reduction in antlerless archery kill during September. Since October 1, the archery season has once again been “either sex.” New Hampshire’s archery deer season extends through December 15, except in WMU-A, where it closes on December 8. For a comparison by county (based on where deer were registered, not necessarily where harvested), visit http://www.huntnh.com/Hunting/deer_hunt_take_October.htm.
Deer hunters can find Wildlife Management Unit and season-specific either-sex day regulations in the 2011-2012 N.H. Hunting and Trapping Digest, available online at http://www.huntnh.com/pubs/hunting.html or from any Fish and Game license agent when you buy your license. Special Unit M Antlerless Deer Permits have all been issued and are no longer available.
Changes in season length remain in place in Wildlife Management Unit A as part of an effort to improve the buck age-structure of the northern deer herd.
Hunting licenses can be purchased online at http://www.huntnh.com or from license agents statewide. Licenses are also sold at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord. The basic N.H. hunting license costs $22 for residents and $103 for nonresidents. Hunters younger than age 16 do not need a license, but must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult at least 18 years of age.
Hunters with full freezers are reminded that the New Hampshire Food Bank is seeking donations of whole or processed deer. This venison provides a valuable source of meat for food banks around the state. For more information, call the food bank at 603-669-9725 x240 or visit http://www.nhfoodbank.org.
Find more about deer hunting in New Hampshire at http://www.huntnh.com/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_deer.htm.