A rich source of information for future hunts is now out from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. The newly published “2011 New Hampshire Wildlife Harvest Summary” summarizes data gathered by wildlife biologists from the various 2011 New Hampshire hunting seasons. This annual publication provides a complete breakdown of 2011 hunting season statistics, including many totals by town and Wildlife Management Unit (WMU). Statistics are provided for deer, moose, bear, turkey and furbearers.
The “2011 N.H. Wildlife Harvest Summary” is available online at http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/pubs/hunting.html. A limited number of print copies are available for pick-up at the N.H. Fish and Game Department in Concord and at Fish and Game’s regional offices in Durham, New Hampton, Lancaster and Keene, N.H.
The report confirms that the total number of deer killed during the 2011 N.H. hunting season was 11,109. This was an increase of 14% from the 9,759 deer taken by hunters in N.H. in 2010. According to the report, recent limitations on either-sex hunting have helped speed up deer population recovery in much of the state. Of the total harvest, archery hunters took 2,787 deer; the muzzleloader kill was 2,251; and “regular” firearms hunters took 5,596 deer.
The Harvest Summary includes data from the N.H. Trophy Deer Program, run by the N.H. Antler and Skull Trophy Club, which annually recognizes hunters who take deer with a weight of 200 pounds or more by each of three hunting methods (archery, muzzleloader and regular firearms). For 2011, the heaviest deer (245 pounds) was taken by Jon B. Dunkling of Williamstown, VT, using a muzzleloader.
Hunters took 418 black bears during the 2011 season, a 41% decrease from the 2010 level and a 27% decline from the preceding 5-year average of 574 bears. The reduced bear harvest last fall appeared to be the direct result of abundant and diverse mast crops across much of the state. Abundant food decreased the need for bears to travel far in search of food. Generally speaking, current bear population management goals aim for stabilization in the north, population reduction in the White Mountains region, and allowance for measured growth in central and southern parts of the state.
Moose hunters saw a lot of moose activity in 2011, thanks to cool, rainy weather. A total of 290 moose were taken during the nine-day season. Moose hunters’ overall success rate was 71%. Hunters traveled from 16 states to participate, but New Hampshire residents took 81% of the moose harvested. The oldest hunter was Robert Houle, a 78-year-old man who took a 900-pound bull in Wildlife Management Unit C2. The youngest moose hunter was 9-year-old Dylan Douglas, who took a cow weighing 500 pounds in WMU J2.
Turkey hunters registered a total of 3,672 wild turkeys during the 2011 spring gobbler season and youth hunt, very similar to the previous year. Youth Turkey Hunt Weekend participants accounted for 14.2% of the spring total. During the fall turkey season, a total of 643 birds were taken, 432 during the fall shotgun season and 211 by archers.
During the 2010/2011 trapping season, New Hampshire trappers continued to provide valuable benefits to the state’s citizenry. Trapper harvest, under the guidance of carefully regulated trapping programs, helps maintain furbearer populations at desired biological and social levels. Data that trappers provide in annual trapper reports are essential for furbearer population management decision-making. Finally, the expertise that trappers provide to state, municipal and private interests in resolving wildlife/human conflicts represents an invaluable public service.
The new Harvest Summary reports that New Hampshire furbearers remain abundant and widespread. A total of 497 trappers held licenses in N.H. last season, a 7% increase from the previous year. Average pelt values increased from the previous year for most species. Only coyote experienced a decrease in pelt value. The value of the 2010/11 fur harvest was $89,477, based on average pelt values and the total amount of fur harvested in New Hampshire.
Wildlife research and management activities in New Hampshire, including production of the annual Wildlife Harvest Summary, are funded through Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration, a user-pay, user-benefit program supported by your purchase of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment.