Opening day for New Hampshire’s regular firearms deer season is November 13, 2013, a date anticipated with great enthusiasm by the state’s 60,000 deer hunters. The season runs through December 8 in most of the state, except in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) A in northern New Hampshire, where it closes December 1 (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). The state’s popular muzzleloader deer season gets underway on November 2 statewide and runs through November 12.
“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, Wildlife Programs Supervisor for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
New Hampshire’s archery deer season began September 15. As of October 20, 2013, a total of 2,518 deer had been taken by archers, an increase of 30% over the 2012 total at this point in the season. According to Fish and Game Deer Project Leader Dan Bergeron, the harvest remains up significantly from 2009 and 2010, when the September archery season was bucks only, and is the highest in the last nine years. Reported registrations in most counties have increased toward or surpassed 2007 levels, when the state’s second highest total deer kill occurred.
“The increase at this point in the season is likely the result of the mild winter in 2012-13 and favorable hunting conditions,” said Bergeron. “The increased deer kill is likely to continue throughout the archery, youth, muzzleloader and regular firearm seasons as a result of higher deer survival and recruitment following two of the mildest winters on record during 2011-12 and 2012-13. Food abundance seems to be average this fall, with reports of certain crops being locally abundant.”
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 N.H. Hunting and Trapping Digest, available at http://www.huntnh.com/pubs/hunting.html or from any agent when you buy your license.
Special Unit M Antlerless Deer Permits are sold out.
Hunting licenses can be purchased online at http://www.huntnh.com, from license agents statewide, or at the N.H. Fish and Game Department in Concord. The basic N.H. hunting license costs $22 for residents and $103 for nonresidents, plus a $2.50 wildlife habitat fee. Hunters age 15 and younger do not need a license, but do require permits for some species, such as turkey and bear, and must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult at least 18 years of age.
New Hampshire continues to offer the Apprentice Hunting License, which allows people a chance to hunt under the guidance of an experienced hunter age 18 or older without taking a Hunter Education course first. Learn more at http://www.huntnh.com/Hunting/apprentice.html.
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. The New Horizons Food Bank in Manchester also accepts game donations to help feed the hungry. To donate game meat to New Horizons, call 603-628-6133, x114.
Find more about deer hunting in New Hampshire at http://www.huntnh.com/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_deer.htm.
Logo courtesy New Hampshire Fish and Game Department