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Deer season going well in NH; Bear harvest high

From the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

-- New Hampshire’s regular firearms deer hunting is going well, as hunters look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday week. Through Nov. 15, hunters had taken an estimated 7,220 deer in New Hampshire. That number is about 8 percent below last year’s take of 7,886 deer at this same point in the season, but comparable to the average harvest during the years from 2001 through 2006.

“Thanksgiving week should continue to provide good firearm and archery hunting opportunities as breeding activity is peaking,” said Kent Gustafson, Deer Project Leader for Fish and Game. “For many families, this is a traditional time to get out and enjoy the pursuit of whitetails, a time when deer hunting stories and Thanksgiving dinner are both shared with family and friends.”

For a comparison of harvest results by county at this same point in the season in recent years, visit http://www.HuntNH.com/Hunting/deer_hunt_take_November.htm.

The regular firearms deer season runs through Dec. 6 in most of the state, with the exception of Wildlife Management Unit A in northern New Hampshire, where it closes Nov. 29.

Deer hunters should note Wildlife Management Unit- and season-specific either-sex day regulations in the 2009-2010 New Hampshire Hunting Digest, available at http://www.HuntNH.com/Hunting/hunting.htm or from Fish and Game license agents. In WMU A only, an antler point restriction is also in place.

Hunting licenses can be purchased online anytime at http://www.HuntNH.com, from license agents statewide or at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord. The basic N.H. hunting license is $22 for residents and $103 for nonresidents. Hunters under age 16 do not need a license, but must be accompanied by a licensed adult at least 18 years of age.

As of Nov. 18, approximately 500 special permits remain available for taking one additional antlerless deer in Wildlife Management Unit M during the archery or firearms season by any legal method. Until they are gone, these permits are sold on a first-come, first-served basis for $13 each (a limit of one per licensed hunter). They can be purchased online, at Fish and Game headquarters, or by mail. Visit http://www.wildnh.com/Hunting/Special_Unit_M_permits.htm.

New Hampshire’s bear hunting season comes to a close on Nov. 24. The season across the majority of the state has ended; however, the White Mountains region remains open to bear hunting through Nov. 24. As of Nov. 2, a total of 708 bears had been registered by hunters in the state.

Bait hunters harvested 370 bears; still hunters/stalkers had taken 256 bears; and hound hunters had registered 82 bears. So far, this year’s bear harvest is 48% above the 5-year in-season average of 477 bears for this time period. Fish and Game bear biologist Andy Timmins estimates that this year’s bear harvest will be the second highest in history. (The record harvest of 803 bears was achieved in 2003.) Recent reports indicate deer hunters have been taking a fair number of bears while deer hunting. Hunters have been encountering bears mostly in oak stands where acorns remain available in some locations.

Hunting activity provides a significant boost to New Hampshire’s economy. According to the most recent National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, about 60,000 hunters in New Hampshire accounted for nearly $75 million annually in trip-related, equipment and other spending in the state.  

Successful hunters can help the less fortunate by sharing their harvest with the “Hunt for the Hungry” program at the New Hampshire Food Bank. For more information on donating game meat, call (603) 669-9725 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, contact Mike Tessier, executive director, at (603) 628-6133, ext 114.

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