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New Hampshire 2009 deer harvest down; bear harvest second highest

From the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

-- Based on preliminary deer registration tallies, N.H. hunters took 10,390 deer during the 2009 season. This preliminary statewide total kill was down about 5 percent from the actual 2008 deer harvest of 10,916, but is comparable to season results prior to 2006.

Based on these 2009 preliminary registration figures by county (which indicate where deer were registered, not necessarily taken), results were mixed, according to Kent Gustafson, Deer Project Leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

“Some areas experienced reduced deer movements this fall as a result of abundant acorn production and, until the very end of the regular firearm season, most of the state was snow free,” said Gustafson. “These factors combined with the residual effects of recently severe winters, especially 2007-08, have reduced recent harvests from the near record kill in 2007. In spite of this, New Hampshire’s harvest again exceeded 10,000, which has only happened 15 times in the past 50 years.”

New Hampshire has an estimated population of about 85,000 deer, with the 2009 kill representing about 12 percent of that total. The deer hunting season closed in the state on Dec. 15, the final day of archery deer season.

The unofficial deer harvest for New Hampshire’s 2009 season by county, with comparisons to the previous 8 years, is posted at http://www.huntnh.com/Hunting/deer_hunt_take_by_County.htm.
2009 estimates are based on the number of deer reported as being registered in each county (not necessarily taken in that county).

The unofficial harvest tally for New Hampshire's 2009 bear season was 755 bears, the second highest bear harvest in the state’s history. Most of the increase over the 439 bear tally of 2008, took place in the northernmost three management regions, which saw poor beechnut production and highly variable oak crops. Harvest in the southernmost three management regions was very similar to previous years.  

“When fall food is scarce, bears become more vulnerable to hunting as they forage over greater distances and become easier to pattern at local food sources,” said Fish and Game Bear Project Leader Andy Timmins. “This year we had an abundant apple crop and a spotty nut crop, so bears were more predictably in orchards. An increased number of bears were also taken in cornfields last fall as compared to previous years.”

Overall, the 2009 bear season tally was 50 percent above the preceding 5-year average (504 bears) and 72 percent higher than the 2008 tally (439). Hunters took 413 males and 342 females, yielding a harvest sex ratio of 1.2 males per female. A preliminary breakdown of 2009 bear season results by region and method may be found at http://www.huntnh.com/Hunting/bear_hunt_take.htm.

Final official numbers from the 2009 hunting seasons will be available in the 2009 New Hampshire Wildlife Harvest Summary, which will be published in March 2010 and posted on the Fish and Game website at http://www.huntnh.com.

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