From New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
-- Preliminary numbers are in for New Hampshire's deer, bear and fall turkey hunting seasons. The estimated statewide deer kill for New Hampshire’s 2012 season was 11,590 deer, up 4 percent from the final 2011 harvest (11,109 deer), the highest harvest since 2007.
The 2012 harvest represents about 14 percent of New Hampshire's pre-season population of about 85,000 deer. Deer hunting closed in the state on Dec. 15, the final day of the archery deer season.
"Last year’s mild winter helped the deer population in much of the state and the statewide kill increased for the second year in a row. Registration data are being entered and verified and by mid-January better information on the distribution of the kill by Wildlife Management Unit will be available," said Kent Gustafson, a deer biologist and Wildlife Programs Supervisor at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
The unofficial deer kill for New Hampshire’s 2012 season by county, with comparisons to previous years, is available at http://www.huntnh.com/Hunting/deer_hunt_take_by_County.htm.
The 2012 figures are estimates based on the number of deer reported as being registered in each county, not necessarily killed in that county. As a result they may not be directly comparable to the actual kill by county for previous years.
A record number of black bears were taken, surpassing the previous record of 803 bears taken in 2003. The total of 806 bears (433 males and 373 females) is preliminary. Bait hunters harvested 426 bears; still hunters/stalkers took 282 bears. Hound hunters registered 98 bears. The overall harvest sex ratio was 1.2 males per female.
The 2012 New Hampshire bear harvest was 39 percent above the 5-year in-season average of 581 bears for this time period. The 2012 harvest was nearly double that achieved in 2011, when a total of 418 bears were taken in New Hampshire. Regionally, 180 bears were taken in the North, 229 in the White Mountains, 263 in the Central, 76 in Southwest-1, 57 in Southwest-2, and 1 in the Southeast regions.
The 2012 bear season also saw a new record bait harvest set, surpassing the previous high of 372 bears taken in both 2009 and 2010. The increase in bait harvest, as well as the overall bear harvest, during 2012 represents both continued increased participation in baiting, as well as lower food abundance.
For a comparison of bear season results in recent years, visit http://www.huntnh.com/Hunting/bear_hunt_take.htm.
Fall turkey hunters also did well. Preliminary reports indicate hunters registered a total of 1,024 turkeys – a 60 percent increase over last year's combined fall turkey seasons. The preliminary 2012 breakdown was 707 wild turkeys harvested during the fall shotgun season and 311 turkeys harvested during the fall archery season.
Final numbers from all the year's hunting seasons will be summarized in the 2012 New Hampshire Wildlife Harvest Summary issued in March.