When it comes to the second half year, hunters are eagerly awaiting hunting season for big games and small games. New Hampshire, a state featuring beautiful scenery and a wide variety of wildlife, provides thrilling hunting opportunities that attract hunters nationwide.

The state's Fish and Game Department manages the hunting season regulation by establishing precise dates and rules for different game species. The hunting season generally takes place from September to December for deer, bear, turkey, and small game like rabbit and squirrel. Before going hunting in the field, hunters need to obtain the correct licenses and permits.

As the hunting season nears, it is time to prepare for the upcoming seasons. Now let’s check out the New Hampshire hunting dates, limits and licenses.

New Hampshire Deer Season

In New Hampshire, the primary deer species you can hunt is the White-tailed Deer. This species is the most significant game animal in the state, commonly found throughout its various habitats. In recent years, hunters in New Hampshire have harvested around 14,000 deer annually.

Deer hunting season is divided into multiple segments, such as archery, muzzleloader, and firearms seasons. Hunters have the opportunity to harvest one deer annually, with varying dates depending on the region.

The archery season usually lasts from mid-September to mid-December, with the muzzleloader season taking place for 10 days in early November. The hunting season with firearms typically lasts from the middle of November to early December.

  • Deer Archery Season: September 15 - December 15, 2024
  • Deer Muzzleloader Season: November 2 - November 12, 2024
  • Deer Regular Firearms Season: November 13 - December 8, 2024
  • Youth Deer-Hunting Weekend: October 26 - 27, 2024

*Note:

  1. Archery season and firearm season close one week early in WMU A.
  2. The legal hunting hour is half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.
  3. Different rules apply to hunting deer in specific zones and timeframes. That means, in zone 1, you can hunt any deer initially, but later on, you can only hunt antlered deer in the same zone in other periods. To check the details of each date and each limit, please check Deer Hunting in New Hampshire.
  4. After harvesting, deer must be registered within 24 hours online or at a registration station.

New Hampshire Bear Season

Hunters can hunt Black Bear in this state. The number of bear harvests has increased year by year. The season starts on September 1, and dates vary for methods and different hunting zones.

  • General Season (A, B, C2, D1, H1, H2, I2, K): Sept. 1 - Nov. 12, 2024
  • General Season (C1, D2, E, F, G, I1, J1, J2, L, M): Sept. 1 - Nov. 30, 2024
  • Baiting Season (A, B, C2, D1, H1, H2, I2, K, L, M): Sept. 1 – Sept. 28, 2024
  • Baiting Season (C1, D2, E, F, G, I1, J1, J2): Sept. 1 – Oct. 5, 2024
  • Dog Season (A, B, C1, C2, D1, D2, E, F, G, H1, I1, I2, J1, J2): Sept. 23 – Nov. 12, 2024

During this time, hunters are allowed to take one bear per year. It is important to note that baiting is allowed during the bear season in New Hampshire. But hunters need to get a baiting permit first.

New Hampshire Turkey Season

Spring turkey hunting season usually starts in late April and runs through May. And, the Fall turkey season continues to open from September to December.

Hunters are allowed to take one male turkey or "gobbler" per year. It is important to note that hunting is not allowed on Sundays during turkey season.

  • Spring Turkey Season: May 1–31, 2024
  • Spring Youth Turkey Season: April 27–28, 2024
  • Fall Turkey Archery Season (zone A): Sept. 15 - Dec. 15, 2024
  • Fall Turkey Shotgun Season (zone D2, G, H1, H2, I1, I2, J2, K, L, M ): Oct.r 14 - Oct. 20, 2024
  • Fall Turkey Archery Season (zone B-M): Sept. 15 - Dec. 15, 2024
  • Fall Turkey Shotgun Season (zone D2, G, H1, H2, I1, I2, J2, K, L, M): Oct. 14 - Oct. 20, 2024

New Hampshire Waterfowl & Migratory Bird Seasons

To hunt waterfowl in New Hampshire, it is required for hunters to get a valid hunting license and a Federal Duck Stamp together.

The legal shooting hours are from half an hour before sunrise to sunset.

Here is a summary of the hunting dates and limits for different waterfowl species in various zones:

Species Northern Zone Inland & CT River Zone Coastal Zone Bag Limit Possession Limit
Ducks, Sea Ducks, Mergansers and Coots Oct 2 -Nov 30 Oct 9 -Nov 11

Nov 27 -Dec 22

Nov 27 -Dec 22

Oct 3- Oct 9

Nov 27- Jan 18

Nov 27- Jan 18

Ducks: daily(6), total(18)

Sea Ducks: daily(4), total(12)

Mergansers: daily(6), total(18)

Coots: daily(13), total(45)

Canada Geese Statewide Sep 1- Sep 25 Sep 1- Sep 25 Sep 1- Sep 25 5 15
Canada Geese Regular Oct 2 -Nov 30 Oct 9 -Nov 11

Nov 27 -Dec 22

Oct 3- Oct 9

Nov 27- Jan 18

2 6
Snow Geese Oct 2 -Nov 30 Oct 9 -Nov 11

Nov 27 -Dec 22

Oct 3- Oct 9

Nov 27- Jan 18

25 No Limit
Brant Oct 2- Oct 31 Oct 9- Nov 7 Oct 3- Oct 9

Nov 27- Dec 19

1 3
Falconry Dec 1- Jan 12 Nov 12- Nov 26

Dec 23- Jan 19

Jan 27- Mar 10 3 9
Woodcock Oct 1- Nov 14 3 9
Common Snipe Sep 15- Nov 14 8 24
Crow Aug 15- Nov 30 No Limit No Limit
Mar 16- Mar 31 No Limit No Limit
Youth Waterfowl Sep 28-29 No Limit No Limit
Veteran & Active Military Weekend Jan 25-26, 2025 No Limit No Limit

New Hampshire Small Game Season

Woodcock Season: Oct 1 - Nov 14, 2024

Pheasants Season: Oct 1 - Dec 31, 2024

Cottontail Rabbit: Oct 1 - Jan 31, 2024 and Oct 1 - Mar 15, 2024 (Falconry)

Gray Squirrel: Sep 1 - Jan 31, 2024

Ruffed Grouse: Oct 1 - Dec 31, 2024

Quail, Chukar, Partridge: Oct 1- Dec 31, 2024

Snowshoe Hare: Oct 1 - Mar 31, 2024

For small game hunting in New Hampshire, hares are mainly targeted in the central region, whereas rabbits are most commonly hunted in the southeast region. Furthermore, squirrels are hunted the most in the White Mountains and the southeast zone. Finally, woodcocks are mainly hunted in the southwest region.

New Hampshire Furbearer Season

Coyote Season:

  • Day Hunting: all year round
  • Night hunting: 1–Mar. 31, 2024

Fisher Season

Dec. 1, 2024–Jan. 31, 2025

Fox, Opossum, Skunk, Raccoon Season

Sept. 1, 2024–March 31, 2025

Mink, Muskrat, Weasel Season

  • 15, 2024–April 10, 2025 (WMUs A–F)
  • 1, 2024–April 10, 2025 (WMUs G–M)

There are no limitations on hunting other small game except for Fisher hunting - the maximum number allowed per day and per season is 2.

New Hampshire Hunting License

You can buy a New Hampshire hunting license online, by mail, at a Fish and Game's license agent, or even in a Walmart shop.

The following are the types of hunting licenses and permits available for NH hunting:

Permit Type Resident Price Non-Resident Price
Hunting/Freshwater Fishing Combination  $56.00 $151.00
Senior Hunting/Freshwater Fishing $7.00 N/A
Hunting $32.00 $113.00
Archery $32.00 $83.00
Senior Archery $3.00 N/A
Special Deer Archery $26.00 $26.00
Muzzleloader $16.00 $41.00
Senior Muzzleloader $3.00 N/A
Pheasant $31.00 $31.00
Bear $16.00 $48.00
Additional Bear $16.00 $48.00
Wild Turkey Permit $16.00 $31.00
Migratory Waterfowl $11.00 $11.00
Small-game Hunting N/A $53.00
Small-game 3-day N/A $25.00

New Hampshire Hunting Zones

New Hampshire is divided into 13 big wildlife management units from WMU A to WMU M, and each of them are subdivided into smaller subunits with unique rules and hunting dates. These regions are established based on geography and serve to control animal populations in specific areas.

In this state, nearly all lands are open to hunting. You can hunt on:

  • 117 state forests
  • 41 state parks
  • 63 other tracts
  • 124 small Wildlife Management Areas

You can check the WMA Map to find where you can hunt nearby.

New Hampshire Hunters Safety Course

In New Hampshire, all new hunters must finish a Hunter Education course in order to purchase a hunting license and start hunting legally. Participants need to be a minimum of 12 years old.

Both residents and non-residents are welcome to participate in these programs, including firearms safety, ethical hunting, archery and firearm equipment, wildlife management principles, map and compass skills, New Hampshire game laws, and more.

Hunters can take the cause in person or online. An administration fee is required to cover the costs of running the course. It costs $5 for in-person classes and $29 for online courses.

Conclusion

Overall, New Hampshire offers a diverse range of hunting opportunities for those looking to pursue bear, turkey, deer, and small games. By understanding the key dates and hunting zones in the state, hunters can ensure that they are following all regulations and enjoying a safe and successful hunting season.

The specific dates for each hunting season and limits may be subject to change. Keep updated with our post to get the latest information.

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