2008 N.H. Deer Hunting Seasons Set

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2008 N.H. Deer Hunting Seasons SetCONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire’s deer hunting seasons have been established for this fall, and the outlook is generally good in spite of the challenging winter of 2007-2008.  The impact of the cold, snowy winter on parts of the deer herd in New Hampshire suggests that 2008 may not be a record-setting season like last year. New Hampshire’s 2007 hunter harvest of 13,559 deer was the second highest since record keeping began in 1922 — exceeded only by a harvest of 14,204 in 1967 — according to Kent Gustafson, Deer Project Leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

“In a lot of the state, we should still see a good season in 2008. Last winter had the least impact on southern New Hampshire and the western part of the state as far north as Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) D2,” said Gustafson. “Other parts of the state, especially the more northern areas, were harder hit, and we’ve taken steps to help the herd recover from the effects of a winter that was more severe than usual.”  Fish and Game reduces the impact of a hard winter by making adjustments in the number of hunting days for taking any deer (either-sex days).

For full details of the upcoming New Hampshire deer season, listed by WMU, visit www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_deer.htm.

General New Hampshire deer season dates (with the exception of WMU A) for 2008 are:  Archery:  September 15 – December 15; Muzzleloader: November 1 – November 11; and Regular Firearms:  November 12 – December 7.

Measures continue to be in place in WMU A to try to increase the number of older-age bucks in the population and harvest. As was the case last year in WMU A, both the regular firearm and archery seasons will end one week early, and the muzzleloader season is shortened by two days at the beginning of the season. In addition, a 2-point antler restriction applies in WMU A for all seasons (except youth weekend). Under this restriction, a buck must have at least 2 points (1 inch or longer) on one side to be legal.

In southeastern New Hampshire (WMUs L and M), however, deer populations are at or above the objectives set out in Fish and Game’s Big Game Management Plan. These units continue to provide hunters with generous antlerless hunting opportunities during all deer seasons. In WMU M, 6,000 antlerless-only permits (500 more than in 2007) will be available for the 2008 season to help control deer numbers in this highly developed part of the state.

Successful Youth Deer Hunt: "This is Patrick Higginbottom from Weare, NH.  This was his first kill on Oct. 27 on Youth Weekend.  He is so proud! This is a 120 lb. 6 pointer.  Patrick was dedicated enough to hunt in the rain! Boy did it pay off!!!" --Greg HigginbottomNew Hampshire’s youth deer weekend will take place on Saturday and Sunday, October 25 – 26, 2008.  The youth deer hunt weekend is a special chance for young hunters (age 15 and younger) to hunt under the guidance of a licensed hunter over age 18. A change this year is that non-resident youth hunters may participate, only if New Hampshire youth can hunt during special youth deer hunts in their state. Currently, Vermont is the only adjoining state without reciprocity. Maine offers reciprocity for New Hampshire youth, and Massachusetts has no youth hunt, so its residents are not affected by the new regulation.  Last year’s youth deer hunt resulted in a statewide harvest of 642 deer. 

Information about hunting in New Hampshire, including seasons for other species, can be found at www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Hunting/hunting.htm. Additional details on New Hampshire’s hunting seasons will be published in the 2008-2009 N.H. Hunting Digest, which will be available in mid-August.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats.