New Hampshire 2017 waterfowl hunting season dates and limits set

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CONCORD, NH – For the wecord, duck-hunting season (and all waterfowl for that matter) overlaps with wabbit-hunting season in NH.

But for today, we’re focused on the precise dates and limits for 2017 waterfowl hunting – including black ducks. (Sorry, Daffy.)

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has set final season dates and bag limits for the 2017-18 waterfowl hunting season, after considering comments from sportsmen at a recent public meeting.

New Hampshire’s fall waterfowl season will be similar to last year’s for regular ducks and Canada goose. The regular duck season is 60 days, with a bag limit of six birds daily; and the Canada goose season is 70 days, with three birds in the daily bag.

Rabbit Seasoning
Two-bird bag limit in effect for black ducks in 2017.

One significant change in this year’s regulations is the increase in bag limit from 1 bird to 2 for American black ducks.  Since the 1980s, both eastern Canada and the eastern U.S. have experienced a decline in the harvest of black ducks, as well as the number of duck hunters.  Since the late 1990s, the combined black duck harvest in the two countries has decreased, however during the same time span, the black duck population size has been stable, providing an opportunity for an increased bag limit.

A map of the waterfowl zones may be viewed at

Following are the waterfowl seasons for ducks, mergansers, brant and coots:

  • The Northern Zone waterfowl season opens on October 3 and runs straight through December 1, 2017.
  • The Inland and Connecticut River Zone waterfowl season opens on October 3 and runs through November 5; then reopens November 22 through December 17, 2017.
  • The Coastal Zone waterfowl season opens on October 4 and runs through October 15; then reopens November 22, 2017, through January 8, 2018.

The sea duck season opens on November 15, 2017, and runs through January 13, 2018, in all coastal waters, rivers and streams seaward from the 1st upstream bridge.  The daily bag limit for sea ducks is 5 birds, which shall include no more than 4 scoters, 4 eiders, or 4 long-tailed ducks.

To hunt for migratory birds, a resident must have a current Regular NH Hunting, Combination or Archery License. A nonresident must have a Regular NH Hunting, Combination, Archery or a Small Game License. No license is required for youth hunters (under age 16); youth must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult age 18 or older. In addition, duck and goose hunters age 16 and older must have:

  • NH Migratory Waterfowl License
  • National Migratory Bird Harvest Information or “HIP” certification number to hunt ducks, geese, woodcock and snipe and a
  • Federal Duck Stamp with the hunter’s name signed across the face.

The Federal Duck Stamp can be purchased at many U.S. Post Offices or at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord or Fish and Game Region 2 Office in New Hampton.

HIP permit numbers can be obtained by calling 1-800-207-6183, or go to the “Buy Your License Online” section of the Fish and Game website to receive a permit number (there is no charge). This number should be written on the hunting license. Harvest information from HIP helps Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service make more reliable estimates of the number of all migratory birds harvested. Each year, a random selection of hunters is asked to complete a voluntary harvest survey.

Hunters are asked to report all banded birds at or by calling toll-free to 1-800-327-BAND. Note the 1-800-327-BAND reporting method will be discontinued no later than June 30, 2018, and possibly on June 30, 2017.  We encourage you to use the website to report bands.  The U.S. Geological Survey will send a certificate with information about the bird.

Hunters should exercise caution this fall when field dressing ducks, due to the possibility of the birds being infected with Avian Influenza (AI).  Click here for more information. 

For more information on waterfowl hunting in New Hampshire, including a duck identification guide, or to buy licenses and permits online, visit

About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!