NH hunting report – deer, moose harvest numbers down slightly this year

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Deer hunt update from NH Fish & Game.
Deer hunt update from NH Fish & Game.

As of November 29, 2015, New Hampshire hunters had taken an estimated total of 9,943 deer this fall. That represents a 5 percent decrease from the 2014 total at this point in the season.  The 2015 harvest is the fifth-highest in the past nine years, according to N.H. Fish and Game Deer Biologist Dan Bergeron. For a comparison with previous years of the deer harvest at this point in the season (by county), see chart below or go to the HuntNH site.

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“Statewide, it has been another relatively successful season.  Current numbers are only slightly below last year’s and we are on track to finish near the 15 year average total harvest (2000-2014) of between 10,000 to 11,000 animals.  Average total harvests in the preceding 15 years (1985-1999) were between 8,000-9,000 animals.  The most notable thing to me this year has been the excellent physical condition of the deer I inspected at biological check stations,” said Bergeron.

The regular firearm deer season runs through December 6, with the exception of WMU-A in northern New Hampshire, where it ended on November 29.

“This gives hunters roughly one more week of regular firearm season hunting opportunity in most of the state,” said Bergeron.  “The Thanksgiving holiday marks the end of many hunters’ efforts for the year, and late-season hunters can now take advantage of reduced hunting pressure.”

The archery season continues through December 15, except in WMU-A, where it ends on December 8.

Harvest estimates for the overall deer season will be available later in December, following the conclusion of the archery deer season.

Hunters can continue to help the less fortunate by donating venison. Contact the NH Food Bank at (603) 669-9725.

Small Game Hunters:

Did you know that you could win a quality firearm by taking part in Fish and Game’s small game and/or grouse wing and tail surveys?  A hunting firearm will be raffled off to a lucky participant in each. These surveys help Fish and Game monitor small game populations throughout the state. Find out how to take part here.

2015 NH Moose Season Summary:
Richard & Yvette Paris of Auburn, NH with their 3 1/2 year old 625 lb. bull.
Richard & Yvette Paris of Auburn, NH with their 3 1/2 year old 625 lb. bull.

Fish and Game Moose Biologist Kristine Rines provided the following summary of the 2015 moose hunt, which tallied 74 moose and concluded with a statewide success rate of 69 percent. Verified information related to the age of the moose and tick counts is not yet available.

A total of 108 moose permits were issued. In addition to the 105 permits issued through the lottery (down from 124 in 2014), two auction permits were issued for the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire and one permit was donated to the Hunt of a Lifetime (HOL) program.

At 69 percent statewide success, the hunt was only slightly less successful than last year at 72 percent. There were some notable changes in regional success rates. The Connecticut Lakes region, despite reduced permits (26 in 2014 down to 20 in 2015), recorded the lowest success rate in its history at 70 percent. Both units contributed to the decline.  A1 typically has success rates above 70% and A2 typically has rates above 80 percent. The 2015 success rates for these units came in at 50 percent and 75 percent respectively.  The average success rate for the region during the previous 10 years was 82 percent.

Say 'cheese.'
Say ‘cheese.’

Click here to click through the 2015 moose hunt gallery

Conversely, the Central region exhibited the highest success rate in its history at 90 percent. The low number of permits (10, down from 25) issued in this region likely contributed to this high success rate. In contrast, hunters in the heavily developed Southeast region had zero success (five permits). While some units have had 0 percent success in the past, this is the first time that an entire region has tallied 0 percent success.

Successful hunters traveled from eight different states to participate in the 2015 NH moose hunt. Sixty residents and 14 non-residents filled their permits. Permittees were the primary shooter in 48 instances and sub-permittees in 26. Women hunters accounted for 8 of the 74 moose taken this year. Seventy percent of all moose were taken in the first three days of the season. Only rifles were utilized this year and, once again, the 30-06 was the preferred caliber.

The heaviest bull was taken by NH resident John Gibbas in zone D2 on October 18. The animal weighed 810 lbs. completely dressed and had a spread of 51¼ inches. The heaviest cow was taken by non-resident Tyler Sypek in zone B on October 19, and this animal weighed 675 lbs. dressed. The largest spread of 54.5 inches was on a bull taken by NH resident Richard Malasky in zone B. This animal had a dressed weight of 775 lbs. Ten-year-old NH resident Skylar Pelletier was the youngest hunter and the HOL permittee, registering a 772 lb. bull with 18 points and a 48.13 inch spread. Donald Marten, a 78-year-old NH resident, was our oldest hunter and took a 630 lb. cow on an antlerless-only tag in C1.

Report a Poacher: If you are aware of a poaching situation, call Operation Game Thief toll-free at 1-800-344-4262 or report wildlife crime online at wildnh.com/ogt.ts

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About this Author


Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

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