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Bear Hunting

New Hampshire’s bear hunters can take advantage of three seasons: stalking (“general”), dog season, and baiting season. Bears are found statewide, with the highest densities in central N.H. and the White Mountains. Hunters can buy a Bear License online or at any license agent—no lottery needed.

Bear Hunting Licensing Requirements

Adult hunters (age 16 and older) must have a valid Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination or Archery License, and a Bear License and valid tag to hunt black bear. Youth hunters (under 16 years of age) do not need a Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination or Archery License, but they do need a Bear License and valid tag.

Bear Hunting Regulations

Hunting Hours: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.

Successful hunters must notify a Conservation Officer within 12 hours of taking a bear by calling (603) 271-3361 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and may be required to take a department employee to the kill site. Within 24 hours after time of kill, the hunter must exhibit the bear, with reproductive organs intact, to a Conservation Officer. Do not bring bear to a registration station prior to calling Fish and Game at (603) 271-3361 to receive instructions.

Black bear may only be taken by firearms larger than .22 rimfire, shotgun loaded with a single ball, muzzleloader not less than .40 cal., bow and arrow of at least 40 lbs. draw weight or crossbow of at least 125 lbs. draw weight with valid hunting or combination hunting & fishing license.


Archers must have their name and address on arrows. Fixed blade broadheads cannot be less than ⅞ inches wide and not more than 1½ inches wide. Retractable blade broadheads are permitted (must be not less than ⅞ of an inch wide when open). Minimum draw weight for bear is 40 lbs.

To Bait Bear

A Permit to Bait Wildlife and map of the bait site must be filed with the Wildlife Division, NH Fish and Game, (11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301) by the first Monday in August. No person except a licensed N.H. Hunting Guide shall place bait for the purpose of attracting bear at more than 2 bait sites. No person except a licensed N.H. Hunting Guide shall have more than one bait site in WMUs A, B, D1, H1, H2, I2, K, L, and M. Baiting permit applications are available at Fish and Game offices or online at Bear baiting applications for state-owned and managed lands and the White Mountain National Forest shall be submitted to the Law Enforcement Division, NH Fish and Game Dept., (11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301) between the first Monday in June and the first Monday in August. Beginning in 2017, special baiting permit lottery rules apply to the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Forest. No bait may be placed from April 15 to August 31 (dates inclusive).

To Hunt Bear with Dogs

A free Take Bear With Dogs Permit is mandatory for anyone attempting to take bear with hounds. Nonresidents from states or provinces or territories of Canada that allow the training of dogs for bear hunting or taking of bear with dogs, and who do not limit or prohibit N.H. residents from training dogs or hunting bear with N.H. dogs, are the only nonresidents allowed to bring dogs into N.H. to train dogs or take bears. Permits are available online at The permit becomes effective when one copy is presented by hand or postmarked and mailed to the NH Fish and Game Department (Wildlife Division, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301) prior to taking a bear.

It is Unlawful to:

  • hunt bear with a .22 or smaller rimfire firearm, or a shotgun loaded with any ammunition other than a single ball;
  • take more than one bear in a calendar year;
  • buy, sell or offer for sale a bear or any part thereof, other than the head, hide or feet;
  • possess a bear that hasn’t been properly tagged;
  • possess a detached bear tag. Upon killing a bear, the tag shall be immediately filled out and attached to the bear;
  • assist another in taking a bear after you have taken one, unless you are accompanying a youth under age 16.
  • start hounds over bait.

Chocolate Banned as Bear Bait

No person shall establish, tend, or hunt over a bait containing chocolate or any cocoa derivative. White chocolate may be used.


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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