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Deer Hunting

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Deer are New Hampshire’s most popular game animal, with a total of more than 105,000 deer found in all areas of the state. New Hampshire has a long archery season starting September 15, a muzzleloader season 11 days prior to the firearms season, and a firearms season during the peak of the rut. (See the chart for “any deer” days, when hunters may take a doe or a buck.) Special Unit L permits allow hunters to take an additional anterless deer in WMU L. Special Unit M permits allow hunters to take up to two additional antlerless deer in WMU M.

2014 Deer Hunting Seasons

Season

Inclusive Dates

Wildlife Management Units

Archery

Any deer

Sept. 15–Dec. 8

WMU A — NOTE: Archery deer season ends one week early.

Any deer

Sept. 15–Dec. 15

B – M

Muzzleloader

Any deer

Nov. 1

A, B, J1

Antlered deer only

Nov. 2–Nov. 11

Any deer

Nov. 1–Nov. 2

D2-west

Antlered deer only

Nov. 3–Nov. 11

Any deer

Nov. 1–Nov. 3

G1, H1, H2, J2, K

Antlered deer only

Nov. 4–Nov. 11

Any deer

Nov. 1–Nov. 11

L, M

Antlered deer only

Nov. 1–Nov. 11

C1, C2, D1, D2-east, E, F, G2, I1, I2

Firearm

Any deer

Nov. 12

WMU A — NOTE: Firearm deer season ends one week early.

Antlered deer only

Nov. 13–Nov. 30

Any deer

Nov. 12

B

Antlered deer only

Nov. 13–Dec. 7

Any deer

Nov. 12–Nov. 13

D2-west, H1, H2, K

Antlered deer only

Nov. 14–Dec. 7

Any deer

Nov. 12–Nov. 14

G1, J2

Antlered deer only

Nov. 15–Dec. 7

Any deer

Nov. 12–Nov. 21

L, M

Antlered deer only

Nov. 22–Dec. 7

Antlered deer only

Nov. 12–Dec. 7

C1, C2, D1, D2-east, E, F, G2, I1, I2, J1

Special Permits

Antlerless deer only

500 permittees in Unit L;
See “Special Unit L Permit” at right.

4,000 permittees in Unit M;
See “Special Unit M Permit” at right.

Youth Hunt

Oct. 25 & 26 any deer statewide; see Youth Hunting in NH for details.

Deer Baiting*

October 22–November 19

WMU A-L

September 15–December 15

WMU M

* Further restrictions apply. A full list of rules regarding baiting wildlife in
NH can be found in the Fis 300 section of the NH Code of Administrative
Rules or online at
gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/state_agencies/fis.html.

DEFINITIONS

Antlered Deer: Deer with at least one antler three (3) inches long.
Any Deer: All deer regardless of sex or age.

Deer Hunting Licensing Requirements

All hunters, with the exception of those eligible to use the special deer tag, must have a valid deer tag that has not been detached from their license/permit. Deer may be hunted using a variety of licenses and tags:

ArcheryLicense: allows the taking of one deer of either sex during the archery deer season.

Regular Hunting or Combination License: allows the taking of one deer during the regular firearms deer season (Wildlife Management Unit restrictions apply).

Muzzleloader License: allows the holder of a Regular Hunting or Combination License to take a deer using a muzzleloader during the special muzzleloading deer season, using the firearms deer tag. Nonresident youths must purchase this license to participate in the muzzleloader season. This license does not include a separate tag.

Deer Crossbow License: allows the holder of a Regular N.H. Hunting License to take a deer with a crossbow during the regular firearms deer season, using the firearms deer tag. This license does not include a separate tag.

Special Archery Deer Permit: allows the taking of one additional antlered deer using bow and arrow during the archery deer season. Each hunter is limited to one of these permits. Archery hunters may only buy this permit when purchasing their regular archery license. This permit may be used to tag the first or second deer taken by archery if it is legally antlered. All ages.

Special Unit L Permit: allows the taking of antlerless deer in WMU L, in addition to deer taken using a Regular N.H. Hunting or Archery License or Unit M Permit. It may be used on any day, including antlered deer only days, during any deer season the hunter holds a license for (archery, muzzleloader or firearm). Method of take limited to what is legal for particular season being hunted. All ages. Note: A total of up to 500 hunters will be allowed to purchase Special Antlerless Deer Permits for WMU L, with one deer tag ($13). Sales begin July 1; sold out for 2014.

Special Unit M Permit: allows the taking of antlerless deer in WMU M, in addition to deer taken using a Regular N.H. Hunting or Archery License or Special Unit L permit. It may be used on any day, including antlered deer only days, during any deer season the hunter holds a license for (archery, muzzleloader or firearm). Method of take limited to what is legal for particular season being hunted. All ages.
Note: A total of up to 4,000 hunters will be allowed to purchase Special Antlerless Deer Permits for WMU M; the permit comes with two deer tags ($26). Sales begin July 1.

Long Island and Governor’s Island Deer Permits: allows the taking of deer on Long and Governor’s Islands, respectively. Written landowner permission required on forms available at the Region 2 office in New Hampton or at Headquarters in Concord. Many special restrictions. All ages. For more information, contact the Wildlife Division at 603-271-2461.

Deer Hunting Regulations

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

Deer must be registered at the closest open registration station within 24 hours. Deer must be accompanied and registered by the person that took the deer. See Deer/Turkey Registration Stations for a listing of stations. A conservation officer may request to see the head and hide of a deer taken under an archery license within 48 hours of killing. It is unlawful to hunt deer with a rimfire firearm. No shotgun ammunition, other than slugs or 00 or larger buckshot, may be used to take deer. Exception: Buckshot is prohibited for taking deer in Auburn, Chester, Greenland, Newington, Portsmouth and Stratham.

WMU-A

Both the archery and firearms deer seasons close one week earlier than the rest of the state.

ARCHERY SEASON

Any deer may be taken on the regular archery deer license during the archery season.

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

Bowhunters may legally carry a sidearm if they: 1) possess a valid firearms hunting license, and/or 2) possess a valid pistol/revolver license.

Muzzleloader Season

To hunt deer during the muzzleloader season, a person needs a Regular N.H. Hunting License, plus a Muzzleloader License. A muzzleloader is defined as a single barrel, single shot firearm (40 caliber or greater) that can only be loaded from the muzzle. Only one deer may be taken with a muzzleloader or firearm with the firearm tag. No person shall have in possession, while taking deer during the muzzleloader season, more than one muzzleloading rifle or one muzzleloading handgun. No separate muzzleloader tag is issued.

DEER BAITING SEASON

See General Hunting Regulations for regulations, above for the season.

AntLered/Any Deer—Definitions

  • Antlered Deer: Deer with at least one antler three (3) inches long.
  • Any Deer: All deer regardless of sex or age.

Crossbows

A crossbow means a device consisting of a bow mounted to a rigid stock for discharging quarrels, bolts, or arrows and having a mechanical means to hold and release the drawn string. A bolt means a short projectile for a crossbow that resembles an arrow.

A crossbow shall have a minimum pull of 125 pounds, a working mechanical safety and a stock no less than 25 inches in length.

See License Information for more information on crossbow permits.

Bear Brook Refuge

Deer may be hunted in the Bear Brook Refuge with bow and arrow only by persons holding a valid Archery License, or by bow with a valid hunting license during the firearm season. No firearms are allowed in Bear Brook Refuge.

Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge

A 2-day deer hunt will be held Nov. 15 and 16, 2014 on the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Applications and information on procedures and fees will be available after Aug. 1, from: Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA 01950, (978) 465-5753. Hunters must have a valid firearms deer tag or Special Unit M tag to participate. Send completed application to: N.H. Fish and Game Dept., 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301, Attn: Wildlife Div. Application must be received by 4 p.m., September 26, 2014, or be postmarked by September 19, 2014.

It Is Unlawful To:

  • hunt deer with a .22 or smaller rimfire firearm, or with shot loads smaller than 00 buckshot.
  • kill any deer with antlers less than 3 inches during the Antlered Only deer season.
  • use 100% salt products as bait for deer hunting.
  • have more than 6 people participate in a joint drive for deer.
  • hunt deer or bear on islands, or in the water of any lake or pond in the state;
  • leave a deer in the woods for more than 12 hours without notifying a Conservation Officer as to the location and reason for not removing the deer.
  • buy, sell or offer for sale a deer or any part thereof, other than the head, hide or feet.
  • possess a deer that hasn’t been properly tagged.
  • hunt with a detached deer tag. Upon killing a deer, the tag shall be immediately detached, filled out and attached to the deer.
  • assist another in taking a deer after you have taken one, unless you possess a valid unused tag or are accompanying a youth under 16 years of age.

Towns With Special Rules

Deer hunting is allowed only by shotgun, muzzleloading rifle, handguns in calibers .357 Magnum, 10mm Automatic, .41 Remington, .44 Magnum, .45 Long Colt, .480 Ruger or .50 Magnum, or bow and arrow or crossbow in the following towns:

Belknap: Laconia; Meredith Neck: the part from the Meredith-Center Harbor line to Pleasant Street south and east of Route 25.

Hillsborough: Amherst; Bedford; Brookline; Goffstown; Hollis; Hudson; Litchfield; Manchester; Merrimack; Milford; Nashua; Pelham.

Merrimack: Concord; Hooksett: that part lying from the town line of Allenstown, on the westerly side of Route 3, to a point where the old Portsmouth Railroad crosses the highway, then south of the railroad to the town line of Candia; Pembroke: that part lying south westerly of the following line: starting at the Concord town line at Red Bridge on Rte. 106, south to Burrough (Borough) Road, then easterly on Burrough (Borough) Road to Fourth Range Road, then southerly on Fourth Range Road to Dudley Hill Road, south on Dudley Hill Road to Buck Street, northeast on Buck Street to Route 28, south on Route 28 to the Allenstown town line. (See Bow, below).

Rockingham: Atkinson; Auburn*; Brentwood; Chester*; Danville; Derry; East Kingston; Exeter; Fremont; Greenland*; Hampstead; Hampton; Hampton Falls; Kensington; Kingston; Londonderry; New Castle; Newfields; Newington*; Newmarket; Newton; North Hampton; Plaistow; Portsmouth*; Rye; Salem; Sandown; Seabrook; South Hampton; Stratham*; Windham.

Strafford: Durham; Madbury; Lee; Dover; Rollinsford; Somersworth.

* Buckshot prohibited for taking deer in these towns (RSA 208:3-a,b,c).

Additional Restrictions

Bow: All hunting is forbidden in the following area with any firearm other than a shotgun, muzzleloading rifle or bow and arrow or crossbow: southeast from the Concord-Bow boundary line along the west bank of the Merrimack River, then westerly along the Bow-Hooksett boundary line, then northerly along I-93, then westerly along Robinson Road, then northwest along Branch Londonderry Turnpike East, then southerly along Woodhill Road, then southwesterly along Dunbarton Center Road to the Bow-Dunbarton boundary line, then northwesterly along the Bow-Dunbarton boundary line to the Bow-Hopkinton boundary line, then easterly along the Bow-Hopkinton boundary line to the Bow-Concord boundary line, then southeasterly and easterly along the Bow-Concord boundary line to the west bank of the Merrimack River.

Keeping New Hampshire Deer Safe From CWD

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a wildlife disease related to BSE or “mad cow” disease and scrapie in sheep. It is fatal to deer and other cervids such as elk and moose. Based on the results of Fish and Game Department CWD monitoring efforts in which over 4,700 deer have been tested since 2002, CWD does not currently exist in New Hampshire. Activities that artificially concentrate deer greatly increase the spread of the disease and make control much more difficult. Please do not feed deer—ever.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found no evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans. Nonetheless, we recommend the following common-sense measures to prevent possible exposure to all wildlife diseases: 1) wear rubber gloves when field dressing your game, 2) bone out the meat from your animal, 3) wash your hands, knives etc. when done, and 4) avoid eating brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of harvested animals.

The importation of hunter-killed white-tailed, black-tailed or mule deer, moose and elk from CWD-positive jurisdictions is prohibited except for: de-boned meat; antlers; antlers attached to skull caps from which all soft tissue has been removed; upper canine teeth clean of all soft tissue; hides or capes with no part of the head attached; and taxidermy mounts. CWD-positive jurisdictions include: In the U.S., Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming; in Canada, Alberta and Saskatchewan. N.H. hunters hunting deer in New York should be aware that it is illegal to transport the carcasses through Vermont or Massachusetts.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

Return to the eregulations.com home page
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