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General Hunting Regulations


A baiting permit is required for any bait site. Baiting permit applications (no fee) are available at any Fish and Game office or online at Applications for permits to bait wildlife on private property must be signed by the private landowner. No bait shall be placed until the bait permit and map have been submitted to the Wildlife Division. No bait may be placed from April 15 through August 31 (dates inclusive). Bait may not be placed at any site until the baiting season for that species is open.

  • A landowner placing bait on his or her own property does not need to submit a baiting permit or map, but they must meet all the other requirements listed below regarding the use of bait.
  • No person, except a licensed NH Hunting Guide, shall have more than 2 active bait sites statewide. A licensed NH Hunting Guide shall have no more than 8 active bait sites, 6 for commercial use and up to 2 for personal use.
  • Licensed NH Hunting Guides must indicate on the bait permit if the site is for commercial or personal use.
  • Any bear taken off a commercial site must be tagged with a bear guide tag.
  • A licensed guide can only use his/her guide tags on bears taken off commercial bait sites which are under his/her name.
  • No bear taken off a personal site can be tagged with a bear guide tag.
  • A baited area shall not be considered an active bait site when all containers used to hold bait, such as barrels, plastic bags, pails and boxes, and any bait material are completely removed.
  • Applications for baiting permits on private land must be received by the Department by the first Monday in August for bear, and the first Monday in October for all other species..
  • It is the permittee’s responsibility to see that two copies of the bait permit are submitted to the Wildlife Division at headquarters in Concord.
  • At least one copy of the baiting permit must have a detailed topographical map, including a description of the location of the bait site and how to locate it. (If the map is so vague that a CO cannot find the site, the permit is invalid.)
  • Only the person to whom the permit is issued is permitted to place bait at the site.
  • The permittee must post a 3″ x 6″ durable sign at the site with the name and address of the permittee and up to 2 subpermittees. These 3 individuals are the only persons allowed to hunt with aid of the bait site. A licensed N.H. Hunting Guide must post a sign with his or her own name and address, but is not required to post the names of paying clients. The sign must be clearly visible not higher than 6 feet off the ground. If no subpermittees are identified on the sign, they may not be included at a later date. Once the sign has been posted, it may not be altered at a later date. No person other than the permittee authorized to place bait at a site shall remove, alter, or destroy said sign.
  • Bait may not be placed less than 300 feet from a dwelling, public roadway, pathway, or trail.
  • From the close of the bear baiting season through December 15, baiting for coyote shall be restricted to the use of meat, animal parts, carrion or fish.
  • No person shall place bait in public waters or on ice-covered public waters.
  • It is illegal to bait for turkey, moose or migratory waterfowl.
  • Permits expire at the end of the calendar year, unless an earlier date has been specified on the permit form, or the season has ended for the species identified on the baiting permit.
  • When requested by a CO, a permittee or an applicant to bait must accompany the officer to the proposed or existing site.

Baiting Rules for State-owned and State-managed Lands

In addition to the General Baiting Rules, the following rules apply to State-owned and State-managed lands:

  • A baiting permit is required for any bait site on State-owned or State-managed lands, including White Mountain National Forest.
  • Applicants may apply for bait sites on State-owned or State-managed lands beginning the first Monday in June through the first Monday in August for bear and deer. Applicants may apply beginning December 1 for permits to bait coyote for the year following. Permit applications for all other species shall be accepted at any time.
  • Applications must be filled out completely, and must include a detailed map and directions to the bait site to be considered. One copy of the bait permit application shall be submitted to the Law Enforcement Division at headquarters in Concord. Baiting permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, except permits for the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Forest will be issued by lottery starting in 2017. Visit WildNH for more information.
  • No person, including a licensed N.H. Hunting Guide, shall have more than 1 active bait site within an individual trapping unit. Visit for details regarding trapping units.
  • Non-edible or non-digestible materials shall not be used as bait.
  • A total maximum of 30 active bear bait sites are allowed on the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters property in Pittsburg, NH.
  • Also see Tree stands/Blinds above.

Baiting Rules for Bear

In addition to all other applicable baiting rules, the following rules apply to baiting for bear (see Bear Hunting for bear baiting season dates):

  • No person, except a licensed N.H. Hunting Guide, shall place bait for the purpose of attracting and taking bear at more than 2 bait sites statewide.
  • No person, except a licensed N.H. Hunting Guide, shall have more than one bait site for bear in the combined area of WMUs A, B, D1, H1, H2, I2, K, L, and M.
  • No person shall establish, tend, or hunt bear over a bait containing chocolate or any cocoa derivative. White chocolate may be used as bait.

Baiting Rules For Deer

In addition to all other applicable baiting rules, the following rules apply to baiting for deer (for deer baiting season dates, see Deer Hunting):

  • No person, except a licensed N.H. Hunting Guide, shall place bait for the purpose of attracting and taking deer at more than 2 bait sites statewide.
  • No person shall place bait for the purpose of attracting and taking deer prior to the opening of the deer baiting season.
  • Persons holding a Disabled Veteran License or Paraplegic License may bait deer from September 15 through December 15, statewide.

Dead Animals

If you find a dead deer, bear, moose or turkey you did not kill, do not tag or move it. Road killed wildlife may not be taken without permission of a law enforcement officer. Call Law Enforcement Dispatch at (603) 271-3361.

Discharge Restrictions/Compact Areas (RSA 207: 3-a & 644:13)

  • It is illegal to discharge a firearm or shoot with a bow and arrow or crossbow and bolt within 300 feet of a permanently occupied dwelling without permission of the owner or occupant, or from the owner of the land on which the person shooting the firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow and bolt is situated. A firearm may not be discharged within 300 feet of any commercial, educational or medical building, or outdoor public gathering place.
  • Firearms may not be discharged within the compact area of any town or city (any contiguous area containing 6 or more buildings used as part time or permanent dwellings where each is within 300 feet of one of the other buildings, plus a 300 foot wide perimeter around all of the buildings).
  • It is unlawful to discharge a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow and bolt within 15′ of the traveled portion of, or across any class I through V highway, or from or across the following public highways (including the rights of way): I-93, I-89, I-95, 293, 393, Rte. 202/9 (from Rte. 114 in Henniker to Rte. 31 in Hillsboro), Rte. 16 (from I-95 to Milton/Middleton town line), Rte. 3/F.E. Everett Turnpike (from Mass. line to Rte. 101 Bedford), Rte. 101 (from Bedford town line to Rte. 1 Hampton).


Additional regulations apply to licensed N.H. Hunting Guides. Contact the Law Enforcement Division at (603) 271-3127.

Lacey Act

Interstate transportation of wildlife taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of a state law is a violation of federal law. The penalty can be up to $250,000 and 5 years in prison.

Leashed Dog Trackers

Volunteer leashed dog trackers are private citizens who can help track and recover wounded deer, moose and bear. They are licensed by the Fish and Game Department for this activity, which may take place at night. Give them a call, they can help. Visit for a list of licensed leashed dog trackers.


Use of OHRVs (ATV, trail bike, UTV) requires written landowner permission unless on a sanctioned ATV trail and must be registered when operating off your own property. No person shall carry on an OHRV, or a trailer towed by the same, any firearm unless it is unloaded. This does not apply to pistols being carried under a permit issued pursuant to RSA 159.

Tree Stands/Blinds

Written landowner permission is required for any tree stand, ladder or observation blind which damages or destroys a tree by inserting into the tree any metallic, ceramic, or other object. Written landowner permission is also required if any tree is cut in conjunction with the use of any stand or blind or to construct a pit blind. These permits can be found at under “Miscellaneous Permits.”

On State-owned and State-managed lands, permanent stands are illegal. Portable stands or blinds may only be erected between August 1 and January 31, and must be removed by January 31.

Town of Bow

See Deer Hunting for restrictions.

Wapack National Wildlife Refuge

This National Wildlife Refuge, located in Greenfield and Temple, NH, is CLOSED to all hunting.

Shooting Ranges

New Hampshire has dozens of fish and game clubs and shooting ranges where you can safely practice your shooting skills. Check the N.H. Fish and Game website for a partial list. The majority of rifle/pistol ranges are private, meaning that membership is required to use them, or in some cases you can be the guest of a member. Shotgun ranges are generally open to the public, with non-members paying a higher fee per round of shooting. Many of the membership clubs have special days during the year when the public is invited to try out the facilities or to sight in their firearms. Contact your local club for details, or to ask about becoming a member.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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