Small Game Hunting

Hunting Regulations Icon New Hampshire Hunting


Small Game species in New Hampshire are: ruffed grouse, pheasant, quail, Hungarian/European partridge, chukar, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, gray squirrel, and migratory game birds including waterfowl (see Waterfowl/Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons & Bag Limits).

To hunt for small game, a Resident must have a current Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination or Archery License. A nonResident must have a Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination or Archery License or a Small Game License. Note: Turkey is considered large game.

No license is required for youth hunters (under age 16) of small game. Youth must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult age 18 or older.

Migratory bird hunters, see Waterfowl/Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons & Bag Limits for additional requirements.

Small Game Hunting Hours

Hunting Hours: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset, except for migratory birds (see Waterfowl/Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons & Bag Limits).

Air Rifles & Crossbows

Air rifles of not less than .22 caliber and producing not less than 12 foot-pounds of kinetic energy at the muzzle are legal for the taking of small game except migratory waterfowl. Subject to all other restrictions shown here. Crossbows are a legal method of take for small game with the exception of migratory game birds.

Pheasant Hunting

N.H. Fish and Game will stock approximately 11,500 pheasants at 60+ sites around the state.

All pheasant hunters 16 years of age or older must have a valid Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination, or Non-Resident Small Game License, in addition to a Pheasant License.

Ruffed Grouse Hunting

N.H. Fish and Game actively manages our lands to create young forests, one of the habitats critical for grouse and many other species. If you are a grouse hunter, we ask you to help monitor this species by participating in our Ruffed Grouse Wing and Tail Survey. Read on and you can learn all about it!

2019–2020 Small Game Hunting Seasons


Inclusive Dates

Management Units

Daily Limit

Season Limit

Cottontail Rabbit

Oct. 1–Jan. 31, 2020

H2, K, L, M
(except for closed areas,
see map below)



Falconry Season:
Oct. 1, 2019–
Mar. 15, 2020

Gray Squirrel

Sept. 1–Jan. 31, 2020





Oct. 1–Dec. 31




Due to safety concerns, the pheasant season will be closed statewide until noon on in-season

stocking days. These closures will occur on Thursdays and Fridays, October 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18.

Ruffed Grouse (Partridge)

Oct. 1–Dec. 31




Quail, Chukar, Hungarian/European Partridge

Oct. 1–Dec. 31




Snowshoe Hare

Oct. 1, 2019–
Mar. 31, 2020

A, B, C1, C2, D1, D2, E, F, G, J1



H1, H2, I1, I2, J2, K, L, M


Shaded Areas Closed to Cottontail Rabbit Hunting

The areas indicated above are known locations of New England cottontail rabbits (endangered in New Hampshire), and are closed to hunting of all cottontail rabbits.

Ruffed Grouse Wing and Tail Survey

N.H. Fish and Game conducts an annual grouse wing and tail survey to help gain critical information about ruffed grouse in NH. Hunter participation is key to this effort! A participating hunter wins a firearm donated by the Ruffed Grouse Society.

Any grouse hunter can pick up grouse sample packets, which include envelopes and survey cards for two grouse samples, from participating locations listed at huntnh.com. Completed packets must be returned to one of these locations.

Chance to win a firearm donated by the Ruffed Grouse Society!


Participate in the Small Game Survey

Calling all N.H. small game hunters! Please fill out and submit your Small Game Survey form by April 10, 2020, and you’ll have a chance to win a firearm generously donated by Sturm Ruger & Co., Inc.

If you are a small game hunter and would like to volunteer to take our annual survey, please call (603) 271-2461 or email wildlife@wildlife.nh.gov. NOTE: Please provide your full name and mailing address so we can mail the survey to you. Forms are also available at huntnh.com/surveys/

You could win a Ruger firearm!