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Waterfowl/Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations

Hunting Regulations Icon New Hampshire Hunting

Migratory bird hunting in New Hampshire includes woodcock, ducks and geese, snipe and crows. A special youth waterfowl season (September 29–30, 2018) allows hunters ages 15 and younger to hunt in advance of the regular season.

Migratory Bird Hunting Licensing Requirements

To hunt for migratory birds, a resident must have a current Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination, or Archery License. A nonresident must have a Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination, Archery or a Small Game License. No license is required for youth hunters (under age 16); youth must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult age 18 or older.

In addition, duck and goose hunters 16 and older must have a:

  • State Migratory Waterfowl License;
  • National Migratory Bird Harvest Information or “HIP” certification number to hunt ducks, geese, woodcock, and snipe.
  • Federal Duck Stamp with the hunter’s named signed across the face. The Federal Duck Stamp can be purchased at many U.S. Post Offices or at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord (or Region 2 Office, New Hampton).

Hunters pursuing snipe and woodcock do not need either the state migratory waterfowl license or the federal duck stamp, but they do need the HIP certification.

HIP applicants must call 1-800-207-6183 or go to the online licensing site at huntnh.com to obtain a HIP permit number at no cost.

Youth Waterfowl Weekend

Hunters age 15 and younger have a special weekend (September 29–30, 2018) to hunt in advance of the season. They must be accompanied by an adult over 18 years of age who possesses a current hunting license. The adult may not take waterfowl. Youth hunters may take waterfowl in accordance with the 2018–19 N.H. migratory bird hunting regulations.

Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations

Hunting Hours:

  • Waterfowl, woodcock, snipe: ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.

It is unlawful to hunt migratory game birds with an air rifle, a shotgun larger than 10 gauge or use a shotgun capable of holding more than 3 rounds of ammunition: one in the chamber, and the magazine must be plugged to hold no more than 2 rounds. It is illegal to possess any shotgun shells containing lead shot while hunting migratory waterfowl (does not include woodcock or snipe). Bow and arrow may be used.

Placing bait or hunting over baited areas is prohibited. It is also unlawful to have a loaded firearm in a motorboat under power or hunt from a motorboat or sailboat until all forward motion has ceased.

  • Crow: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. No HIP required for crow. Crows may be taken by firearms and bow and arrow. Electronic calls may be used for crow.

In addition to state regulations, Federal rules apply to the taking, possession, shipping, transporting, and storing of migratory game birds. Each hunter should also consult Federal regulations, which may be found in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20. A link can be found at huntnh.com/hunting/waterfowl.html.

Areas Closed to Waterfowl Hunting

Certain areas are closed to waterfowl hunting. For a list and description of closed areas throughout the state, contact the Fish and Game office nearest you; or write to N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; or visit huntnh.com/hunting/waterfowl.html.

For a printable version of the zone map, with boundary descriptions, visit huntnh.com.

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!