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Waterfowl/Migratory Bird Hunting

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 23–24, 2017) 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 to obtain a HIP permit number at no cost.

Youth Waterfowl Weekend

Hunters age 15 and younger have a special weekend (September 23­–24, 2017) 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 2017–18 N.H. migratory 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 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

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

2017-2018 Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons


Northern zone

Inland & Ct. River Zone

Coastal Zone

Ducks, Coots and Mergansers

Oct. 3–Dec. 1

Oct. 3–Nov. 5

Nov. 22–Dec. 17

Oct. 4–Oct. 15

Nov. 22–Jan. 8, 2018

Canada Geese (Sept)

Statewide: Sep. 1 – Sep. 25

Canada Geese (Regular) Oct. 3–Dec. 11 Oct. 3–Nov. 5

Nov. 22–Dec 27

Oct. 4–Oct. 15, 2017

Nov. 22–Jan. 18, 2018

Snow Geese

Oct. 3–Dec. 11

Oct. 3–Dec. 27

Oct. 4–Jan. 18, 2018


Same as ducks

Sea Ducks*

In all coastal waters Nov. 15–Jan. 13, 2018

Extended Falconry

Dec. 12–Jan. 25, 2018

Nov. 6–Nov. 21

Dec. 28–Jan. 25, 2018

Jan. 25–Mar. 10, 2018


Statewide: Oct. 1–Nov. 14

Common Snipe

Statewide: Sep. 15–Nov. 14


Statewide: Aug. 15–Nov. 30, Mar. 16–Mar. 31, 2018

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend

Statewide: September 23−24, 2017

Bag Limits


Bag Limit

Possession Limit

HIP Permit

Federal Stamp

Non-Toxic Shot

Firearm Plug







Coot 15


Canada Geese (Sept)



Canada Geese (Regular)



Snow Geese






Sea Ducks***









Common Snipe