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Migratory Bird Hunting

Migratory bird hunting in New Hampshire includes woodcock, ducks and geese, snipe and crows. A special youth waterfowl season (September 25–26, 2010) allows hunters ages 15 and younger to hunt in advance of the regular season.

Licensing Requirements

To hunt for migratory birds, a resident must have a current Regular NH Hunting License or Archery License. A nonresident must have a Regular NH Hunting or Archery License 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;
  • H.I.P. certification number to hunt ducks or geese; and
  • Federal Duck Stamp with the hunter’s named signed across the face. The Federal Duck Stamp can be purchased at any US Post Office.

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.


Hunting Hours:

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

It is unlawful to hunt migratory 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.

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.

Areas closed to waterfowl hunting

Certain areas in Portsmouth and Rye and Back Channel in New Castle are closed to waterfowl hunting. For a list and description of these and other closed areas throughout the state, contact the Fish and Game office nearest you or write to NH Fish and Game, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301.


2010–2011 Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons


Inclusive Dates

Daily Limit

Season Limit


Aug. 15–Nov. 30;
Mar. 16–Mar. 31, 2011




Sept. 15–Nov. 4




Ducks and Geese: Seasons, bag limits and special regulations not covered in this digest will be published in Sept.
Call (603) 271-2462 or 3211 for information.


Oct. 6–Nov. 4



* Waterfowl Hunting Seasons

Waterfowl hunting seasons (i.e. ducks and geese) are not found in this guide because the season-setting process and timing is established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in conjunction with their statutory authority to regulate the take of migratory species. Season dates, bag limits and restricted areas are available in early September each year and distributed separately from this publication. See in early September for updated information on waterfowl hunting.


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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