New Hampshire’s bear hunters can take advantage of three seasons: stalking (“general”), dog season, and baiting season. Bears are found statewide, with the highest densities in central N.H. and the White Mountains. Hunters can buy a Bear License online or at any license agent—no lottery needed.
Bear Hunting Licensing Requirements
Adult hunters (age 16 and older) must have a valid Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination, or Archery License, and a Bear License and valid tag to hunt black bear. Youth hunters (under 16 years of age) do not need a Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination or Archery License, but they do need a Bear License and valid tag.
Bear Hunting Regulations
Hunting Hours: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.
Successful hunters have new options for reporting bears. Hunters must exhibit the bear, with reproductive organs attached, to a Conservation Officer, Fish and Game personnel or a specified registration station for tagging within 24 hours. If registering with a Conservation Officer, call 603-271-3361 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to arrange a time for registration. A list of available bear registration stations and Department facilities (e.g., fish hatcheries) where bears may be registered was not available at the time this digest was complied. A list of these locations will be available by Sept. 1, 2023 by contacting the NH Fish and Game Department at 603-271-2461 or visiting huntnh.com. Hunters may process bears before registration, but must present 1) the entire carcass, skinned or quartered, excluding viscera, 2) legs and feet, 3) intact skull, 4) hide, and 5) sex organs, including teats from females. Hunters may be required to take a Conservation Officer to the kill site.
Black bear may only be taken by firearms larger than .22 rimfire, shotgun loaded with a single ball, muzzleloader not less than .40 cal, bow and arrow, or crossbow and bolt.
Archers and crossbow hunters must have their name and address on arrows and bolts. Fixed blade broadheads cannot be less than 7⁄8 inches wide and not more than 1½ inches wide. Retractable blade broadheads are permitted (must be not less than 7⁄8 of an inch wide when open). Minimum draw weight for hunting bear with bow and arrow is 40 lbs. Crossbows are a legal method of take for bear License Information and must meet the requirements in the Crossbows section in Deer Hunting Regulations.
To Bait Bear
To bait bear on private land, a Permit to Bait Wildlife and map of the bait site must be received by the Wildlife Division, N.H. Fish and Game (11 Hazen Drive, Concord, N.H. 03301) or be postmarked by the first Monday in August. No person except a licensed N.H. Hunting Guide shall place bait for the purpose of attracting bear at more than 2 bait sites. Baiting permit applications are available at Fish and Game offices or online at huntnh.com. Bear baiting applications for state-owned and managed lands and the White Mountain National Forest shall be submitted to the Law Enforcement Division, N.H. Fish and Game Dept. (11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301) or be postmarked between the first Monday in June and the first Monday in August. Special baiting permit lottery rules apply to the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Forest. No bait may be placed from April 15 to August 31 (dates inclusive). See additional baiting regulations on General Hunting Regulations.
To Hunt Bear with Dogs
A free Take Bear With Dogs Permit is mandatory for anyone attempting to take bear with hounds. Nonresidents from states or provinces or territories of Canada that allow the training of dogs for bear hunting or taking of bear with dogs, and who do not limit or prohibit N.H. residents from training dogs or hunting bear with N.H. dogs, are the only nonresidents allowed to bring dogs into N.H. to train dogs or take bears. Permits are available online at huntnh.com. The permit becomes effective when one copy is presented by hand or postmarked and mailed to the N.H. Fish and Game Department (Wildlife Division, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301) prior to taking a bear. Hunters who take a bear with the use of dogs must present this permit at the time of registration.
It is Unlawful to:
- Hunt bear with a .22 or smaller rimfire firearm, or a shotgun loaded with any ammunition other than a single ball;
- Take more than one bear in a calendar year;
- Buy, sell or offer for sale a bear or any part thereof, other than the head, hide, or feet;
- Possess a bear that hasn’t been properly tagged;
- Upon killing a bear, the tag shall be immediately filled out and attached to the bear;
- Assist another in taking a bear after you have taken one, unless you are accompanying a youth under age 16.
- Start hounds over bait.
- Take bear with an air rifle.
- Shoot a bear that has been trapped or cornered by a dog and you are not a member of the hunting party.
- Hunt bear on any islands, or in the waters of any lake or pond in the state.
- Use telemetry equipment to locate hounds within 300 feet of a public way.
Chocolate Banned as Bear Bait
No person shall establish, tend, or hunt over a bait containing chocolate or any cocoa derivative. White chocolate may be used.