All About Hunting In New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a US state located in New England and is usually defined by its magnificent town and its flourishing range of wildlife. More than a fourth of its area is covered with forest cover.

The wood areas well support a flourishing range of wildlife. From magnificent humpback whales to tiny creatures that we see in our day to day life, it has all. It is home to more than 500 species of vertebrate animals.

 It has hunting land up to 30,000 acres distributed over nearly 100 tracts, most of which are wildlife management areas.

In New Hampshire, hunters are really fortunate that all state, federal, municipal, county, and private lands are considered open to hunting unless posted otherwise. It also manages three flood control areas up to 13,446 acres and conservation easements on thousands of additional acres.

Besides, it has a long hunting season for you to explore more according to what excites you the most.

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1.What Species To Hunt In New Hampshire?

While being on your adventurous field trips in New Hampshire Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or just getting started, you will come across a variety of wildlife species to decide and make up your mind according to what excites you the most.

 Wildlife species like White-tailed deer, Black bear, Moose, Wild Turkey are popularly hunted.

There is an abundance of small game species and Furbearers like Ruffed grouse, Rabbits, Squirrels, Raccoons, foxes, mink, and Pheasant.

2. Seasons

Hunting season usually refers to the right time to hunt a specific wildlife species. It is decided by looking upon the factors like breeding times, conservation efforts, and population of the species.

In New Hampshire hunting season usually starts around mid-April and lasts up till December. Dates may vary for various wildlife species or various hunting categories.

2.1 Big Game

This hunting category consists of wildlife species like Black Bear, Moose, White-tailed Deer, Wild Turkey. For Bear, the hunting season starts around the first week of September and goes up till the end of the year.

Deer hunting season generally starts around the end of April and lasts up till the end of December. There might be variations depending upon the zone and the weapons that are being used.

Moose hunting season usually starts around mid of October and lasts till the end of October.

Wild Turkey hunting starts around the end of April and lasts till the mid of October. There might be some variation in the hunting dates depending upon the zones and the weapons used.

2.2 Small Game And Furberers

It includes species like Ruffed grouse, Rabbits, Squirrels, Raccoons, foxes, mink, and Pheasant. Hunting season for them usually begins around September and lasts up till March of next year. There might be certain variations in the dates depending upon the regions.

2.3 Migratory Birds

This category includes species like Ducks, Mergansers, coots, Canada Geese, Snow Geese, grouse, Brant,

  • Falconry, Woodcock, Common snipe, and crows.
  • Hunting season for Ducks, Mergansers, Coots, Canada goose, Brant is usually the same and starts around the first week of October and lasts till the end of November.

Hunting season for falconry starts around the first week of November and lasts up till mid of January.

 Woodcock hunting season starts from the first week of October and lasts up till the mid of November.

And lastly, the crow hunting season usually begins around mid of march and lasts up till the end of November.

Upland Bird Hunting in NH

3. Where Can You Hunt?

If you are hunting in New Hampshire you will find plenty of great opportunities and places. It is totally your call whether to go outdoors, do some scouting, look for the right habitat, look out where to spend time in the wildlife.

3.1 Wildlife Management Areas

 The White Mountain National Forest is to be known as the largest wildlife management area in the state covering up to 751,000 acres of land. Hunting is allowed throughout the Forest.

It has roads open to all motor vehicles and gated roads open for foot travel only. If you are interested in hiking a longer distance, this place will give you a rare opportunity to hunt locations.

Other large areas include the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge and several units of the Silvio Conte National Wildlife Refuge. Most of them are open to hunting, including some 75,000 acres of state parks and almost 96,000 acres of state forests.

3.2 Private Forest Land

 Most landowners have kept their property open to hunting. You can make sure that these lands stay open by treating them well. stay away from the wet or soft roads.

Do not park or block any road or bar way, respect gated or closed roads, and know all the rules regarding the use of ATVs. It is always best to make local contacts for more information or to know about any special rules regarding hunting on these private lands.

3.3 Small Private Lands/Conservation Easement Lands

Almost Eighty percent of New Hampshire’s forest land is privately owned. Access to these smaller areas of private land is different across the state. It is recommended that you personally contact the landowner for permission before going hunting on all private land, but particularly smaller parcels.

In addition to privately owned parcels many properties are under conservation easements held by the state, a municipality, or nonprofit organization, and some county and municipal lands, like watershed protection areas, are also open to hunting.

4. Hunting License Requirements

To purchase a hunting license, you must have completed an approved Hunter Education course, or provide proof that you have previously held a hunting license in any state or province. Individuals may purchase any of the licenses by just showing a certificate of completion from the appropriate course or a previously issued license of the same type.

In New Hampshire, hunting licenses are required for persons 16 years of age and older. Some licenses and permits are compulsory for all ages. Hunting licenses are valid from January 1 to December 31 annually.

To obtain a resident license the person must show a present and valid New Hampshire driver’s license or picture identification card issued by the New Hampshire Department of Safety, Div. of Motor Vehicles.

 For applicants under 18 years of age, the parent or guardian of the applicant shall be a resident and present their valid NH driver’s license or non-driver’s picture identification.

While applying for a military license any residents who are a regular active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard permanently stationed outside the state are eligible for free temporary hunting and fishing licenses. These licenses are available at New Hampshire Fish and Game Headquarters in Concord; Region 1, 2, and 4 offices and are also available by mail or fax (603) 271-5829.

A hunting license is also available for Disabled veterans so even they can be eligible for a hunting and fishing license. Like the license for paraplegics, disabled veterans must meet certain criteria and present documentation of a permanent disability from the Veterans Services Office.

Renee Apprentice License

4.1 How To Get A License

  • You can either get it online at the official hunting and fishing website of New Hampshire
  • Walk-in and get it on the spot from the Fish and Game Department Headquarters at New Hampshire.
  • You can even simply contact license agents or city clerks located throughout the city.

4.2 Exceptions: When License Is Not Required

Resident landowners and their children under the age of 16 may hunt and trap on their own land during the hunting season without a license. This exception does not apply to activities that require a special license or permit (e.g., archery, muzzleloader, pheasants, turkey).

Children under the age group of 16 do not need a regular New Hampshire hunting license while hunting when they are accompanied by a properly licensed person who is 18 years old or older.

 Minors must have a permit or license for turkey, deer, special archery deer, bear, nonresident muzzleloader, and trapping.

5. Hunter’s Education

  •  To complete the Hunter Education course of New Hampshire a person is required to be the age of 16 or older who haven’t previously held a hunting license.
  • In the Hunter Education course, you’ll learn about firearms and archery safety and handling, outdoor safety, and survival skills, New Hampshire hunting laws, your responsibilities as a hunter, and much more.
  •  Hunter Education has ensured ages of safe, responsible, and ethical hunters and has resulted in the dramatic reduction of hunting-related accidents in New Hampshire.
  • These days it is easier than ever to find, register for, and participate in a Hunter Education course that’s convenient for you. You can anytime Review course offerings and register online anytime at the official hunting and Fishing website of New Hampshire.
  •  Another way is the online Hunter Education course, which completes your training with a field day and practical field exam, for that you must be 15 years or older to take the online course for certification.

5.1 Exemption From Hunter’s Education

Hunter education is not required for youth hunters under the age group of 16. In some cases, few complete the hunter education course between the age of 12 and till the age of 16 they will have the required education to apply for their hunter’s license.

Both resident and non-resident youth are permitted to hunt during the special weekends, but non-resident youth are eligible for the youth deer hunt only if their state of residence allows you to participate in the hunting games of New Hampshire.

The Prepared Hunter

6. General Rules And Regulations

6.1 Can You Hunt At Night

Hunting wildlife species is allowed at night all-round the year for various species. Special permissions are required if you’re hunting a wildlife species with any special kind of weapons (muzzleloader, shotguns). Lights are permitted if you’re not using OHRVs (ATV, trail bike, UTV).

6.2 Tree Stands/Blinds

Written permission from the landowner is needed for any tree stand, ladder, or observation blind which might cause damage or may destroy trees by inserting any metallic, ceramic, or other objects.

Written permission is also required if any tree is cut in conjunction with the use of any stand or blind or to construct a pit blind. New Hampshire.

6.3 Orange Hunting Clothing Law

Anyone using a firearm or bow and arrow for hunting during the hunting seasons, except for someone who is legally hunting waterfowl, should wear a hat, vest, or another suitable article of clothing material in the color of hunter orange which is well visible from all sides from a minimum distance of 200 feet.

6.4 Bag Limit

Bag Limit is defined as the number of a particular species that an individual angler can harvest and possess in a given day. Bag limit and limits apply to all individuals who are present at the field for hunting. One person should be 18 or older.

For big hunting animals like White-tailed deer, black bear, and moose Bag limit is one animal per year. For wild turkey 2 can be hunted per year one of which can be taken down by a crossbow and the other can be taken down by shotgun.

The bag limit for small hunting and furbearer species is usually up to 5 per day. For other migratory bird species, the bag limit varies from 2 per day up to 6 birds per day depending upon the species.

6.5 Lacey Act

Interstate transportation of wildlife whether it is taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of state law is a violation of federal law. This can result in a penalty of up to $250,000 and 5 years in prison.

6.6 Leashed Dog Trackers

Volunteer leashed dog trackers are private citizens who come in help to track and recover all the wounded deer, moose, and bear. They are licensed by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department for this activity, which may take place at night.

For more information, you can simply give them a call or Visit the official hunting and fishing website of New Hampshire for a list of licensed leashed dog tracker

6.7 Use Of OHRV

Usage of OHRVs (ATV, trail bike, UTV) requires written permission from the landowner unless you’re on a sanctioned ATV trail. The vehicle should be registered while you’re operating it off your own property.

No one is allowed to carry on a moving OHRV, or a trailer towed trailer unless the firearm is unloaded. This rule does not apply to pistols or revolvers carried pursuant.

6.8 Baiting

  • A baiting permit is needed for every bait site. The permit applications (no fee) are available in both online and offline mode. The sign of the landowner is required on the Applications for permits for baiting wildlife on private land.
  • No bait is allowed until two copies of the bait permit and map have been submitted to the Wildlife Division at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord. Bait is allowed at almost every site after the onset of the baiting season.
  • A landowner who is permitting the placement of bait on his or her own property is not required to submit a baiting permit or map.
  • Only a licensed New Hampshire Hunting Guide, can have more than 2 active bait sites statewide. A licensed New Hampshire Hunting Guide should not have more than 8 active bait sites, 6 for commercial use, and up to 2 for personal use.
  • Licensed New Hampshire Hunting Guides must indicate on the bait permit if the site is for commercial or personal use.
  • A baiting permit is necessarily needed for any bait site on State-owned or State-managed lands, including White Mountain National Forest.
  • Applications for baiting permits on state-owned or state-managed lands must reach the Department or postmark between the time period of the first Monday of June till the first Monday of August for deer and bear.
  • Applications should be filled out completely and should include a topographic map and directions to the bait site.
  •  Baiting permits are usually issued based on a first-come, first-served basis, except in the case for the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Forest, where the permits are issued by the method of a lottery.
  • One copy of the bait permit application is needed to be submitted to the Law Enforcement Division at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord.
  • Nobody, not even a licensed New Hampshire Hunting Guide, should have more than 1 active bait site within an individual trapping unit.

6.9 Discharge Of Arrows And Firearms

Usage of any kind of weapons like bow and arrow, crossbow and bolt or a .22 caliber or larger air guns is used while hunting within the radius of 300 feet of a permanently occupied dwelling without the permission of the owner or the landowner on which the person shooting the firearm, air rifle, bow and arrow, or crossbow and bolt took place are strictly prohibited.

 It is strictly prohibited to discharge any sort of firearm within the radius of 300 feet of any commercial, educational, or health facility, or outdoor public haunt.

Firearms might not be discharged within the compact area of any town or city (any contiguous area containing 6 or more buildings used as part-time or permanent dwellings where each is within 300 feet of one opposite building, plus a 300-foot-wide perimeter around all of the buildings).

It is unlawful to discharge a firearm, air gun, bow, and arrow, or crossbow and bolt within the radius of 15 feet of the traveled portion of, or across any class through highway, or from across the public highways.

6.10 Restricted Activities

  • Negligently shooting, wounding, or killing a person while hunting, or abandoning a wounded or killed person.
  • Negligently discharging a firearm or causing death, injury, or damage to livestock or property while hunting.
  • Shooting any wildlife that has been treed or cornered by a dog unless the owner of the dog or a member of the hunting party is present.
  • Possessing a firearm with ammunition, bow, and arrow, or crossbow and bolt while attempting to locate or illuminate wild animals at night at any time of the year, except during the night hunting season.
  • Taking wildlife by the use of a spring gun or set gun.
  • Usage of an unmanned aerial vehicle, such as a drone, to attempt to locate, surveil, or aid or assist in the taking of wildlife.
  • Using weapons like “smart rifles” while hunting wildlife (firearms that are electronically controlled, electronically assisted, or have a computer-linked trigger that aids the shooter in tracking an animal, or assists with accuracy regarding the placement and timing of the shot).
  • Usage of live-action game cameras while trying to locate, surveil, aid, or while taking any game animal or furbearer animal during the same calendar day while the season is open.
  • Establishing a tend, or hunting bear over any baited area containing chocolate or any cocoa derivative.
  • Hunting from inside of, or upon, any type of motorized vehicle, including aircraft, motor vehicle, snowmobile, or OHRV.
  • Hunting from a boat or canoe before all movement from mechanical power has stopped.
  • Carrying around a loaded firearm or cocked crossbow while a person is in any type of motor vehicle while moving.
  • Entering posted land without permission of the landowner or failing to leave when requested.
  • Willfully tearing down, obstructing, or leaving open any fence, gate, or bar belonging to another person, or removing posted signs on the property.
  • Hunting with a fully automatic firearm. It is also illegal to hunt with a semi-automatic rifle with a clip or magazine holding more than five cartridges (except rimfire rifles and pistols).
  • Using full-jacketed metal case bullets.
  • Usage of telemetry equipment from ½ hour before sunrise through ½ hour after sunset to locate trail or tree hounds while in a motorized vehicle or within 300 feet (as measured from the center of the traveled portion) of any public highway or any private road open to public use.
  • Buying, selling, or offering for sale a deer, bear, moose, or any part thereof, other than the head, hide, or feet.
  • Possession of a deer, bear, moose, or turkey that hasn’t been properly tagged.
  • Possession of a detached deer, bear, moose, or turkey tag. Upon killing a deer, bear, moose, or turkey, the tag shall be immediately filled out and attached.
  • Assisting another in taking a deer or bear after you have taken one unless you possess a valid unused tag or are accompanying a minor.
  • Tagging, stealing, taking, or carrying away any game belonging to another person.
  • Dispatching a wounded deer, bear, moose, turkey, or other game animals that are not permitted to be taken at night with a firearm, unless you are a licensed dog tracker.


New Hampshire is a state with abundant land and a variety of unique species for hunting and has lenient rules and regulations that have to be followed. Other than that, it is also a beautiful and comfortable location waiting to be explored and appreciated.

For more information, you can visit the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department official website:


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