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New Hampshire Hunting Guide

Despite being geographically small, New Hampshire offers a variety of species for hunters to enjoy. The state’s hunting selection has much in common with the surrounding New England region. Nearly all of New Hampshire’s land -- public, private, state, federal, and municipal -- is open to hunting.

What to Hunt


Like its neighboring New England states, New Hampshire offers a relatively diverse range of game species for hunters to enjoy.

Quail

Deer

Because of New Hampshire’s northern location, whitetail densities are generally low. The highest concentration of deer is found in New Hampshire’s southernmost regions. The state has a lot of huntable land, however, and tags are easy to obtain. In 2020, the statewide deer harvest was 13,044. Many deer hunters have success on private land in New Hampshire, and it is required to obtain the landowner’s permission first.

Quail

Turkey

Turkey populations are rising in New Hampshire, and hunters enjoy large amounts of huntable land. It is not permitted to take a turkey using a rifle, air rifle, dogs, live decoys, or electronic calling devices, and it is not permitted to take a turkey that is perched in a tree. Hunters may use bows with a draw weight of at least 30 pounds, or a shotgun. There is a bag limit of two turkeys per year in the fall and spring seasons combined.

Quail

Duck

Although New Hampshire has only a short coastline, waterfowl and duck populations are high. Hunters can enjoy abundant eiders and scoters along the coast. Further inland, mallard and wood ducks can be found near creeks. Waterfowl seasons generally run from September through January, depending on the species. Bag limits range from two all the way to 25, and there is no bag limit for crows.

Quail

Bear

New Hampshire offers three separate bear seasons: general, dog season, and baiting season. Bears can be found throughout the state, with notable densities in the White Mountains and in central New Hampshire. Bear season generally starts in September and runs through November, depending on the type of season. In 2020, hunters harvested 1,183 bears from New Hampshire, which was a new historical record. The highest number of bears (363) were harvested from the Central and White Mountains Regions.

Quail

Pheasant

New Hampshire is annually stocked with over 10,000 pheasant for hunters to enjoy. The vast majority of pheasant hunting in New Hampshire takes place on private property. Make sure to obtain the landowner’s permission before hunting on private property. Pheasant season generally runs from October-December. Note that there are occasional closures to pheasant season on the dates when parks officials are restocking pheasants.

Other New Hampshire game species include: Mergansers, and Coots,Canada Geese,Snow Geese, Brant, Woodcock, Common Snipe, Crow, Snowshoe Hare, Cottontail Rabbit, Ruffed grouse, Northern Bobwhite Quail, Chukar, Hungarian Partridge, Gray Squirrel, Moose, etc. found in the "Hunting Seasons" section at bottom of the page.

Where to Hunt


In New Hampshire, all state, federal, municipal, county, and private land is open to hunting unless it is specifically posted against hunting. It is still recommended that hunters receive permission before hunting on private land.

Federal Lands

The White Mountain National Forest is the largest single landholding in New Hampshire. It comprises over 751,000 total acres. With only a few exceptions, the White Mountain National Forest is open to hunting.

State Lands

New Hampshire offers 117 state forests, 41 state parks, 63 other tracts, and 100 Wildlife Management Areas. These areas are open to hunting, with only a few exceptions where posted.

Private Land Owned by Timber or Paper Companies

Many major paper and timber companies keep their lands open to hunting in New Hampshire. These areas are some of the state’s largest tracts of hunt-able land.

Private, County, and Municipal Lands

80% of the forestland in New Hampshire is privately owned. These lands are open to hunters unless otherwise posted. It is recommended that each hunter contact the respective landowners to seek permission to hunt.

Licensing Fees


License Resident Nonresident
​Hunting/Freshwater Fishing Combination ​$56.00 ​$151.00
​Hunting ​$32.00 ​$113.00
​Muzzleloader ​$16.00 ​$41.00
​Pheasant ​$31.00 ​$31.00
​Bear ​$16.00 ​$48.00
​Wild Turkey Permit (includes spring and fall) ​$16.00 ​$31.00
​Small-game 3-day ​N/A ​$25.00
​Trapper, Resident Adult ​$36.00 ​N/A

Hunter Education


First-time hunters in New Hampshire are required to complete a hunter education course prior to obtaining a hunting license. Hunters under the age of 16 are exempt from this requirement if they are hunting under the supervision of a licensed adult.

Youths must be 12 years of age to enroll in a hunter’s education course. The course may be taken online or in person.

Youth Hunting


There is no minimum age for youth hunters in New Hampshire. However, all hunters under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a licensed adult (18 years of age or older). A hunter education course and a hunting license are not required for youths under 16 who are hunting while supervised.

New Hampshire also offers youth-only hunts for deer, waterfowl, and turkey. These are open to youths 16 years of age or younger. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a licensed adult (18 years of age or older). Each adult can accompany a maximum of two youth hunters.

Trapping


New Hampshire also offers youth-only hunts for deer, waterfowl, and turkey. These are open to youths 16 years of age or younger. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a licensed adult (18 years of age or older). Each adult can accompany a maximum of two youth hunters.

First-time trappers must be certified through a trapping education class before they can obtain a license.

Hunting Seasons

Game Season Begins Season Ends
Turkey* Apr 23 2022 May 31 2022
Oct 10 2022 Oct 16 2022
Bear* Sep 1 2022 Nov 30 2022
Ducks, Mergansers, and Coots* Oct 2 2022 Jan 14 2023
Canada Geese* Oct 2 2022 Jan 14 2023
Snow Geese* Oct 2 2022 Jan 14 2023
Brant* Oct 2 2022 Jan 4 2023
Sea Ducks* Oct 2 2022 Jan 14 2023
Woodcock Oct 1 2022 Nov 14 2022
Common Snipe Sep 15 2022 Nov 14 2022
Crow Aug 15 2022 Nov 30 2022
Mar 16 2023 Mar 31 2023
Deer* Sep 15 2022 Dec 15 2022
Snowshoe Hare* Oct 1 2022 Mar 31 2023
Cottontail Rabbit* Oct 1 2022 Jan 31 2023
Ring-necked pheasant Oct 1 2022 Dec 31 2022
Ruffed grouse, Northern bobwhite quail, Chukar, Hungarian partridge Oct 1 2022 Dec 31 2022
Gray squirrel Sep 1 2022 Jan 31 2023
Pheasant Oct 1 2022 Dec 31 2022
Moose Oct 15 2022 Oct 23 2022

*Hunting dates for this species may vary by zone, method of take, or subspecies of animal. Visit the state’s website here to find out more.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information.