Dan Bergeron: (603) 271-2461
Andy Timmins: (603) 271-2461
March 9, 2023
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will hold three public hearings regarding the 2023-2024 hunting and trapping season rules proposals as follows:
- March 30, 2023 – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Headquarters, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH. This hearing begins at 6:00 p.m.
- April 4, 2023 – Keene High School, Room 620, 43 Arche Street, Keene, NH. This hearing begins at 6:00 p.m.
- April 5, 2023 – The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Region 1 Office on Route 3, 629B Main Street, Lancaster, NH. This hearing begins at 6:00 p.m.
Changes are recommended every two years to ensure that season dates and bag limits align with species population goals reflected in the state’s ten-year Game Management Plan (2016-2025). Proposed revisions are based on a review of field data and other scientific information.
The complete rulemaking notice is available on the NH Fish and Game Department website’s Proposed Rules page at www.wildnh.com/legislative/proposed-rules.html.
The following are selected highlights of the proposed 2023-2024 wildlife rules package, but this is not a complete list.
New Hampshire’s regional deer, bear, and turkey populations are stable or increasing. Thus, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department proposes additional hunting opportunities in various regions of the state.
Deer: New Hampshire’s 2022 deer seasons resulted in the highest harvest in the past ten years and the third largest in the state’s history. The rules proposals call for an increased hunting opportunity in 13 of the 20 Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in the state. These opportunities include additional either-sex hunting opportunities in WMUs D1, D2E, D2W, G2, H1, H2, I1, I2, J1, J2, and K. In addition, the department proposes an increase in the number of special Unit L tags to 3,000. Proposed changes also include establishing an online deer registration option for hunters, allowing for the harvest of a second deer prior to registering the first, the ability to hunt deer on islands, and the chance to harvest a deer with a bow and arrow under a muzzleloader license.
Bear: The state is divided into six bear management regions. These six regions are split equally, with half of the regions being at their population goals and half having bear densities above their prescribed numbers. In an effort to meet regional population objectives, NH Fish and Game is proposing changes to season length and bag limits in select management regions. Proposed rules include the opportunity for hunters to take a second bear in the White Mountains Region (WMUs C1, D2, E, and F) and an extension of the still hunting season by 23 days in the Southeast Regions (WMUs L and M). Another notable proposal related to bear includes establishing bear registration stations similar to those used to register deer and turkey. This would result in multiple outlets for registering bears, increasing convenience for hunters.
Turkey: Turkey populations are robust in most areas of the state, which creates the prospect of liberalizing seasons that would result in greater hunter opportunity. Turkey proposals include adding a two-bird spring limit in WMU I1, which would result in increased spring hunting opportunity in 7 management units. The department also proposes removal of the fall shotgun season in WMU J1 based on recent harvest data and other criteria established in the Big Game Management Plan. Other noteworthy proposals related to turkey include prohibiting the ability to take a turkey by reaping or fanning (due to hunter safety concerns) and allowing for the harvest of a second turkey prior to registering the first.
Moose: The Department recommends the issuance of 35 either-sex moose permits for the fall 2023 moose season. Of these, 1 permit will be allocated for the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation’s Dream Hunts program and 1 permit will be issued for use by the New Hampshire Wildlife Heritage Foundation.
The 2023-2024 rule proposal package would also:
- Change requirements for establishing new registration stations for turkey and deer in an effort to increase the number of stations available to hunters.
- Modify rules related to pre-damage kill permits and wildlife depredation permits.
- Adjust the regional boundaries for one moose management region based on changes in habitat availability and corresponding moose density.
- Allow the department to review and approve courses required to meet the criteria to become a Level II Wildlife Control Operator.
Updates on the 2023-2024 biennial season-setting process may be found on Fish and Game’s website at www.wildnh.com/legislative/proposed-rules.html.