Deer Hunting in New Hampshire

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  • B
  • 100,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 50,000

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $32 and up

    Plus a $2 transaction fee.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $83 and up (depending on weapon)

    Plus a $2 transaction fee.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 187 2/8"

    Taken by John Klucky in Merrimack County in 2006.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 47

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 222 7/8"

    Taken by John Gravelle in Grafton County in 1950.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 9

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Neil Pendleton with his big New Hampshire deer. Photo courtesy of Neil Pendleton

Season Dates (2021):

Archery season runs September 15 to December 15 but closes earlier in WMU A. Muzzleloader season is October 30 to November 9. Firearms season runs November 10 to December 5 but closes earlier in WMU A. Youth weekend is October 23-24. Specific antlered and antlerless restrictions apply for each season based on unit. Please check the New Hampshire Fish and Game website to confirm deer season dates.

The Grade: B

The New Hampshire deer harvest has been down the past few years. But things are looking up. A stretch of bad weather during the firearms season the last few years kept many hunters from filling their tags. Couple that with multiple mild winters in a row, and record acorn and apple crops last fall, and the deer herd came through the winter in great shape. New Hampshire biologists are expecting a near record harvest this season.

Recently, the wildlife management unit organization was reassessed for specific population objectives that represent more biologically realistic goals. This move has allowed the department to increase antlerless hunting opportunities on many of the WMUs. An increase in special permits in areas where deer numbers continue to rise is another recent change.

Deer densities are somewhat low, but that’s to be expected near the northernmost limit of the whitetail’s range. Scouting is key to filling tags, especially if hunting along the White Mountains. The state’s highest deer densities tend to be in the southern third of the state, and along the Connecticut River Valley.

Overall, tags are easy to come by, and with plenty of public ground to hunt, we give the state a B again this season.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

Record-class deer are fairly evenly distributed throughout the state. Over the past several years, Rockingham, Grafton, and Hillsborough counties have led the deer harvest numbers, but all southern counties are a good bet for both numbers and trophy potential. Check out some densely populated urban areas for bowhunting potential.

New Hampshire offers about 750,000 acres of public hunting. That’s good, given the relatively small size of the state. Several types of opportunities exist, including federal lands, state lands, paper and timber companies, and private, county, and municipal lands.