CONCORD — The preliminary numbers are in for New Hampshire’s deer, bear and fall turkey hunting seasons, and it was a successful year for many New Hampshire hunters.
The unofficial deer kill for New Hampshire’s 2013 hunting season was 12,387 deer, up 7 percent from the final 2012 kill of 11,612. It was the highest take since 2007, and the fourth highest harvest on record in New Hampshire.
“Based on where deer were registered, it appears as if most counties had deer kills similar to or above the 2012 harvest,” said Dan Bergeron, the Deer Project Leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
The 2013 harvest represents about 14 percent of New Hampshire’s pre-season population of about 87,000 deer. Deer hunting closed in the state on Dec. 15, the final day of the archery deer season.
“The last three winters have been three of the mildest on record in New Hampshire since Fish and Game started recording winter severity index data during the winter of 1964-1965,” Bergeron said. “This has helped increase deer survival and reproduction and, as a result, the statewide kill has increased for the third year in a row.”
He noted that registration data are being entered and verified and by mid-January better information on the distribution of the kill by Wildlife Management Unit will be available
The unofficial deer kill for New Hampshire’s 2013 season by county, with comparisons to previous years, is posted at huntnh.com/Hunting/deer_hunt_take_by_County.htm. The 2013 figures are estimates based on the number of deer registrations reported in each county, not necessarily killed in that county. As a result, they may not be directly comparable to the actual kill by county for previous years. This is particularly evident in the south-central portion of the state, where many deer killed in surrounding counties are registered in Hillsborough County.
Black bear hunters took a total of 569 bears in New Hampshire during the 2013 season. While this harvest is 30 percent less compared to the record harvest of 2012 (808 bears), this harvest was more consistent with the recent five-year average (626 bears).
“More abundant natural foods during 2013 resulted in a more ‘average’ year in terms of both bear harvest and bear-human conflict levels,” said Andrew Timmins, the Bear Project Leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
The 2013 bear harvest included of 340 males and 229 females, resulting in an overall harvest sex ratio of 1.5 males per female.
For a comparison of bear season results in recent years, visit huntnh.com/Hunting/bear_hunt_take.htm.
Fall turkey hunters did pretty well, considering that the relative abundance of fruits, nuts and seeds this fall made turkey flocks somewhat more difficult to encounter. A total of 811 turkeys (490 hens and 341 males) have been registered.
Hunters took 286 turkeys during the Sept. 15 – Dec. 15 archery turkey season, and 545 turkeys during the Oct. 14-18 fall shotgun turkey season, according to Fish & Game Turkey Biologist Ted Walski. A larger number of turkeys are taken during the May spring gobbler season; hunters took 4,522 turkeys in New Hampshire in May of 2013. As was the case during the spring season, the fall turkey harvest totals were highest from the Wildlife Management Units in southeastern New Hampshire.
Final numbers from all the year’s hunting seasons will be summarized in the 2013 New Hampshire Wildlife Harvest Summary, which will be issued in March.