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 N.H. hunters.
The estimated statewide deer kill for New Hampshire’s 2012 season was 11,590 deer, up 4 percent from the final 2011 harvest (11,109 deer) and the highest harvest since 2007.
The 2012 harvest represents about 14 percent of New Hampshire’s pre-season population of about 85,000 deer. Deer hunting closed in the state on Dec. 15, the final day of the archery deer season.
“Last year’s mild winter helped the deer population in much of the state and the statewide kill increased for the second year in a row,” said Kent Gustafson, a deer biologist and Wildlife Programs Supervisor at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. “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 2012 season by county, with comparisons to previous years, is posted at huntnh.com/Hunting/deer_hunt_take_by_County.htm.
The 2012 figures are estimates based on the number of deer reported as being registered 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.
Hunters took a record number of black bears this fall, surpassing the previous record of 803 bears taken in 2003. New Hampshire bear hunters took a total of 806 bears (433 males and 373 females) in 2012, which represents a new record harvest.
The numbers are still preliminary. Bait hunters harvested 426 bears; still hunters/stalkers took 282 bears; and hound hunters registered 98 bears. The overall harvest sex ratio was 1.2 males per female.
The 2012 New Hampshire bear harvest was 39 percent above the five-year in-season average of 581 bears for this time period, according to Fish and Game Bear Project Leader Andrew Timmins. Additionally, the 2012 harvest was nearly double that achieved in 2011, when a total of 418 bears were taken in New Hampshire. Regionally, 180 bears were taken in the North, 229 in the White Mountains, 263 in the Central, 76 in Southwest-1, 57 in Southwest-2, and 1 in the Southeast regions.