CONCORD, N.H. — Based on preliminary registration tallies at the close of the season, N.H. hunters harvested 9,765 deer in 2010. The estimated statewide harvest was down 6% from the 2009 total of 10,384 deer. The lower statewide totals were not unexpected, reflecting an intended reduction in antlerless harvest to help deer numbers recover from two severe winters starting in 2007-08, according to Kent Gustafson, Deer Project Leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
“The mild winter of 2009-10 combined with a reduced antlerless kill will help the state’s population recover from recent declines,” said Gustafson. Another mild winter and reduced antlerless kill in winter affected areas will increase deer numbers back toward the population objectives.
New Hampshire has an estimated population of about 85,000 deer, with the 2010 kill representing about 11.5% of that total. Deer hunting closed in the state on December 15, the final day of the archery deer season.
The unofficial deer kill for New Hampshire’s 2010 season by county, with comparisons to previous years, is posted at www.huntnh.com/Hunting/deer_hunt_take_by_County.htm. These figures are estimates based on the number of deer reported as being registered in each county (not necessarily killed in that county).
The unofficial harvest tally for New Hampshire’s 2010 bear season is 706 bears. While the harvest was down 7% from 2009, when 758 bears were taken (the second highest bear harvest in the state’s history), the 2010 season concluded 36% above the preceding 5-year-average of 520 bears. The 2010 harvest consisted of 361 males and 345 females.
Bear harvest distribution by method was 53% by bait hunters, 36% by still hunters and 11% by hound hunters. These harvest distributions are consistent with those achieved during recent years. While method-specific harvest percentages are influenced by the distribution and abundance of natural foods from one year to the next, hunter preference does play a significant role. Bear baiting has grown in popularity as reflected by harvest statistics.
A preliminary breakdown of 2010 bear season results by region and method may be found at www.huntnh.com/Hunting/bear_hunt_take.htm.
Final official numbers from the 2010 hunting seasons will be available in the 2010 New Hampshire Wildlife Harvest Summary, which comes out in March of 2011.
New Hampshire’s successful 2010 hunting seasons are a reminder that hunting activities, made possible by science-based wildlife management, contribute significantly to New Hampshire’s economy. The most recent U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service survey indicates that approximately 61,000 people hunt in New Hampshire, generating more than $75 million in hunting-related expenditures annually in the state.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats. Visit www.huntnh.com.