New Hampshire may be one of the best-kept deer hunting secrets in the US. The tough winter conditions and record-high apple harvests over the past few years have contributed to the increase in white-tailed deer populations. With a healthy white-tailed deer population estimated at over 100 000, turning it into the perfect hunting ground.
If you’re interested in hunting white-tailed deer in the state of New Hampshire, there are a few rules and regulations that you’ll need to know. Join us as we explore all that there is to know about hunting white-tailed deer in New Hampshire.
Season Dates 2023
Deer season is divided into four seasons in New Hampshire; Archery, Muzzleloader, Firearm, and Youth Weekend. New Hampshire has been divided into 24 Wildlife Management Units (WMU), all of which have their own seasonal dates, making it one of the most complicated states to figure out hunting seasons.
|Season||Dates (Start to end)|
|Archery||September 15th – December 15th|
|Muzzleloader||October 29th – November 8th|
|Firearms||November 9th – December 4th|
|Youth Weekend||October 22nd – 23rd|
|Archery||Any Deer||Antlered Deer Only|
|WMU A||September 15th – December 8th||September 15th – December 8th|
|WMU B-M||September 15th -December 15th||September 15th -December 15th|
|Muzzleloader||Any Deer||Antlered Deer Only|
|WMU A, B, C1, C2, D1, D2E, E, F||October 29th||October 29th – November 8th|
|WMU G2, I1, I2||October 30th||October 30th – November 8th|
|WMU J1||October 29th – October 30th||October 31st – November 8|
|WMU H1, H2, K||October 29th – October 31st||November 1st – November 8th|
|WMU D2W, J2||October 29th – November 1st||November 2nd – 8th|
|WMU G1||October 29th – November 2nd||November 3rd – November 8th|
|WMU L,M||October 29th – November 8th||–|
|Firearms||Any Deer||Antlered Deer|
|WMU A||–||November 9th – November 27th|
|WMU B, C1, C2, D1, D2E||–||November 9th – December 4th|
|WMU E, F, G2, I1, I2||November 9th||November 10 – December 4th|
|WMU J1||November 9th – November 10th||November 11th – December 4th|
|WMU H1, H2, J2, K||November 9th – November 11th||November 12th – December 4th|
|WMU D2W||November 9th – November 12th||November 13th – December 4th|
|WMU G1||November 9th – November 13th||November 14th – December 4th|
|WMU L, M||November 9th – November 18th||November 19th – December 4th|
|Special Permits||Antlered Deer|
|WMU L||2000 Permittees|
|WMU M||4000 Permittees|
|Youth Hunt||Any Deer|
|All WMU’s statewide||October 22nd – October 23rd|
|WMU A-L||October 19th – November 16th|
|WMU M||September 15th – December 15th|
For a white-tailed deer to qualify in the state of New Hampshire as an antlered deer, it must have one antler three (3) inches long. If you want to know when deer start growing antlers, see here. In addition, special permits are awarded to lottery winners to harvest one antlerless deer (1) in either WMU M or WMU L.
The state of New Hampshire allows prospective deer hunters to set bait for deer prior to hunting them. Deer baiting is allowed throughout deer season in Wildlife Management Unit M.
New Hampshire requires hunters that are over the age of 17 years to purchase a hunting license for every deer season they wish to participate. Licensing is divided into two categories; resident and non-resident.
|Hunting/Freshwater Fishing Combination*||$56.00||$151.00|
|Senior Hunting/Freshwater Fishing Combination*||$7.00||N/A|
Minors under 16 are not required to purchase a general hunting, fishing, or archery license. However, they are required to purchase the following licenses for hunting deer: Special Archery Deer, Unit M and Unit L special Deer tags.
All minors must have completed a Hunters Education Course and be assisted by a licensed hunter over 18 years old. In addition, non-resident minors that are under the age of 16 are required to purchase a muzzleloader license.
When purchasing a hunting license, you are required to purchase a Wildlife Habitation Fee of $2.50. In addition, a $2 transaction fee is charged per license form ($2.75 online). For more information regarding licenses, contact New Hampshire Fish and Game.
There are no white-tailed deer bag limits in the state of New Hampshire. However, only one deer may be harvested per license.
|Archery||One (1) deer of either sex|
|Firearm( Regular hunting)||One (1) deer|
|Special Archery Deer Permit||One antlered deer|
|Special Unit L Permit||One antlerless deer|
|Special Unit M Permit||One antlerless deer|
Deer that have been harvested must be registered at the nearest registration station within a 24 hour period. All deer must be accompanied and registered by the person who took the deer. Deer may only be hunted from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ after sunset.
What Weapons Can You Hunt With in New Hampshire?
- Archery- Bow & Arrow
- Muzzleloading rifles
Let’s look further at the gun and weapon regulations for hunting deer in New Hampshire.
|Shotguns||Must be 10, 12, 16, or 20 gauge and shoot slugs or 00 or larger buckshot.|
|Handguns||Cannot exceed .45 Caliber.|
|Pistol||Pistols are permitted but cannot be loaded with more than 6 rounds of ammunition at any time.|
|Prohibited Firearms||Any automatic firearms are prohibited, air rifles are prohibited, it is illegal to shoot a deer with a .22 or smaller rimfire firearm.|
|Prohibited Ammunition||No shotgun ammunition is permitted other than slugs or 00 or larger buckshot.|
Bow and Arrow:
|Arrows||Archers must have their names and address on arrows or bolts.|
|Broadheads||Broadheads can be fixed but must not be less than ⅞ inches wide and not more than 1½ inches wide. Retractable broadheads are permitted but cannot be less than ⅞ of an inch wide when open.|
|Bow characteristics||Minimum draw weight for hunting deer is 40 lbs.|
|Crossbow draw weight||Crossbows must have a minimum pull of 125 lbs, a working mechanical safety, and a total length greater than 25 inches.|
|Arrows/ bolts||The hunter’s name and address must be plainly marked on crossbow bolts. No Crossbows that are fitted with 2 or more bows, limbs, or strings, are permitted for the purpose of a take.|
|Broadheads||Must be ⅞ inches at the widest point.|
|Powder||black powder or black powder substitute only.|
|Caliber||Single barrel of.40 caliber or greater.|
|Legal projectile||Muzzleloaders can only be loaded from the muzzle.|
|Ignition||Matchlock, flintlock ignition system, percussion ignition system with a primer or percussion cap, or a wheel-lock.|
What Types of Deer Are Popular to Hunt in New Hampshire?
White-tailed deer are the only type of deer available to hunt in New Hampshire. These deer are the most popular species of deer to hunt in the US; you’ll know when they are in the area from their noticeable dispersed deer droppings.
What else is Popular to Hunt in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire offers over 30 000 acres of hunting wilderness with a large selection of big and small game for hunters to target. Here are some popular wildlife species targeted in New Hampshire:
- Black Bear
- Wild Turkey
- Water Fowl