Hunter’s corner: Fish and Game’s permit website leaves much to be desired

Published: 7/23/2016 11:51:49 PM

For the Monitor

Last week, Fish and Game held another disastrous online drawing for bonus antlerless for WMU L. An upgraded number of permits, 750, were awarded to a less-than-user-friendly website, to be given to those who were positioned to maneuver to get the permit.

I am in a Tuesday night golf league and we were stuck behind a foursome that had never heard the term “ready golf.” It took well over three hours to complete nine holes. As a result, I was not at my computer at 6 p.m. I had two friends who had their wives at the ready at precisely 6 p.m. to log in. They got their permits. I, on the other hand, could not get through. All permits were issued in the first 15 minutes.

The problem sportsmen and sportswomen are confronted with is a lack of vision at Fish and Game. For two years in a row, the bonus permitting system has been less than fair and has created more disappointment than success.

Other states have confronted a bonus situation with a simple solution: have a lottery. By charging a $10 resident entrance fee and a $20 fee for non-residence applicants, the cost of the entrance and permit fee would provide a positive cash flow for Fish and Game and, more importantly, provide for a more equitable system for awarding the permits. The cost of the permit would remain the same.

While I am not really a summer person, I have a distinct advantage due to where I live. Every year, cardinals nest nearby. As a result, I am serenaded by young cardinals every morning. Weather patterns change, but the morning serenade continues and I am truly grateful.

The Wildlife Heritage Foundation received a grant from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation for capital improvements at the Barry Conservation Camp.

The $22,500 award will help fund a much-needed addition to the dining hall/classroom at this popular camp. The Foundation is challenged to match the grant award, and to date has received donations or pledges of $415,586. A fundraising campaign is underway to raise the remaining $7,000 by the end of the year.

Barry Conservation Camp hosts more than 260 campers each summer in seven week-long sessions. The camp focuses on increasing the campers’ knowledge of the natural world and the need to become stewards to conserve our natural surroundings, as well as opportunities to learn fishing, shooting or archery skills, wilderness survivor skills or the newest session of Junior Conservation Officer Week, focusing on the work and duties of the New Hampshire Conservation Officer.

For 30 years, Barry Conservation Camp has thrived as the place where the love and respect for the outdoors is shared by one generation to the next. My son in his youth got to spend a memorable week at Camp Barry, and it was an eye-opening experience.

Donations to support the Barry Camp building addition should be sent to the Wildlife Heritage Foundation, PO Box 3993, Concord, N.H. 03302, and be marked “Barry Camp Addition.”

So, it’s summer time. What to do? Well, if you’re an archery hunter, the time has come to visit Bear Brook State Park. Follow the signs to Archery Pond and you will find an archery range. There are four fixed stations and a 15-station archery course.

The only restriction is to leave your broad heads at home. The broad heads tear up the target, so this is field-point target opportunity only.

I had my bow modified this past winter and can’t wait to get tuned up to the new pound pull. Being a ground stander, the maximum distance I will be shooting will be 30 yards. My draw weight is 45 pounds, and that is more than enough to effectively down a deer, but I need to adjust my sights to give me the best possible opportunity to take a deer this fall.

Ducks Unlimited recently released the spring survey, and for the Atlantic flyway, which includes New Hampshire, it was reported as an average nesting period.

Every spring, the Fish and Game Commission holds a public hearing soliciting comments from sportsmen and the public. Each May, game staffers conduct their own survey to provide the commission with the best biological data to base the seasons. US Fish and Wild sets the number of days to be hunted and the commission sets the seasons within that framework.

The regular duck season is 60 days, with a bag limit of six birds daily. The Canada goose season is 70 days with a three birds daily limit. One significant change this year was to reduce the number of sea duck days from 107 to 60. The daily bag limit has been reduced from seven to five, of which no more than four shall be eiders, scoters or long-tailed ducks.

The possession limit will be 15 birds, of which no more than 12 shall be eiders, scoters or long-tailed ducks.

The following are the waterfowl seasons for ducks, mergansers, brant and coots:

The Northern Zone waterfowl season opens on Oct. 4 and runs straight through Dec. 2.

The Inland and Connecticut River Zone waterfowl season opens Oct. 4 and runs through Nov. 6; then re-opens Nov. 22 through Dec. 17.

The Coastal Zone waterfowl season opens on Oct. 5 and runs through Oct. 16; then re-opens Nov. 22 and runs through Jan. 8, 2017.

The sea duck season opens on Nov. 15 and runs through Jan. 13, 2017.

To hunt migratory birds, a resident must have a current regular NH hunting, combination or archery license. A non-resident must have a regular NH hunting, combination, archery or small game license. I questioned Fish and Game about the archery license component and was informed that there was no federal prohibition against using a bow and arrow to hunt waterfowl, so if you have a mind to, you can.

In addition, you must have a N.H. Migratory Waterfowl license, National Migratory Bird Harvest Information or “HIP” certification number to hunt ducks, geese, woodcock and snipe, and a Federal Duck Stamp with the hunter’s name signed across the face.

The Federal Duck Stamp can be purchased at many U.S. post offices, or if you don’t like lines, at Fish and Game Headquarters or the Fish and Game Region 2 Office in New Hampton. HIP numbers can be easily obtained by calling 1-800-207-6183 or going online at

Bob Washburn can be reached at

Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301


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