Small game and bear hunting seasons begins Friday

  • In this April 22, 2012 photo, a black bear grazes in a field in Calais, Vt. Toby Talbot

Monitor staff
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Autumn is on its way, and with it comes a flurry of hunting seasons in New Hampshire, starting Friday with gray squirrel season, the first of several small-game hunting seasons, as well as the start of bear-hunting season in parts of the state.

In two weeks, deer hunting kicks off with the beginning of archery season on Sept. 15. That will also see the start of the fall archery season for wild turkeys, which has become a very popular species for hunters since the birds were reintroduced to New Hampshire three decades ago.

Small animals such as squirrels and hare are popular with many hunters, but the focus for small game are certain game birds.

Ruffed grouse were the most popular small game species in New Hampshire last season, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game, accounting for 64 percent of hunter hours for small game, while woodcock accounted for 22 percent of hunter effort.

The state asks many hunters to participate in surveys, to help keep track of how species are doing.

The Small Game Hunter Survey and the Ruffed Grouse Wing and Tail Survey are conducted by the N.H. Fish and Game Department each year. It is based on grouse observation of birds as well as information on their breeding habits, based on grouses drumming and woodcocks establishing what is known as a singing ground.

“With a better understanding of small game populations, we hope to achieve improved management and provide enhanced opportunities for public enjoyment of New Hampshire’s small game species,” writes Small Game Project Leader Karen Bordeau.