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Hunting in New Hampshire

As a hunter, if your goal is to truly get in sync with Mother Nature, taking a trip to New Hampshire could prove to be a time well spent. Therefore, we have carefully compressed all the pertinent information that hunters ought to know before venturing to New Hampshire. They were carefully extracted from the various regulation links and the official website of the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game (NHDFG).

Hunting License in the State of New Hampshire (NH)

In all hunting and archery activities, hunters above 16 years old must have a valid hunting or archery license issued by the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game. For some game animals, additional hunting permits and stamps will be required.

How to obtain a Hunting License

Applicants mainly have three ways of buying a hunting license in New Hampshire. Firstly, the hunters can buy New Hampshire licenses or permits via the online portal. Additionally, this portal allows hunters to conduct a host of transactions such as reprinting of license; acquiring HIP permit; and Hike Safe card. All online transactions require the applicant or user to provide personal details in terms of residency proof (for NH residents) and hunter education certification. The payment panel allows for transactions to be conducted using Master and Visa Credit Cards.  After the type of license has been chosen and paid for, hunters must print out the license and append their signatures to it. Hunting Licenses that are not duly signed by holders are not valid.

Alternatively, persons interested in buying N.H. hunting can do so at any license agent or dealer in New Hampshire. Applicants are advised to call ahead in order to abreast themselves with the business hours as well as the payment modes of the license agent.

The third option comes using application forms. Hunters can download the various hunting license application forms by clicking on this link.

Note: N.H. hunting license or archery license can also be purchased at Wal-Mart shops in New Hampshire. However, you must be in possession of an NH Hunting License not acquired before 2000. Those without any sort of hunting proof in the department’s system cannot buy online or from Wal-Mart. Such persons must purchase their licenses at any licensed agents or NHDFG office.

The expiration dates for NH licenses are December 31 every year. And in cases of lost licenses, hunters can reprint the license online. Alternatively, they can get them from an agent or NHDFG office.

In all three options, buyers of New Hampshire Hunting License require an identification to do so. This ID can be a driver’s license or a social security number. Furthermore, new customers must have of Hunter Education or Bow certificate number. Therefore, persons without a hunter education certificate must duly complete the program.

There are no refunds for licenses purchased. Similarly, exchanges and transfers are not allowed.

The two main categories of Hunting License in New Hampshire are Resident Hunting License and Nonresident Hunting License.

Resident Hunting License

  • According to New Hampshire law, to be regarded as a legal resident the person must not claim residency in another U.S. state for any purpose.
  • To prove a residency status, the state requires the applicant to furnish any of the following tangible proofs: a valid New Hampshire driver’s license, utility bill, Social Security number or the Department of Safety issued non-driver picture identification.
  • Real estate owners of properties in New Hampshire who have residency status in another state don’t qualify as an NH resident.

Nonresident Hunting License

  • Any persons other than the above are regarded as nonresidents. These hunters are eligible for a nonresident hunting license. Again, additional licenses and permits may apply to a specific set of game animals.

Note: Regardless of the type of license or stamp, all hunters must carry on them their licenses when hunting. Hunters are mandated to produce their hunting license, or hunting gear, or vehicles for inspection upon request of the wildlife officers. Failure to do so, or refusal to do so, will attract disciplinary sanctions.

Eligibility Requirements for an NH Hunting License

Irrespective of the residency status, New Hampshire requires that all first-time license applicants provide either an NH Hunter Education Certification or an IHEA-USA approved Hunter Education Certification (the International Hunter Education Association). Generally, the course begins in late winter, running all the way to mid-fall. The Hunter Education classes in New Hampshire come in two formats: “traditional” hunter Education class and an online-based.

The traditional classroom option comprises 15-hour instructions and an array of ethical safety in the field of hunting. Ideally, it is advised that students who opt for this format are at least 12 years old.

The online session allows the student to complete it at his or her own discretionary pace. The minimum age requirement for the online hunter education course is 15 years. Upon finishing the course and passing the test, students have to attend a Field Day exercise. The students must come along with a field day voucher in order to take part in the Field Day. The most famous online study course provider is
New Hampshire accepts completed Hunter Education Certifications from other states or provinces in the U.S. that follow IHEA-USA (the International Hunter Education Association) standards. Equally, all U.S. states and provinces that have compulsory hunter education requirements allow the New Hampshire Hunter Education Certificate.

In both online and classroom formats, students must obtain a pass mark of 80%.

For more details about the various Education certifications as well as their fees in New Hampshire, please click on this link.

How much are a New Hampshire Hunting License and permit?

Resident hunting license and nonresident Hunting Licenses in New Hampshire have different fees and application requirements.  For more details about the fee of these licenses, please click this link.

Other forms Hunting Licenses in New Hampshire

Here are some common hunting licenses in the State of New Hampshire:

  • Apprentice Hunting Licenses are given once to residents and nonresident, age 16 or older, without a hunter education certification. To be eligible, the applicant must have never held an NH Hunting license. Also, they must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter 18 years or older. This guide will be held liable for any damage incurred by the apprentice during the entire hunting expedition.
  • Lifetime Licenses are available to residents only. Hunters can secure these licenses only at the at NHDFG’s Headquarters in Concord. Alternatively, hunters can secure them through the mail. Application forms are available at this link. Purchases are non-refundable. Persons with this license are eligible to hunt bear. Gift certificates for these licenses are also available.
  • Newborn Lifetime Combination Hunting and Fishing License allow the holder to redeem it upon his/her 16th birthday. The holder must have completed the Hunter Education prior to redeeming it. The maximum age for the newborn is one year.
  • Special Resident Milestone License are given to NH residents 68 years and older
  • Active Duty Military License: active duty military personnel who are NH residents stationed outside New Hampshire are eligible for this license. Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for NH hunting license. That is, proof of previously held license or hunter education certification is required.
  • Disabled Veterans Licenses: Both residents and nonresident veterans with physical disability are eligible for these licenses (fishing only or combination hunting and fishing license). Holders of this license do not have to renew it every year.

Note: Most of the above licenses are not available online or from license agents in New Hampshire. They can only be obtained at NHDFG’s Headquarters in Concord or by mailing your application documents to:

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
ATTN: Licensing
11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

Enclosed in your package must be the completed form along with copies of ID and hunting license or a hunter education certificate.

For more details about other notable Hunting Licenses and permits in New Hampshire, please visit this link. Persons interested in venturing into the hunting guide and outfitting business in New Hampshire must obtain the Guide License Application form.

Places to Hunt in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, the places to hunt can be categorized into state, federal, municipal, county and private lands. The state allows hunting on most of those lands unless otherwise stated. The total acreage of Federal lands is about 751,000. The state lands comprise 117 state forest, 41 state parks, 63 tracts, and 100 wildlife management areas. In total, the Department of Resources and Economic Development has about 201,513 acres of land under its possession. Most of them are opened to the public for hunting. The NHDFG Department alone has access to over 53,000 acres of Wildlife Management Areas.  Notable areas are the Ellis R. Hatch Jr. WMAFort Hill WMA, and Mount Kelsey WMA. All these areas are famous for migratory waterfowl, moose, deer, bear, coyote, and turkeys. Readers can explore a list of all these Wildlife Management Areas by clicking on this link.

Hunters must take cognizance of all the pertinent WMA rules that prevail over those areas.

Most of these places can be observed using the NHDFG Topographic Map online. There are also specific maps of Wildlife Management units that contain bear, moose and deer.

In addition to the above places, private lands in New Hampshire open their doors to the public for hunting. This is very important considering the fact that about 70% of the forestland in New Hampshire belongs to private people. Most of these lands can be accessed by the public, provided they seek permission from the owners. The state has several mouthwatering incentives under the Landowner Relations program that make private owners want to open their lands to the public. Hunters are mandated to first obtain a written or verbal permission of the landowner. Not doing so will result in the hunter being charged for trespassing. And even after securing permission, hunters must obey the ground rules and regulations of the property.

Note: If private owners don’t charge an admission fee for use of their property, they shall be protected from liability by New Hampshire law.

General Hunting Regulations in New Hampshire

Below are some noteworthy regulations that govern hunting activities in New Hampshire. They were carefully collated from the state’s Hunting digest.

  • Hunter cannot tag, steal, take or carry a dead animal that he/she did not kill.
  • Hunters are prohibited from shooting or discharging a firearm/bow and arrow within 300 feet of an inhabited building or commercial building.
  • Artificial lighting cannot be used while hunting.
  • Every bait site requires a baiting permit. Visit this link to apply for them.
  • Hunters cannot place baits without submitting copies of the bait permit and map to the NHDFG Department headquarters in Concord.
  • With the exclusion of N.H. Hunting Guide, no hunter can have more than 2 active baits.
  • Hunters must tag bears taken off commercial sites.
  • Baits cannot be placed for turkey, migratory waterfowl and moose.
  • Firearms cannot be discharged within the 15 feet of traveled public highways.
  • Hunters cannot enter posted private land without the permission of the owner. They must also leave when requested.
  • Prior to the use of tree stands and blinds, hunters must obtain written permission from the landowner.
  • Drones or remotely operated unmanned aircraft is prohibited.
  • Motorized vehicle such as aircraft, motor vehicle and snowmobiles cannot be used for hunting.
  • The use of Full-jacketed metal case bullets is forbidden.
  • The hunting hours for game animals in New Hampshire shall be from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Note: Due to the sheer number of regulations and specific details pertaining to hunting in New Hampshire, perusing N.H. Hunting digest would not be a misplaced exercise. Alternatively, readers can visit this link. The state does not take lightly to hunters who breach any N.H. laws and regulations. Hunters can lose their hunting privileges or be fined or imprisoned.

Hunting Seasons in New Hampshire

Below are some general hunting seasons for major game species in the State of New Hampshire:

Deer Hunting Seasons

Dear seasons in New Hampshire are Deer Archery, Deer Muzzleloader, Deer Firearms and Youth Deer Weekend Seasons. The Deer Archery Season runs from fall to the beginning of winter. The Muzzleloader Season often occurs in the latter part of fall. Firearms Season occurs from the end of fall to the beginning of winter. In New Hampshire, all hunted deer must be registered at a check station within 24 hours. Hunters are advised to visit this link to view current deer maps, checks stations, legal firearms and bows, and bag limits.

Turkey Seasons

Turkeys have two main seasons. The Spring Gobbler Season occurs for a relatively short period. It occurs in the end of spring. The Fall Turkey Archery Season can be a bit more extensive and can span from fall to winter.  The state forbids the use of the rifle, dogs, live decoys and electronic calling devices to hunt turkeys. And all bows used must be at least 30-pound pull bow. Hunters must register their turkeys within 24 hours at any check station in New Hampshire.

Bear Seasons

More often than not, the bear season in N.H. begins in fall. Hunters are allowed to use bait to hunt bears. N.H. has over 6,100 bears. There are primarily three main seasons: Stalking (general), Dog and Baiting bear seasons. Mostly, all the three seasons occur from the beginning of fall to the mid of fall. In addition to a valid N.H. Hunting license, hunters need a Bear License and valid bear tag. The hunting hours for bears shall be from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Chocolate and cocoa derivatives of any form must not be used to bait bears.

For more details about this season, please consult this link. Alternatively, hunters can peruse N.H. Hunting Digest to view the various management units and regulations surrounding bear hunting in the state.

Small Game Mammals Seasons

Small game mammals that can be hunted in New Hampshire are ruffed grouse, pheasant, quail, woodcock, cottontail rabbit, European partridge, chukar and gray squirrel. The season often occurs from fall to the beginning of spring. Please visit this link or go through official N.H. Hunting Digest to view specific details relating to current dates and bag limits for these small game animals.

Waterfowl and Migratory Birds Hunting Seasons

The game animals under this category are duck and geese, merganser, coots, sea ducks, Canada Geese, Snow Geese and brant. To view up-to-date information related to the migratory birds regulations, maps, season dates, bag limits, and hunting zones, please visit this link.

Hunters can hunt waterfowl from the beginning of fall to mid-winter. There is also a special youth waterfowl season that occurs in early fall.  Hunters require a Migratory Waterfowl License plus a Federal Waterfowl Stamp in order to hunt waterfowl in New Hampshire. The hunting hours for waterfowl shall be from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

All hunters must have on them a National Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit number in order to hunt migratory birds in New Hampshire. The information given by hunters to authorities allows them to properly manage the bird populations in the state.

Furbearers Season

Examples of furbearers in the State are mink, Weasel, Fisher, Red and Gray Fox, Skunk, Opossum, Raccoon, Bobcat, Lynx, Pine Marten, muskrat and coyote. The seasons for coyote and fisher occur in winter. For red and gray foxes, raccoon and opossum, hunters can hunt them in both mid-winter and fall. Hunters can get information pertaining to bag limits and revised season dates for all furbearers in the state from N.H. Hunting Digest and this link.

Youth Hunting Seasons

In New Hampshire, there is no minimum age for this season. However, all hunters under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter 18 years or older. Persons under the age of 16 require a hunter education certificate. An adult hunter cannot carry a firearm at any time. Must be in close proximity and contact with the youth. The seasons are Youth Hunting bear, pheasant, deer, waterfowl and turkey seasons.

New Hampshire has the Special Youth Hunting Weekends that is open to both resident and nonresident youth. Interested hunters in Youth seasons can visit this link to find out more about the various Youth Hunting Seasons and dates.

For more dates and details about the above game seasons in New Hampshire, please visit this link.

Hunting Guides & Outfitters in New Hampshire

In every hunting sport and outdoor activity, guides and outfitters’ roles are indispensable. They offer services and equipment that prove very beneficial for both amateur and experienced hunters alike. Below is a short compilation of some of the hunting guides and outfitters in New Hampshire:

** Outfitters that offer lodging and accommodation facilities.

Accommodation for Hunters in New Hampshire

The following are some possible hotels that can accommodate hunters in the Granite State:

Christmas Farm Inn and Spa
3 Blitzen Way, Jackson, NH 03846, USA
Telephone: 603-383-4313

Governor’s Inn & Restaurant
78 Wakefield St, Rochester, NH 03867, USA
Telephone: 603-332-0107

Tilton Inn
255 Main St, Tilton, NH 03276, USA
Telephone: 603-286-7774

The Bernerhoff Inn
342 US-302, Glen, NH 03838, USA
Telephone: 603-383-4200

Royalty Inn
130 Main St, Gorham, NH 03581, USA
Telephone: 603-466-3312

Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa
101 Mountain View Rd, Whitefield, NH 03598, USA
Telephone: 603-837-2100

45 Stewart Young Road, Pittsburg, NH 03592, USA
Telephone: 603-538-6659

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Would I be able to purchase a newborn hunting license for my 3-month-old baby girl? I am a resident, but my daughter’s father isn’t.

A. Yes. This New Born Hunting License requires that at least one of the parents be an N.H. resident.

Q. Does New Hampshire have an apprentice license? And how many times can it be purchased?

A. Yes, the state has an apprentice license that can be acquired once in a person’s lifetime.  The New Hampshire Apprentice Licenses have the same fees as the regular resident and non-resident licenses. These licenses are not available at license agents or online. They can be bought only at N.H. Department of Fish and Game Headquarters in concord or by mail.

Note: Non-residents of the state are also eligible for apprentice hunting licenses.
Similarly, the guide/mentor doesn’t have to be a resident. So long as the guide is licensed and 18 or above you are safe.

Q. Can I use dogs to hunt in New Hampshire?

A. Dogs are allowed on lands managed by agencies other than State Parks of the Division of Parks and Recreation. For more information about hunting with dogs in New Hampshire, please click on this link.


The New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game religiously thrives for a well-conserved and managed habitat. It does not flinch at encouraging people to step outside into the wild. Also, hunters in the state rarely worry about land availability. This is because the state has an excellent partnership with private landowners. Their properties are readily available to hunters, so long as they obey the rules of the property.

We fervently hope that the above extract serves both veteran hunters and novice hunters well when the time comes to explore New Hampshire.

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