Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally
ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer -
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENT WILDLIFE DIVISION
5 October 2017
AAs of October 5th, 388 bears (215 males, 173 females) have been reported to the bear project. Bait hunters have harvested 293 bears (166 males, 127 females), still hunters/stalkers have taken 71 bears (41 males, 30 females) and hound hunters have taken 24 bears (8 males, 16 females). The current overall harvest sex ratio remains 1.2 males per female. Method-specific harvest sex ratios include 1.3, 1.4 and 0.5 m:f for bait, still and hound hunters, respectively.
Regionally, 85 bears (38 males, 47 females) have been taken in the North, 103 (68 males, 35 females) in the White Mountains, 112 (60 males, 52 females) in the Central, 42 (23 males, 19 females) in Southwest-1, 44 (24 males, 20 females) in Southwest-2 and 2 (both males) in the Southeast region.
Below is a breakdown of the bear harvest through September 29th for the past 6 years. Currently, this year’s harvest is running 33% below the 5-year in-season average (575 bears) and 43% below the 2016 tally (675 bears) at this point in the season. These numbers remain preliminary and it is important to recognize that harvest numbers change quickly at this point in the season as there is a lag between the number of registration slips that have arrived to Concord and the actually number of bears taken. Also, 2017 represented a record state bear harvest (898 bears) and this year’s harvest is not expected to reach that level given the increased abundance of natural foods this fall.
The decrease in bear harvest this fall as compared to previous years is most likely due to both increased food abundance and abnormally warm fall weather. The excessive heat during latter September and early October has influenced both bear activity and hunter effort. In terms of mast, acorns produced in better abundance than expected, however, the beechnut crop is a little disappointing, particularly in the more northern part of the state. While beechnuts are present in most trees, a large percentage (upwards to 80%) of these nuts contain no viable “meat”. Apples and mountain ash berries remain abundant. In terms of harvest numbers, the current season is tracking very similar to that of 2013 when the total bear killed equaled 572.
The bait hunting portion of the season has ended statewide. Additionally, the entire bear hunting season has ended in the Southwest-2 and Southeast regions. The statewide (excluding the southernmost two regions) hound hunting season is open until November 7th. The still hunting season will end in the North and Southwest-1 regions on November 7th and in the Central and White Mountains regions on November 21st.
Please continue to submit all bear registration slips and premolars with deer data mailings during the remainder of the 2017 bear season. Thanks again for your assistance with registering bears this fall.
2017 IN-SEASON BEAR HARVEST TALLY COMPARED TO PREVIOUS 5 YEARS
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