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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
nhfishandwildlif@aol.com

Hunting

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENT WILDLIFE DIVISION

18 September 2019
Bear Season Update #1

As of September 16th, 131 bears (76 males, 55 females) have been reported to the bear project.  Bait hunters have harvested 82 bears (50 males, 32 females) and still hunters/stalkers have taken 49 bears (26 males, 23 females).  The current harvest sex ratio is 1.4 males per female.  Method-specific harvest sex ratios include 1.6 and 1.1 m:f for bait and still hunters, respectively. 

Regionally, 19 bears (13 males, 6 females) has been taken in the North, 29 (20 males, 9 females) in the White Mountains, 30 (20 males, 10 females) in the Central, 18 (7 males, 11 females) in Southwest-1, 32 (14 males, 18 females) in Southwest-2 and 3 (2 males, 1 female) in the Southeast region. 

Below is a breakdown of the bear harvest through September 16th for the past 6 years.  Currently, this year’s harvest is running 68% below the 5-year in-season average (408 bears) and 78% below the 2018 tally (596 bears) at this point in the season.  It should be recognized that comparison to the 2018 bear season is somewhat arbitrary given the very high harvest that occurred in that year.  This year’s harvest is expected to be relatively similar to levels typically achieved during years with abundant natural food.  Additionally, these numbers are very 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 actual number of bears taken.  The harvest trend seen to date is expected to change considerably in the coming weeks, particularly as increased slips are received.

Biologists are currently in the process of assessing fall mast crops, and it appears that most species produced strong crops.  Species that are particularly noteworthy include choke cherry, apples, mountain ash and red oak.  There also appears to be a good beechnut crop but more assessments are required to determine the full extent of that crop.  Additionally, the male-biased harvest sex ratio ( 1.4 males per female) achieved to date suggests decreased harvest vulnerability which generally occurs during years of abundant mast.   These trends will become more evident as the season progresses.

The bait hunting portion of the season will end in the Southwest-1, Southwest-2 and Southeast regions on September 21st.  Baiting in the North and Central regions ends on September 28th.  Baiting in the White Mountains region ends October 5th.  The statewide (excluding the southernmost two regions) hound hunting season starts September 23rd.

Thank you to everyone for promptly submitting registration slips.  Please continue to submit all bear registration slips and premolars on the scheduled bear mail-in dates (September 21) and subsequently with deer data mailings during the rest of the 2019 bear season.  Thanks again for your continued effort.  

2019 IN-SEASON BEAR HARVEST TALLY COMPARED TO PREVIOUS 5 YEARS
 
AS OF 09/16/19 AS TALLIED ON 9/16/19
 
YEAR
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
DATE
SUM
SUM
SUM
SUM
SUM
SUM
7-Sep
182
155
194
120
237
103
16-Sep
397
315
443
290
596
131

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