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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
eorff@aol.com

Hunting

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENT WILDLIFE DIVISION

24 September 2021
Bear Season Update #1

As of September 21st, 305 bears (181 males, 124 females) have been reported to the bear project.  Bait hunters have harvested 249 bears (139 males, 110 females), still hunters/stalkers have taken 55 bears (41 males, 14 females) and hound hunters have registered 1 male bear.  The current overall harvest sex ratio is 1.5 males per female.  Method-specific harvest sex ratios include 1.2 and 2.9 m:f for bait and still hunters, respectively.

Regionally, 83 bears (47 males, 36 females) have been taken in the North, 68 (39 males, 29 females) in the White Mountains, 73 (37 males, 36 females) in the Central, 31 (21 males, 10 females) in Southwest-1, 48 (36 males, 12 females) in Southwest-2 and 2 (one of each sex) in the Southeast region. 

Below is a breakdown of the bear harvest through September 21th for the past 6 years. Currently, this year’s harvest is significantly below both the 2020 level (815 bears; -62%) and 5-year average (591 bears; -48%) at this point in the season.  It should be recognized that comparison to the 2021 bear season may be somewhat misleading given the record high harvest that occurred in that year.  The conditions (i.e., weather, drought, and natural food abundance) that occurred in 2020 which influenced that year’s harvest have only occurred approximately once every decade. 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 may 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 have produced moderate or better crops.  There appears to be a strong red oak crop in many areas which is noteworthy given that oak has produced a strong crop 4 of the last 5 years.   Apples and beechnuts are present, but production appears variable by area.  Additional mast assessments are necessary to determine overall conditions with confidence.  Additionally, the male-biased harvest sex ratio (1.5 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 North, Southwest-1, Southwest-2 and Southeast regions on September 28th.  Baiting in the White Mountains and Central regions ends October 5th.  The statewide (excluding the southernmost two regions) hound hunting season opened on September 20th.

Thank you to everyone for promptly submitting registration slips.  Please continue to submit all bear registration slips and premolars with deer data mailings during the rest of the 2021 bear season.  Thanks again for your continued effort. 

2021 IN-SEASON BEAR HARVEST TALLY COMPARED TO PREVIOUS 5 YEARS
AS OF 09/21/21 AS TALLIED ON 9/24/21

Year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Date SUM SUM SUM SUM SUM SUM
9/21 571 366 703 500 815 305

 

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