New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff
New Hampshire Hunters Set a New Archery Deer Season Record.
The New Hampshire 2022 Deer Season saw a new record set by the state’s archery deer hunters with 4,498 deer taken with bows, breaking the old record set in 2013 of 3,937 by 14%. The 2022 archery season was up 28% from the 3,516 from 2021. New Hampshire’s deer herd is now more robust than ever before at over 100,000 estimated deer numbers, compared to about 40,000 deer in 1984 when only 120 deer were taken by bow. Not only have deer numbers grown nearly three times since the 1980’s but bow technology has vastly changed as well.
And the regular firearms New Hampshire deer hunters fared very well, despite the near lack of snow nearly statewide for the whole firearms season in November. In fact the 2022 take was the fourth highest by rifles at 7,064. The muzzleloader hunters slipped from 2,374 in 2021 to 2,133 in 2022, down 10%.
The 2022 deer season was exceptionally warm and dry, really hot some days, and the near statewide season-long snow drought made hunting tougher than most years. Yet, New Hampshire deer hunters missed the record of 14,204 set in 1967 by just 122 deer. A morning of snow would have taken care of that number no doubt. During the Youth Weekend Hunt, the youngsters took 387 deer compared to 297 in 2021.
Looking at the unofficial take by county provided right after the close of the archery season on December 15thshows Hillsborough County with an increase take of 69% from 2021 at 2,875 deer taken compared to 1,698 in 2021 and likely setting a record for the county as well. Three other counties produced significant in creases with Belknap County up 26% at 913 deer, Coos County up 27% at 825 deer and Grafton County at 2,103 deer up 19%. Four counties Merrimack, Rockingham, Strafford and Sullivan were all down a bit with Rockingham falling the most at 12% with 2,012 deer taken compared to 2,292 in 2021.
No doubt the Granite State is going into winter with a strong and healthy deer population. And let’s face it. This winter, despite the recent artic blast, is looking like another very mild winter as has been the case for the last decade or more. There’s a good chance that deer numbers for the 2023 season will be even more robust than ever. Look out old records!
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