Either-Sex Hunts, Antlerless Tags Among Proposals

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will hold a series of public hearings on proposed rules setting the state’s hunting seasons for 2014 and 2015.

By law, wildlife season-setting rules are reviewed every two years. Hearings will be held on the following dates:

—March 31 – Keene High School 6:30-9 p.m.
—April 2 – Fish and Game Region 1 Office in Lancaster, 6:30-9 p.m.
—April 3 – N.H. Fish and Game Department, Concord, 6:30-9 p.m.

The complete rule-making notice, with original and proposed rule language, can be viewed at http://www.wildnh.com/Legislative/Notices_summary.htm.

Written comments must be received by April 10, 2014. Send to: comments@wildlife.nh.gov (use subject line “Comments on Wildlife Rules”); or write to Executive Director, N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; or fax to 603-271-1438.

After considering public comment, the Wildlife Division will present the final rule package to the Fish and Game Commission at its April 16 meeting. The rules then go before the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR) at the State Legislature for approval. The new rules for 2014-15 will be reflected in the new N.H. Hunting and Trapping Digest, which is published in August.

Among the changes proposed in the wildlife rule package are the following:

DEER: The number of either-sex days during the muzzleloader and regular firearm seasons would be increased in several wildlife management units (WMUs). In addition, 4,000 special unit M antlerless only permits would be available, each with 2 tags; and 500 special unit L antlerless only permits would be available, each with 1 tag. To view a chart showing how WMU-specific either-sex hunting days would change, visithttp://www.huntnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q1/Wildlife_rules.html.

Proposals to increase either-sex and antlerless hunting opportunity will be evaluated in light of winter severity.

Seasons would be established for the taking of deer with the aid and use of bait with the season in WMU M, where the deer population is above goal, running from Sept. 15 through Dec. 15. The deer baiting season in WMUs near goal (A, B, D2W, G1, H1, H2, J1, J2, K and L) would run from the first Wednesday in November through the third Wednesday in November, and the deer baiting season in WMUs where the population is below goal (C1, C2, D1, D2E, E, F, G2, I1 and I2) would be closed to taking deer with the aid and use of bait.

MOOSE: The number of permits to be offered in the N.H. moose hunt lottery during 2014 and 2015 would be reduced from 275 to 124. The decrease in permits is designed to offset increased natural mortality and decreased reproduction and should allow the population to grow (a three-year study is currently underway to learn more about increased moose mortality in New Hampshire).

The Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire would be allowed to auction up to two permits (previously five) and there will be one Hunt of a Lifetime moose permit (previously up to two). For a comparison of past and proposed moose permit allocation by region, visit http://www.huntnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q1/Wildlife_rules.html. The proposals would also prohibit the taking of moose with the aid and use of bait.

To view a presentation with additional background about the development of the proposed 2014 Wildlife Rules, visit http://www.huntnh.com/Newsroom/2014/Q1/Wildlife_rules.html.