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Hunting results indicate a growing, healthy deer herd in NH

[Ed. Note: More proof that hunting agencies *intentionally* increase deer populations]

December 15, 2012

From NashuaTelegraph.com

"We are still trying to increase the deer population, although some of the southern areas are nearing the goal,” Gustafson said.
 
Hunting results indicate a growing, healthy deer herd in NH
 
By DAVID BROOKS
Staff Writer
 
Last year’s mild winter was good for the state’s population of white-tailed deer, judging from preliminary results out of the fall hunting season, during which hunters found more – and bigger – deer than in recent years.
 
“As of Thanksgiving weekend, the estimated total kill based on registration stations was up about 3 percent from the same time last year,” said Kent Gustafson, a wildlife biologist with New Hampshire Fish and Game.
 
That sentiment was echoed at J-Don’s Variety, 1081 W. Hollis St., one of the local places where hunters check in and weigh their deer.
 
“We’ve had 418 (or) 421 registered, right around there,” said Jarrod Martin, store manager. “That’s the most we’ve had in the four years I’ve been doing this.”
 
Fish and Game estimates that New Hampshire had about 86,000 deer before the hunt. Usually, 10 percent to 15 percent of the herd is killed by hunters.
 
Preliminary data also indicates that the long decline in the number of New Hampshire hunters may have ended.
 
Although final figures won’t be known for a while, it appears that, for the third year in a row, the number of hunting licenses purchased in the state, both by in-state and out-of-state hunters, has risen slightly, said Sue Perry, licensing supervisor for Fish & Game.
 
New Hampshire sells around 60,000 hunting licenses a year, compared with more than 85,000 in the early 1990s. Most of the country has seen similar declines as an increasingly urban population does less hunting.
 
The four-week firearm season for deer is by far the most popular hunting season of the year. It ended Sunday .
 
The archery season for deer, which started in September, lasted a week longer, ending Saturday . The season for hunting deer with muzzle-loading firearms ran Nov. 3-13.
 
Final results for all of these seasons will be available next week using information at the state’s 80 official check stations, where hunters must register their kill and where carcasses are weighed and other information is compiled.
 
“Anecdotally, talking to the biologists that were at the stations, talking to hunters, it looks like the deer were in real good shape,” Gustafson said. “Quite a few bucks were taken that were above average, above 180-200 pounds, a lot of them with nice racks.”
 
At J-Don’s, Martin agreed.
 
“Some were massive,” he said. Weights have ranged from 65-220 pounds.
 
“You name it, we had all of them,” he said.
 
In the 2011 season, 11,167 deer were killed by hunters, up 14 percent from 2010 and the highest harvest since 2007.
 
The heavy winter of 2007-08 killed a lot of deer and led the state to trim hunting seasons to help the herd rebound.
 
“We are still trying to increase the deer population, although some of the southern areas are nearing the goal,” Gustafson said.
 
Fish and Game divides the state into wildlife management units, or WMUs. The WMU labeled M, which covers Nashua through the Seacoast, has so many deer that hunters are allowed to kill an extra doe there.
 
This fact has contributed to a shift in hunting in recent years from north to south in New Hampshire, which is also partly because of more hunters coming up from eastern Massachusetts as hunting limits are placed there.
 
Last year, more deer were registered at check stations in Hillsborough County than at any other county in the state.
 
J-Don’s charges $2 to register a deer and $2 to weigh it, but proceeds go to the autism foundation, Martin said.
 
“We have some customers who just give me a ‘10 spot’ and call it a day,” he said. “It’s for a good cause.”
 
David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashua telegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks’ blog on Twitter (@GraniteGeek).

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