Bird Hunting in New Hampshire

bird hunting new Hampshire

There are many opportunities for bird hunting in New Hampshire.

Beauty and diversity mark the landscape of the Granite State, from the White Mountains to the river valleys of the south. Hardcore bird hunters looking for wild ruffed grouse in native habitat will find them in the North Country. Check out upland hunting films that feature New Hampshire including The Experience, Partridge Country, Searching-A New England Bird Hunting Tale, and parts of First Season.

Small Game SpeciesDatesDaily/season LimitsUnit Restrictions
Ruffed GrouseOct 1 – Dec 31, 20194/noneNone
American WoodcockOct 1 – Nov 14, 20193/9 PossessionNone
PheasantOct 1 – Dec 31, 20192/10None
SnipeSept 15 – Nov 14, 20198/24 PossessionNone
Cottontail RabbitOct 1 – Jan 31, 20202/none*See Map Below
Snowshoe HareOct 1 – March 31, 20203/noneA, B, C1, C2, D1, D2, E, F, G, J1
Snowshoe HareOct 1 – March 31, 20202/noneH1, H2, I1, I2, J2, K, L, M
Eastern Gray Squirrel Sept 1 – Jan 31, 20205/noneNone
Spring Turkey SeasonMay 1 – May 31, 20191/2 (male)Second Spring turkey can only be taken in zones H1, H2, J2, K, L, or M
Fall Shotgun TurkeyOct 15 – 21, 20191 (either sex)Season only open in D2, G, H1, H2, I1, I2, J1, J2, K, L, M.
Fall Archery TurkeySept 15 – Dec 15, 20191 (either sex) WMUs B-M
Fall Archery Turkey Sept 15 – Dec 8, 2019 1 (either sex) WMU A
Quail, Chukar, HunsOct 1 – Dec 31, 20194/noneNone

Ruffed Grouse

Without a doubt, the Ruffed Grouse is the most popular of all the upland hunting species while bird hunting in New Hampshire. The northern parts of the state are a mecca for active New England logging operations and they provide phenomenal habitat for the ruffed grouse. Overgrown abandoned farms litter the southern part of the state, making for some great pocket covers.

The ruffed grouse season runs from October 1 to December 31 with a daily bag limit of 4.

A wirehaired pointing griffon with a ruffed grouse in New Hampshire during the making of “First Season.”

American Woodcock

American woodcock is another phenomenal upland species to go after while bird hunting in New Hampshire. Some parts of the state hold both residents of this species and massive migration routes. This makes for some of the best days of bird hunting in New Hampshire.

The American Woodcock season runs from October 1 through November 14 with a daily bag limit of 3.

(Governed by federal migratory bird laws. HIP survey required)

The Ring-necked Pheasant

Pheasant hunting is without a doubt a major American pastime. While bird hunting in New Hampshire, you will find no shortage of pheasant hunting. Although wild birds are few and far between (some credit this to harsh winters), there are many stocking sites that will give you good bird hunting in the state; New Hampshire’s website for stocking locations lists 53 locations.

An additional hunting license of $31, however, is required for hunting pheasant in New Hampshire.

The ring-necked pheasant season runs from October 1 to December 31. The daily bag limit is 2 with a 10 season limit.

Rabbit Hunting in New Hampshire

The state of New Hampshire offers opportunities to hunt two separate species of rabbit, the cottontail rabbit and the snowshoe hare. Snowshoe hare has becoming increasingly popular in the North Country with recent growth in the overall population and is a travel destination for many hardcore rabbit hunters. With plenty of overlap during upland bird season, they make for great opportunistic targets (and meals) for those of us who do not discriminate against fur.

The above shaded areas are restricted for rabbit hunting in New Hampshire. Check here for the latest updates: https://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/hunting/small-game-cottontail.html

Squirrel Hunting in New Hampshire

Eastern gray squirrel populations are thriving in New Hampshire and the opportunities for mixed bag are greatly increased with the addition of these treetop dwellers.

The statewide season runs from September 1 to January 2020 with a daily limit of 5. Great way to keep those versatile dogs working in any part of the state for a longer season.

A hunter with a Eastern wild turkey jake taken in New Hampshire.

Turkey Hunting in New Hampshire

The Eastern wild turkey populations are very healthy in certain parts of New Hampshire. As of 2019, the use of shot sizes #2 and above “accommodates the use of modern, heavier than-lead loads that utilize a blend of shot sizes.” An example being the Federal TSS Loads. You can use a 10 gauge to a 20 gauge and archery with a minimum draw weight of 30 lbs.

2019 also brought the ability to shoot a second Spring turkey in zones H1, H2, J2, K, L, or M (male only). New Hampshire also offers a Fall turkey season for archery and and shotgun season which allows the taking of either sex turkey.

For more detailed information of the laws and regulations for turkey hunting in New Hampshire check out the state website.

Other Bird Hunting New Hampshire Species

Although there are seasons for northern bobwhite quail, chukar, and Hungarian partridge, there are no naturally occurring populations. You can often find them next to private preserves as a result of pen-raised releases for private bird hunting in New Hampshire operations. The bag limits are governed by the same laws as ruffed grouse hunting. There is a daily limit of 4 birds, running from October 1 to December 31.

Conservation and Non-Profit Organizations for New Hampshire Bird Hunting

North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA)

Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society

The New Hampshire Hunters Safety Course

The state of New Hampshire requires a hunters safety course certificate to purchase a hunting license. They also offer a Mentor License Program for one year in which you must hunt with a fully licensed hunter. After the first year, the hunters safety certificate is required for a second year purchase. The New Hampshire course can be completed partially online and followed up with a field day. To find out more, check out the New Hampshire Hunter Safety Course.

The bird hunting season dates, game bird species available, and other information is subject to change and may not be reflected in this article. Please visit the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department for the most up to date information on bird hunting in New Hampshire. 

Last modified: June 29, 2019

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