With an estimated herd of 85,000 deer and relatively mild winters in recent years, hunters can expect great deer hunting this fall.

“The 2013 deer season should be the best we’ve seen since 2007, when 13,339 deer were taken by hunters,” said Dan Bergeron, deer project leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. “The 2012-13 winter was mild, with the winter severity index, which measures the effects of winter on deer survival, tied the second lowest statewide average value since we began monitoring the deer herd in 1964.”

In most of the state, deer weren’t confined to wintering areas and were free to move about and take advantage of widespread food sources. Winter mortality was low and does came through the winter in good shape, so fawn production and survival were above average.

Regulation Changes
Despite recent mild winters, deer numbers are still below the department’s goals in many wildlife management units (WMUs). Limited either-sex hunting will continue in those areas, so hunters should carefully review the hunting regulations. In addition, remember that archery season closes Dec. 8 in WMU A. Special Unit M antlerless-only permits will again be available in 2013 to help control deer numbers in the southeast portion of the state, where the potential for deer-human conflicts is the highest. Like last year, 4,000 permits will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Hunters in the Granite State have a cornucopia of land open for public hunting – and plenty of mature deer to hunt.

“Approximately 55 percent of all antlered bucks are 2 ½-years old and over, so hunters have the opportunity to harvest mature bucks statewide,” added Bergeron.

Public Land
To bag an old buck, head to the White Mountains and farther North where the hunting pressure is light. You’l find lower deer densities, but you’ll also see fewer hunters after them.