CONCORD — Over 20,000 muzzleloader hunters are expected to take to New Hampshire’s woodlands during the upcoming muzzleloader deer season, which runs from October 31-November 10. Muzzleloaders are single barrel, single shot firearms which require the bullets, primer, and powder to be loaded through a muzzle each time before firing. Muzzleloaders harken back to pioneer days, but have become a popular sporting firearm in recent years.
“Deer hunting is very popular in New Hampshire,” according to Dan Bergeron, Deer Biologist and Game Program Supervisor at the NH Fish and Game Department. “People enjoy the opportunity to spend time in the field with friends and family. They also appreciate the high food value of venison, which is a naturally fed, free-range source of lean protein for thousands of New Hampshire families. Last year hunters harvested approximately 12,306 deer in our state. If you assume each deer provides 40 pounds of venison, and that each venison meal weighs 1 pound, that amounts to almost a half a million meals of venison enjoyed each year.”
Bergeron also notes that “New Hampshire’s eleven-day muzzleloader season is extremely popular among hunters because of its early timing, milder weather, and the high level of buck activity that happens leading up to the peak of breeding in mid- to late November.” In 2019, over 23,700 people bought licenses to hunt during the muzzleloader season for deer, and 2020 is on its way to matching last year’s participation rate with over 18,000 licenses already sold.
In New Hampshire, muzzleloader hunters are given eleven days prior to the opening day of the regular firearms season to hunt deer. Hunters must obtain a regular hunting license ($32.00 for residents; $113.00 for nonresidents) and a muzzleloader license ($16.00 for residents; $41.00 for non-residents).
“Hunters are reminded to maintain safety as their first priority,” said Bergeron. They are also urged to treat private landowners with respect, courtesy, and appreciation. “We are heavily dependent on the generosity of private landowners for hunting access in our state. We owe it to private landowners and our peers to treat private land with great respect. Without private land access, many hunters would be severely restricted in their hunting options.”
To learn more about hunting in New Hampshire, visit www.huntnh.com.