Bowhunting NH Deer

Perhaps one of the toughest animals to hunt with Bow and Arrow is the Whitetail Deer. Here in New Hampshire it is even harder as the deer population density is lower than in many other states. Deer per square mile ranges from 4/sq mile in the North Country up to more than 20 per square mile along the seacoast. Much of the seacoast land is posted but you can ask permission. All they can say is no! Of course you are hunting in and around homes and woodlots. The deer I show on the cover was taken not far from my home in Plaistow, NH.

The season begins September 15th and Closes December 15th according to NHFG at 

Special Permits are still being taken (see the website above.

I have scouted in the North Country and finding deer sign regularly but here we are talking about 4-7 deer per square mile. The reason to hunt here however is that there are few houses and lots of land. Further, there is a mystery to hunting wild places. Today there is a movement to hunt with ATV’s of all sizes up north. 

These ATV’s are big kids toys for those that can afford it. A good 4WD vehicle can get you mostly to where these ATV’s go. The big plus for ATV’s is to be able to get your deer out of the woods too.

Back to Bowhunting; Today’s successful Bowhunter’s rely on scouting and knowledge of deer movement patterns and deer densities.

Reading deer sign is still the most sought after skill and is a work in progress as the season progresses toward the rut. The rut here in NH peaks around mid November and begins in September.  As each day passes the bucks will gather in small groups in September. Some sparring will begin and in October the bucks increase aggression toward one another knowing that mating season is almost upon them.

By mid October scrapes and tree rubbing are evident and the first doe is in estrous and can be mated. This is perhaps the best time to bow-hunt when the rut is not yet in full swing. Bucks during this time frame are vulnerable because they are eager to mate and come to calls and smells and remain out on the trails during the daylight.

If you are tree-stand hunting your scent is above the ground and chances are better that you will see game that is not spooked by human scent. Most bowhunter’s spend many hours in tree stands so be safe and be harnessed in to prevent falls.

Smell is the most important of all senses that a deer has in its defense. Hearing is second and Seeing is third. So if you don’t smell and have good woods skills, to keep walking sounds to a minimum, your chances increase greatly in seeing game.

I was in my tree stand for just minutes when I called that buck in with a doe bleat call. At 20 yards it was a good shot with a fixed blade Muzzy head.

Today you need to be aware that coyotes can smell blood and body gases from your dead deer so retrieval ASAP is key. New England Coyotes Canis Latrans Var. are one third wolf and are larger than their southern and western cousins and have larger jaws and muscles to eat deer.

For Hunter Education please see NHFG site below.

Good Hunting! © 2014



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About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.