November 9th marks the beginning of deer hunting season with regular firearms here in New Hampshire. For many of our friends and neighbors, this is a time to participate in a time-honored tradition.
The relationship between hunting, fishing, and conservation is deeper than some might think. Hunters and fishermen and women were some of the nation’s first land conservation advocates, and, historically, conservation programs tied to the harvesting of wild game brought many species back from the brink of extinction. Today, hunting and fishing license fees provide vital funding for conservation programs in New Hampshire.
Below are some safety tips for both hunters and hikers on how to responsibly enjoy and make use of conserved land during hunting season.
Tips for Hunters and Anglers
Most of the 23,000 acres of conserved land we oversee are private properties on which we hold conservation easements. As with all land in New Hampshire, these conserved properties are open for hunting unless otherwise posted. If the land is posted, you must get written permission from the landowner to hunt or fish there. Even if land isn’t posted, it is always a best practice to ask for permission from the landowner. Here are some tips on that process;
Although it is our policy not to share private landowner information for our conserved properties, you can usually find an owner’s name and a mailing address in the public property tax records of the town office.
When approaching a landowner for permission, be polite and treat them as you would want to be treated. It is recommended you visit them wearing your normal clothes, not your hunting gear, and definitely not with a firearm. They might say no, and it’s important to respect their decision. Remember, you can’t know why they are turning down your request, and it’s possible they have already granted use to another group of hunters.
Always seek permission in writing. Once you have written permission, follow all recommended safety guidelines listed below.
Monadnock Conservancy-owned Land
Unless otherwise posted, hunting and fishing are allowed on most of the 2,200 acres that the Monadnock Conservancy owns outright. We only ask that you follow standard safety guidelines, including:
Follow all state and federal rules and regulations, including having a valid hunting or fishing license.
Wear orange and other safety gear, as appropriate.
Hunt and load and unload firearms at safe distances and pointing away from trails, other recreational infrastructure, and other property users.
Do not damage or remove trees or brush.
Use “hang-on” or “ladder” tree stands, and do not screw anything into trees.
Install stands no sooner than one week prior to the start of deer season and remove them no later than one week after the end of the season.
Do not bait or feed wildlife.
Find other places for recreational or target shooting.
Tips for Hikers
There is little reason to be fearful when hiking during hunting season. Statistically, you are much more likely to be hurt in an accident driving to the trail than by a hunter. We do, however, recommend the following precautions to keep you safe this hunting season:
Know the calendar. In New Hampshire, deer hunting season with regular firearms begins November 9th and runs until December 4th. Click here for a full list of dates for New Hampshire’s hunting seasons.
Wear brightly colored clothes, and, if you’re hiking with pets, get them a brightly colored vest. Orange is the best color; avoid earth tones.
Keep pets leashed on all Monadnock Conservancy conserved land.
Avoid hiking at dusk and dawn. These are the prime times for hunters, when wildlife are the most active.
Stick to the trails! Most hunters will avoid trails for safety reasons and because deer tend to avoid areas with high levels of human activity.
Speaking of noise, make it! We don’t mean blasting your favorite song, but having a conversation on your hike (or humming a tune) is a great way to make your presence known.
Read signs at trailheads. Most hikes will have information posted on whether hunting is permitted.
Visit the New Hampshire Fish and Game website for more tips!
At Monadnock Conservancy, our donors make it possible to conserve land for hunters, hikers, and anyone who wants to enjoy the beautiful land of the Monadnock region. Join us!