New Hampshire Bear Hunting Laws and Regulations

Licensing Requirements

Bear hunting in New Hampshire offers three seasons: stalking (“general”), dog season, and baiting season. No lottery is required, and hunters can conveniently purchase a Bear License online or from any license agent.

Adult Hunters (Age 16 and Older)

  • Must possess a valid Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination, or Archery License.
  • Need a Bear License and valid tag to hunt black bear.

Youth Hunters (Under 16 Years)

  • Do not need a Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination, or Archery License.
  • Require a Bear License and valid tag to hunt black bear.

Hunting Hours

Hunting hours for bear in New Hampshire are from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.

Reporting and Registration

Successful bear hunters have new options for reporting their harvest:

  • Hunters must exhibit the bear, with reproductive organs attached, to a Conservation Officer, Fish and Game personnel, or a specified registration station within 24 hours.
  • To register with a Conservation Officer, call 603-271-3361 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to arrange a time for registration.
  • A list of available bear registration stations and Department facilities will be available by September 1, 2023, through the NH Fish and Game Department at 603-271-2461 or by visiting
  • Hunters may process bears before registration but must present specific parts of the bear for inspection, including the entire carcass, legs and feet, intact skull, hide, and sex organs, including teats from females.
  • Hunters may be required to take a Conservation Officer to the kill site.

Methods of Take

Black bear may only be taken by the following methods:

  • Firearms larger than .22 rimfire
  • Shotgun loaded with a single ball
  • Muzzleloader not less than .40 caliber
  • Bow and arrow
  • Crossbow and bolt


  • Archers and crossbow hunters must have their name and address on arrows and bolts.
  • Fixed blade broadheads cannot be less than 7⁄8 inches wide and not more than 1½ inches wide.
  • Retractable blade broadheads are permitted (must be not less than 7⁄8 of an inch wide when open).
  • Minimum draw weight for hunting bear with bow and arrow is 40 lbs.
  • Crossbows are a legal method of take for bear and must meet the requirements in the Crossbows section in Deer Hunting Regulations.

Baiting Bear

On Private Land

  • A Permit to Bait Wildlife and map of the bait site must be received by the Wildlife Division, N.H. Fish and Game (11 Hazen Drive, Concord, N.H. 03301), or be postmarked by the first Monday in August.
  • No more than 2 bait sites allowed, except for licensed N.H. Hunting Guides.
  • Baiting permit applications available at Fish and Game offices or online at
  • Special regulations apply to baiting on state-owned lands, managed lands, and the White Mountain National Forest.
  • No baiting allowed from April 15 to August 31 (inclusive).

Hunting Bear with Dogs

  • A free Take Bear With Dogs Permit is mandatory for bear hunting with hounds.
  • Only nonresidents from states or provinces/territories of Canada allowing dog training or taking bear with dogs may bring dogs into N.H. for such purposes.
  • Permits are available online at and must be presented to the N.H. Fish and Game Department prior to taking a bear with dogs.
  • Hunters using dogs must present this permit at the time of registration.

Unlawful Activities

It is unlawful to:

  • Hunt bear with a .22 or smaller rimfire firearm, or a shotgun loaded with any ammunition other than a single ball.
  • Take more than one bear in a calendar year.
  • Buy, sell, or offer for sale a bear or any part thereof, other than the head, hide, or feet.
  • Possess a bear that hasn’t been properly tagged.
  • Hunt bear on any islands or in the waters of any lake or pond in the state.
  • Use telemetry equipment to locate hounds within 300 feet of a public way.
  • Establish or hunt over bait containing chocolate or any cocoa derivative. White chocolate may be used.
Wild Advisor Pro


The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.