New Hampshire Waterfowl and Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations

Migratory Bird Hunting Requirements in New Hampshire

When engaging in migratory bird hunting in New Hampshire, hunters should be aware of specific requirements for different species and the necessary permits and regulations. Here's a summary of the key requirements for various migratory bird species:


  • Ducks
  • Mergansers
  • Coot
  • Canada Geese (Sept.)
  • Canada Geese (Regular)
  • Snow Geese
  • Brant
  • Sea Ducks
  • Falconry
  • Woodcock
  • Common Snipe
  • Crow


  • HIP Permit: Hunters must possess a Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit.

  • Federal Stamp: A Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) is required.

  • Non-Toxic Shot: The use of non-toxic shot is mandatory for these species.

  • Firearm Plug: Firearms used for hunting these migratory birds must be equipped with a plug to limit the number of rounds it can hold.

Additionally, there is a special youth waterfowl season from September 23 to 24, 2023, allowing hunters aged 15 and younger to participate in advance of the regular season.

Migratory Bird Hunting Licensing Requirements

When it comes to hunting migratory birds in New Hampshire, hunters must adhere to specific licensing requirements. Here's what you need to know:

Resident Hunters

  • A resident hunter must possess a current Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination, or Archery License to hunt migratory birds.

Nonresident Hunters

  • Nonresident hunters must have a Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination, Archery, or a Small Game License to hunt migratory birds in New Hampshire.

Youth Hunters

  • Youth hunters under the age of 16 do not require a hunting license for migratory bird hunting. However, they must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult aged 18 or older.

Additional Requirements for Duck and Goose Hunters (16 and older)

  • Duck and goose hunters who are 16 years of age or older must have the following:

    • State Migratory Waterfowl License.
    • National Migratory Bird Harvest Information or "HIP" certification number, which is required to hunt ducks, geese, woodcock, and snipe.
    • Federal Duck Stamp with the hunter's name signed across the face. Federal Duck Stamps can be purchased at many U.S. Post Offices.

Snipe and Woodcock Hunters

  • Hunters pursuing snipe and woodcock do not need the state migratory waterfowl license or the federal duck stamp. However, they still need the HIP certification.

Obtaining HIP Certification

  • HIP applicants can obtain a HIP permit number at no cost by calling 1-800-207-6183 or by visiting the online licensing site at

Youth Waterfowl Weekend in New Hampshire

Young hunters aged 15 and under have a unique opportunity to participate in a special Youth Waterfowl Weekend on September 23-24, 2023, preceding the regular season. Here are the key details:


  • Hunters must be 15 years of age or younger to participate in the Youth Waterfowl Weekend.

  • Each youth hunter must be accompanied by an adult who is 18 years of age or older and holds a current hunting license.

Adult Supervision

  • While accompanying youth hunters, adults are not allowed to take waterfowl. Their role is to supervise and assist the young hunters during the weekend.

Hunting Regulations

  • Youth hunters are permitted to take waterfowl in accordance with the 2023–2024 N.H. migratory bird hunting regulations.

The Youth Waterfowl Weekend provides a great opportunity for young hunters to experience waterfowl hunting under the guidance of experienced adults. It's a wonderful way to introduce the next generation to the joys of outdoor hunting while ensuring compliance with hunting regulations.

Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations in New Hampshire

Hunting migratory birds in New Hampshire is subject to specific regulations to ensure responsible and lawful hunting practices. Here are the key regulations for migratory bird hunting:

Hunting Hours

  • Waterfowl, woodcock, snipe: Hunting hours are from ½ hour before sunrise to sunset.

Firearms and Ammunition Regulations

  • It is unlawful to hunt migratory game birds with the following:
    • Air rifle.
    • Shotgun larger than 10 gauge.
    • Shotgun capable of holding more than 3 rounds of ammunition (one in the chamber, and the magazine must be plugged to hold no more than 2 rounds).
  • Possession of shotgun shells containing lead shot is illegal while hunting migratory waterfowl (excluding woodcock or snipe). Bow and arrow may be used for migratory bird hunting.

Baiting and Motorboats

  • Placing bait or hunting over baited areas is prohibited.

  • It is unlawful to have a loaded firearm in a motorboat under power or to hunt from a motorboat or sailboat until all forward motion has ceased.

Sale of Mounted Migratory Game Birds

  • The sale of mounted migratory game birds is prohibited under USFWS federal regulation (50 CFR 20.91 (b)).

Crow Hunting

  • Crow hunting hours are from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.

  • No HIP (Harvest Information Program) is required for crow hunting.

  • Crows may be taken by firearms and bow and arrow.

  • Electronic calls may be used for crow hunting and during the special September goose season only.

Federal Regulations

  • In addition to state regulations, Federal rules apply to the taking, possession, shipping, transporting, and storing of migratory game birds. Hunters should consult Federal regulations, which can be found in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20. A link to these regulations is available at

Areas Closed to Waterfowl Hunting in New Hampshire

Waterfowl hunting enthusiasts should be aware that certain areas in the state are closed to waterfowl hunting. To access information about these closed areas, follow these options:

Contact the Fish and Game Office

  • You can obtain a list and description of closed areas throughout the state by contacting the Fish and Game office nearest to your location.

Write to N.H. Fish and Game Department

  • You can also request information about closed waterfowl hunting areas by writing to the N.H. Fish and Game Department at the following address:

    N.H. Fish and Game Department 11 Hazen Drive Concord, NH 03301

Visit the Website

  • Additionally, you can access information about closed waterfowl hunting areas on the official N.H. Fish and Game Department website. Visit for details.

New Hampshire Waterfowl and Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations

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.