Overview of Small Game Hunting in New Hampshire

Small game hunting in New Hampshire encompasses a variety of species, including ruffed grouse, pheasant, quail, Hungarian/European partridge, chukar, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, gray squirrel, and migratory game birds, including waterfowl (refer to Waterfowl/Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons & Bag Limits for details on waterfowl hunting).

Licensing Requirements

For residents and nonresidents interested in hunting small game, the following licensing requirements apply:

  • Residents: A resident must possess a current Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination, or Archery License to hunt small game. Note that turkey is classified as large game.

  • Nonresidents: Nonresidents must hold either a Regular N.H. Hunting, Combination, or Archery License or a Small Game License to hunt small game.

  • Youth Hunters: Youth hunters under the age of 16 do not require a license for small game hunting but must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult aged 18 or older.

Migratory Bird Hunters

Migratory bird hunters should consult the Waterfowl/Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons & Bag Limits and Waterfowl/Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations for additional requirements and regulations pertaining to the hunting of migratory game birds.

Small game hunting in New Hampshire offers a diverse range of opportunities for hunters, and it is important to be aware of licensing requirements and regulations specific to each species to ensure responsible and legal hunting practices.

Small Game Hunting Hours in New Hampshire

When it comes to hunting small game in New Hampshire, the following hunting hours apply:

  • Hunting Hours: Small game hunting is permitted from half an hour before sunrise until half an hour after sunset. However, please note that different hunting hours apply for migratory birds.

Air Rifles and Crossbows in Small Game Hunting

In the context of small game hunting in New Hampshire, specific rules apply to the use of air rifles and crossbows:

Air Rifles

  • Caliber and Energy: Air rifles used for hunting small game (excluding migratory waterfowl) must be of not less than .22 caliber and produce not less than 12 foot-pounds of kinetic energy at the muzzle.

  • Restrictions: Air rifle use for small game hunting is subject to all other restrictions outlined in the regulations.


  • Method of Take: Crossbows are considered a legal method of take for small game, with the exception of migratory game birds.

Additionally, it's important to note that there are restrictions on hunting squirrels within a compact zone of any village or city or within the limits of any public park or cemetery.

Hunters using air rifles or crossbows should ensure compliance with these regulations while engaging in small game hunting activities.

Pheasant Hunting in New Hampshire

Pheasant hunting in New Hampshire offers an opportunity to pursue this upland game bird. Here are some important details about pheasant hunting:

Stocking of Pheasants

  • Approximately 10,000 pheasants are stocked by N.H. Fish and Game at over 60 sites throughout the state.

Licensing Requirements

  • All pheasant hunters who are 16 years of age or older must possess a valid Regular N.H. Hunting License, Combination License, or Nonresident Small Game License, in addition to a Pheasant License.

Ruffed Grouse Hunting and Wing/Tail Survey

New Hampshire Fish and Game actively manages its lands to promote the creation of young forests, a vital habitat for grouse and numerous other species. If you are a grouse hunter, you can contribute to the monitoring of this species by participating in the Ruffed Grouse Wing and Tail Survey. Here's what you need to know:

Ruffed Grouse Wing and Tail Survey

  • Purpose: The NHFG conducts an annual survey focused on grouse wings and tails to gather essential information about ruffed grouse populations in New Hampshire.

  • Hunter Participation: Participation from hunters is crucial for the success of this initiative. By contributing to the survey, hunters play a key role in monitoring ruffed grouse populations.

  • Sample Packets: Grouse hunters can pick up grouse sample packets at participating locations, which include envelopes and survey cards for two grouse samples. These packets can be found at locations listed on huntnh.com.

  • Prize Opportunity: Participating hunters have a chance to win a firearm donated by the Ruffed Grouse Society, adding an extra incentive to take part in the survey.

By participating in the Ruffed Grouse Wing and Tail Survey, hunters not only contribute to the conservation of this species but also have the opportunity to win a valuable prize. It's a great way to get involved in wildlife management and habitat conservation efforts in New Hampshire.

Participate in the Small Game Survey and Win a Firearm

Attention all small game hunters in New Hampshire! Here's an opportunity for you to get involved and potentially win a valuable prize:

Small Game Survey

  • Calling All Hunters: If you are a small game hunter in New Hampshire, you are invited to participate in the Small Game Survey.

  • Survey Form: Fill out and submit your Small Game Survey form to contribute valuable data. This data helps in wildlife management and conservation efforts.

  • Prize Opportunity: By participating in the survey, you have a chance to win a firearm generously donated by Sturm Ruger & Co., Inc. It's a rewarding incentive for your involvement.

How to Participate

  • If you are interested in volunteering for the annual survey, please contact (603) 271-2461 or email wildlife@wildlife.nh.gov.

  • Be sure to provide your full name and mailing address so that the survey can be mailed to you.

  • You can also find survey forms and additional information at huntnh.com/surveys/small-game.html.

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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.