Hunting Property Access

NYtoNH

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Having not hunted in NH since moving from NY, I'm trying to learn everything I can about differences in the laws, starting with the basics.

A few questions I have about hunting access/trespassing:
-If property is not posted, technically, hunting is allowed? (Although very different from NY laws, I think I comprehend this.)
-Are there any exceptions to this? What if the property hosts a commercial building of some sort, but still has plenty of woods?
-How common is it for NH hunters to take advantage of this access?

In trying to prepare for this upcoming deer season, I'm stressing over where to spend time scouting close to home.
I know how busy state land can get and how some folks return to the same spot year after year. I would hate to show up opening morning and ruin someone's plan or have them ruin mine.

Thank you!
 

mowbizz

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NH law says you need to be 300’ from any dwelling or building.
If posted, no hunting unless you have landowner permission.
You can’t shoot a gun from any “vehicular road” and need to be at least 15’ off said road to “discharge” your firearm. Woods roads, logging roads, fire roads you can shoot from.
Unposted land is open to hunting and as far as I know all state and federal lands are open as well.
NH state and federal lands are not like other states where you find a “sea of orange” but you may run into hunters that cruise the roads and many do not go far into the woods at all. Very easy to escape from any “pressure” here. The exception is the pheasant stocking sites that get crazy until the stocking stops. All put and take birds.
There is so much open land (meaning woods) it’s mind boggling...and if you can’t find a place to lose yourself, you’re not trying.
As an aside, in my little piece of heaven that I hunt, in 7 years I have seen 3 other hunters and none of them saw me.:)
 

NH Hunter

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Having not hunted in NH since moving from NY, I'm trying to learn everything I can about differences in the laws, starting with the basics.

A few questions I have about hunting access/trespassing:
-If property is not posted, technically, hunting is allowed? (Although very different from NY laws, I think I comprehend this.)
-Are there any exceptions to this? What if the property hosts a commercial building of some sort, but still has plenty of woods?
-How common is it for NH hunters to take advantage of this access?

In trying to prepare for this upcoming deer season, I'm stressing over where to spend time scouting close to home.
I know how busy state land can get and how some folks return to the same spot year after year. I would hate to show up opening morning and ruin someone's plan or have them ruin mine.

Thank you!

A lot of it depends on what part of NH you are moving to. Central NH north you have nothing to worry about. Southern part of the state........ that's a different story. Not only access but how you are looked at or excepted when you are looking for permission or even are in camo or orange.
 

mowbizz

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A lot of it depends on what part of NH you are moving to. Central NH north you have nothing to worry about. Southern part of the state........ that's a different story. Not only access but how you are looked at or excepted when you are looking for permission or even are in camo or orange.
Yes! Good point! I never deer hunted the southern part much below 101 anyway, except for Chester.
 

benny8

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While unposted land is technically open for recreation, it should be added that it is courtesy to ask permission of the landowner. The towns GIS tracking and Google Earth is your best friend when it comes to this. Best of luck to you.
 

NH Hunter

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While unposted land is technically open for recreation, it should be added that it is courtesy to ask permission of the landowner. The towns GIS tracking and Google Earth is your best friend when it comes to this. Best of luck to you.
I agree with Benny that if you can possibly build a relationship with a landowner , do it. I think if you're going to put a lock on or ladder stand on a piece of property you should certainly try to ask the landowner if at all possible. Lots of times they will live out of state. With that being said...... I walk all day during ML and rifle. It's impossible for me to obtain permission to every single lot I may walk across. Be considerate, treat the land better than you would if you personally owned it. Be smart when you park some place. Don't block bar gaps, or wood roads. NH has a great hunting opportunity and we are very fortunate it's not like NY or the midwest. We have some very large bucks running around , but they are few and far between. Then again, hunting is suppose to be hard. The hard is what makes it great.
 

NYtoNH

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@mowbizz @NH Hunter Thank you! That is all a bit reassuring. I guess it is just tough to know what to expect in a new area that seems to be full of hunters.

@benny8 @NH Hunter Hunting on someone's land without permission is such a foreign idea to me, I'd be much more comfortable asking for permission in advance. I do GIS work for a living, so I am always searching state, county, and municipal online maps for hunting locations. Last year I sent out 15 letters to local property owners near my parents in NY. Most of these were NYC residents who had weekend homes a bit further north. Most people responded "absolutely not" (or had their security team or lawyers respond), but I actually was granted permission to two of the properties.
I don't think I'd have as much luck here, being new to NH, but it is definitely something I will look into moving forward.
 

NH Hunter

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@mowbizz @NH Hunter Thank you! That is all a bit reassuring. I guess it is just tough to know what to expect in a new area that seems to be full of hunters.

@benny8 @NH Hunter Hunting on someone's land without permission is such a foreign idea to me, I'd be much more comfortable asking for permission in advance. I do GIS work for a living, so I am always searching state, county, and municipal online maps for hunting locations. Last year I sent out 15 letters to local property owners near my parents in NY. Most of these were NYC residents who had weekend homes a bit further north. Most people responded "absolutely not" (or had their security team or lawyers respond), but I actually was granted permission to two of the properties.
I don't think I'd have as much luck here, being new to NH, but it is definitely something I will look into moving forward.
I wouldn't bother going to that extreme. What part of NH are you moving to? It's important.... if you aren't in southern NH most people would see that letter and not respond, most likely laughing at it. I know it's foreign to you, but it's actually a very beneficial law.

Here's how I "get permission" or make a contact with someone. I will drive by an area numbers times hoping to catch someone checking their mail or raking their yard. I don't knock on doors. Personally I hate being bothered if I'm sitting inside. But if I was in the yard and someone stopped , introduced themselves and asked if I minded them hunting. I'd say no problem.

I always finish the conversation asking if there is a place they'd prefer me to park to be out of their way.
 

NYtoNH

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@NH Hunter Haha yeah it was a bit much, but usually the only way I could get ahold of people when they live three quarters of the year in Manhattan.
I’m in the north end of Concord now.
 

NH Hunter

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@NH Hunter Haha yeah it was a bit much, but usually the only way I could get ahold of people when they live three quarters of the year in Manhattan.
I’m in the north end of Concord now.
you've got some pretty decent hunting just coming up towards the Boscawen, Salisbury , Wilmot, Andover, Sutton, Danbury area in a short 1/2 hour drive. Takes some rides around those towns and you will see the difference, and find plenty of area you won't be running into people.

Get on 93 north and in a half hour you're in Plymouth, Rumney, or 40 minutes you're in the sandwich notch area. You also have Hopkinton, Dunbarton, Bow and Contoocook near you for closer to home hunts, but they are getting pretty built up from 25 years ago and you will see more vehicles and hunters. Just take a ride to those areas and you'll see what I mean about not worrying, or picking your spots to worry about permission.

If it really bothers you there's numerous state land areas you can get away from people also.
 

benny8

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Here's how I "get permission" or make a contact with someone. I will drive by an area numbers times hoping to catch someone checking their mail or raking their yard. I don't knock on doors. Personally I hate being bothered if I'm sitting inside. But if I was in the yard and someone stopped , introduced themselves and asked if I minded them hunting. I'd say no problem.

I always finish the conversation asking if there is a place they'd prefer me to park to be out of their way.
Quick story. We had a piece of property we had been hunting for about 15 years. The landowner sold and the realtor asked us to remove our stands. The middle of the deer season(2018) we are in there removing my buddy ladder and my brothers single ladder. We were bummed, had very good success in that little wood lot. Was told the new owners didn't want anyone hunting it. I stewed about it all summer and then one day in September, I says "I'm going to go introduce myself to the new owner." Everytime I had driven by, he was outside puttering around. Of course, I got there and no one was outside, hell, no one was home at all. I went back to the truck, wrote a note telling them who I was and that the previous landowner had granted us permission to hunt. If he would consider giving us permission to hunt, I asked that he give me a call. Two hours later I was having a conversation with the new landowner. Hell of a nice guy. Come to find out, my Dad worked with him 20 years ago in the machine shop. We went over Columbus day last fall and asked if we could open up the old log road that led up to our old stand sites(weather had brought down numerous trees). He said he had meant to do it, but hadn't got around. I said we would be glad to do it. 2 hours later, we had it opened back up and hauled those two stands back up in there on a garden cart. That is where I took my largest buck to date last year. During the holiday season we dropped the landowners off a care package consisting of some backstraps, sausage, Christmas Cookies, snack sticks, some homemade Christmas Ornaments and my yearly hand drawn Christmas card. We got a nice card back thanking us for the goodies and telling us they were so happy to have us enjoying their property. Now that's the benefits of a good landowner relationship. Sorry it wasn't so quick.;)
 

emitch_NH

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I second all the points above. Also use common sense too --- there are plenty of small un-posted wood lots in southern/central NH if you do your homework and look (it's getting harder every year to find them, but they're out there). Even if I'm 300' from a nearby house, I'll bow-hunt these smaller pieces only as I don't want to concern any locals nearby and I don't want the landowner to post it due to upset neighbors. Common courtesy and introductions go a long way in this state as many others have pointed out. Good luck.
 

NYtoNH

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@emitch_NH Yeah, my plan is to probably bow hunt smaller parcels of woods.

I think the law is great, as long as it isn’t abused. The whole reason for my initial post was basically just curiosity about how most people actually go about it!
Thanks!
 
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