Happy is the man who has acquired the love of walking for its own sake!
It's estimated that between 94% and 97% of New Hampshire is undeveloped land, making vast amounts available for natural wildlife habitat. Some of the finest wildlife watching in the state can be enjoyed while hiking in the White Mountains.
Viewing Ethics and ResponsibilitiesMost people who spend any time outdoors care a great deal about wildlife and wildlife habitat. Unfortunately, even the innocent act of observing wildlife can have a great impact on the animal if it is not done properly. Observing a few guidelines will help us put the needs and safety of wildlife first, to conserve wildlife and habitats and respect the rights of others.
Enjoy wildlife from a distance: The goal of successful wildlife watching is to see animals without interrupting their normal behavior. Wildlife send clear signals you are too close when they stop feeding and raise their head sharply, move away, change direction of travel or appear nervous or aggressive. These disturbances may result in an animal abandoning its young, injuring itself as it tries to escape, quit feeding at a time of critical energy need or displaying aggressive behavior toward you.
Don't feed the animals. While it may seem exciting at the time to have an animal eat out your hand, there are potential serious consequences. Some animals that become accustomed to handouts may lose their natural fear of humans. This may cause them to become aggressive with visitors who refuse to feed them. This situation may lead to human injury, which in turn usually means the death of the animal involved. Human food does not meet the living requirements for many animals and may seriously harm them. Animals who have become accustomed to handouts may be faced with starvation once that food source is no longer available.
Never chase or harass animals. In some cases, valuable energy resources needed for survival are used when animals are chased. Your wildlife viewing experience will be more successful if you leave your pets at home.
Don't pick up orphaned or sick animals. Wild animals rarely abandon their young. In most cases the adults are nearby, waiting for visitors to leave before they return. If an animal appears to be sick or injured, behaves oddly or appears to be tame, leave it alone. There are a number of wildlife diseases including rabies that can affect humans.
Honor the rights of private landowners. Always ask permission before entering private property. Leave no trace that you have been there.
Respect the rights of other recreationists at a site. Be considerate when approaching wildlife that is already being viewed. A loud noise or quick movement may spoil the experience for everyone. Remember - you share the woods with many other recreationists including hikers, snowmobilers, mountain bikers and hunters. Most public lands are open to hunting and fishing.
—The above is excerpted from the New Hampshire Wildlife Viewing Guide by Judy Silverberg, Ph.D, the wildlife viewing coordinator for the state of New Hampshire. The book is available for purchase from NH Fish and Game.
If you see any type of unusual behavior, such as an animal pacing back and forth, or signs of aggression, contact our NH Fish & Game Dispatcher at 271-3361 or your local police.
Black bears are found all over New Hampshire. Females typically weight 125 to 150 pounds while adult males tip the scales at 200 to 250 pounds.
Black bears are generally shy and usually avoid humans; with their keen hearing and good sense of smell, they're usually aware of us before we're aware of them. They can be scared away by loud noises.
back to top
• Never intentionally feed bears to attract them.
• Maintain a clean campsite.
• Put food scraps in closed containers, not in the campfire.
• Do not cook or eat in your tent.
• Keep food and cooking gear separate from your sleeping area.
• Keep food in a closed-up vehicle or hang food at least 10 feet off the ground and 5 feet out on a limb that will not support a bear.
Remember: A fed bear is a dead bear!
When black bears are fed, they quickly learn unbearlike behaviors. Sadly, this may lead to serious, often deadly, results for the bear. You can prevent this by following the simple guidelines above.
WHAT TO DO IF CONFRONTED BY A BEARIf loud noises, sticks and stones don't scare off the bear, back away slowly. NEVER turn your back or run away from a bear as this can trigger its hunting instincts.
You can't get away from a black bear by climbing a tree. Instead, lie face down on the ground with your legs spread and your fingers interlaced behind your head. Your spread legs will keep the bear from rolling you over and exposing your abdomen, while your hands and fingers will protect your head and neck.
Much of the above information is excerpted from New Hampshire Fish & Game's "Something's Bruin in New Hampshire: Learn to Live with Bears." For more on bears, visit Fish & Game's website.
back to top
The breeding season is from mid-September through mid-October, a time of frequent sightings. Moose are seen throughout the year, often in swampy or wet areas near roads, and are active at dusk and at night when it's particularly difficult to see them. Each year nearly 200 moose are killed on New Hampshire highways, which is why you should…
Remember to "Brake for Moose" when driving on our highways.
Safe moose viewing is essential
Watch from a safe and respectful distance. Moose are bigger and faster than any person and give little warning before attacking a perceived threat. Cows are extremely protective of their calves. Bulls in the rut are unpredictable. No one should ever approach these animals no matter how tolerant they appear. Moose are unafraid, not friendly. A moose that decides someone has crossed into their "personal space" will knock down the offender and kick and stomp until the threat stops moving.
Much of the above information is excerpted from New Hampshire Fish & Game's website page on moose: at www.wildlife.state.nh.us.
back to top
Always enjoy wildlife from a distance.
If you disturb the animal, you might cause it to injure itself while fleeing, abandon its young, or display aggressive behavior toward you.
Never approach a sick or injured animal.
There are diseases, such as rabies, which can be passed from animal to human.
Don't pick up or disturb what appear to be orphaned young.
Wild animals rarely abandon their young. Most likely, the mother is nearby, waiting for you to leave.
Don't feed the animals.
This can lead to aggressive behavior and injury to you or others, in which case the animal will usually be destroyed. Also, an animal which comes to rely on humans for its food may not be able to fend for themselves in the wild.
Black fly season usually runs from late spring to early summer. A good insect repellent will help keep the worst of the biters away. (Some people claim that eating raw garlic will also do the trick!)
Lyme diease has been reported in New Hampshire. A good insect repellent will help repel ticks, and the threat of disease can be minimized by quick removal of any attached ticks. A daily inspection is a good habit.
Here are some other ways to avoid ticks:
• Use insect repellent with 20% - 30% DEET on adult skin and clothing to prevent tick bite. Effectiverepellents are found in drug, grocery and discount stores.
• Permethrin is another type of repellent. It can be purchased at outdoor equipment stores that carry camping or hunting gear. Permethrin kills ticks on contact! One application to pants, socks, and shoes typically stays effective through several washings. Permethrin should not be applied directly to skin. For details on permethrin visit the National Pesticide Information Center.
• Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks to keep ticks off your skin. Light-colored clothing will help you spot ticks more easily. Tucking pant legs into socks or boots and tucking shirts into pants help keep ticks on the outside of clothing. If you’ll be outside for an extended period of time, tape the area where your pants and socks meet to prevent ticks from crawling under your clothes.
To find out more about ticks and lyme disease, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site.
back to top