February, 2014
New Hampshire Fish and Game
Landowner Relations Program

Private landowners play an important role
in sustaining New Hampshire's wildlife.  
I recently came across this old favorite poem of mine and thought it fitting to share with New Hampshire landowners.  Thank you for allowing others to hunt, fish, and "watch your woods fill up with snow"!
    Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost

"Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.


My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and snowy lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound's a sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.


The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.

And I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep."  

The Landowner Relations Program wants to hear from you.  Please take this short 5 question survey. 






Photo credit:

USFWS/Craig Lewis

It's the middle of the winter and while you might enjoy a few hours outside to help make a snowman with your grandkids or spend the day  ice fishing, at the end of the day we can retreat to the comfort of our warm homes.  But what about wildlife?  I asked Dan Bergeron, NHFG Deer Project Leader, to give us a little insight into what deer have to do to survive the winter and asked him what New Hampshire landowners might be able to do to help out. 


By Dan Bergeron, NHFG Deer Project Leader


Deer in New Hampshire are faced with the daunting task of living near the northern limit of their range. Severe winter weather is the main factor limiting their population growth in this area of the country and as a result they have adapted their behavior to help them survive these harsh winter conditions.  As temperatures drop and snow begins to fall it signals deer that it's time to migrate to their winter habitat. Deer may travel in excess of 20 miles to reach suitable winter habitat. Many of these deer wintering areas or "deer yards" are past down from mother to offspring and are used for generations. Mature conifer cover is the main component of a deer yard, trapping snowfall before it hits the ground and allowing deer to move more easily, and in turn, conserve energy. These mature stands also help block wind and trap in heat. Large, high quality deer yards often support far more deer than summer range of equal size. These high densities allow deer to maintain a network of trails throughout the yard, and allows deer to move easily to access forage areas, and aids in predator avoidance.


Because of the length and severity of our winters many people feel they must do all they can to "help" and feed deer during the winter months. Although these people are well intentioned, they are actually doing more harm than good by feeding deer (and wildlife in general). Deer have several adaptations to survive severe winters and therefore do not require supplemental food to survive winter. They have a highly insulated winter coat to keep them warm and they store large amounts of body fat to use as energy reserves. In fact, approximately 30% of the body mass of an adult doe is composed of fat at the start of winter. They will also reduce their food intake and limit their daily activity to conserve energy. Supplemental feeding of deer has a number of negative consequences, including causing them to burn excess energy by drawing deer away from their winter habitat, increasing vehicular collisions as deer travel near and across roads to get to these feed sites, and causing death by feeding deer the wrong type of food. Concentrating deer at feed sites can also lead to increased risk of disease transmission. These are just a few of the negative impacts. To read more on this subject download this PDF brochure: www.wildnh.com/Wildlife/Wildlife_PDFs/More_harm_deer_brochure.pdf.   

If you are a concerned landowner and are interested in helping deer your best option is through habitat management. Suitable winter habitat is far more beneficial to the long term survival of deer in NH and may also benefit a number of other wildlife species. In the northern part of the state deer yards are made up primarily of mature stands of spruce and fir. As you move south hemlock or mixed stands may become more important cover types. Generally speaking deer yards are usually composed of at least 50% mature conifer cover with 50% or greater canopy closure, depending on the severity of the winter weather.  Foraging habitat should be maintained in an early age class and be interspersed or adjacent to the core cover area. It is also important to temper your expectations, since many yards are historically used.  If deer are not already present on your property in winter it may take several years or longer before they key into the area. Also, don't try and manage your property for a habitat type that the site conditions don't support. Do you have the right soils and seed trees for stocking? Before taking any action you should consult a licensed forester and/or biologist to develop a management plan that is realistic and will truly benefit wildlife. (Learn More: www.wildnh.com/Wildlife/Wildlife_Plan/habitat_management.html) Whatever management action you decide you have already made an effort to be an informed and responsible landowner with the best interest of the state's wildlife in mind, and that is an important first step.


Operation Game Thief 

Protect New Hampshire's natural resources - report wildlife law violators!

Operation Game Thief is a silent witness, anti-poaching program that encourages the public to report any suspicious activity or knowledge about a poaching violation.   


Report Violations: 1-800-344-4262 or www.nhogt.org/


Help Fish and Game Biologists assess the impact of winter weather on our wild turkey population. http://www.wildnh.com/turkeysurvey/index.html

New Hampshire Fish and Game
Landowner Relations Program

 11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301