New Hampshire Black Bear
New Hampshire Black Bear

New Hampshire Fish and Game has a new system in place for issuing Bear Guide permits


A new system is in place for issuing Bear Guide Permits under rules adopted today by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. The rules increase the number of bear guide permits issued annually to a total of 50.

New Hampshire Black Bear
New Hampshire Black Bear


The rules establish a two-tier system for bear guide permits:


  • For one group (Group A), permits are grandfathered, and eligibility continues from year to year in accordance with the newly adopted rules. Initial eligibility is based on having held a bear guide permit five or more years of the past thirteen. Letters informing those eligible for Group A permits are being sent out now.


  • The second tier of permits (Group B) will be awarded through a random drawing from the pool of eligible applicants.


Based on Department records, 38 guides are eligible for Group A permits. A waiting list for Group A permits will be established, based upon the number of years a guide applies for Group B permits.


Applications for both Group A and Group B bear guide permits must be received at Fish and Game Headquarters in Concord, N.H., no earlier than January 4, 2015 and no later than 4:00 p.m. on January 16, 2015. Print-and-mail applications are available on the Fish and Game website at, or call 603-271-2461 to request an application.


In order to be selected for a bear guide permit, applicants must also be a licensed New Hampshire hunting guide. Fish and Game encourages all potential applicants to submit their 2015 N.H. hunting guide license applications as soon as possible; these applications are currently being processed on a rolling basis.


“We have worked with our constituents and the Fish and Game Commission over many months to ensure that the new process allows us to meet the needs of the guides while sustaining our ability to properly manage our bear population,” said Wildlife Division Chief Mark Ellingwood.


Previously, bear guide permits were given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. In recent years, that has resulted in applicants standing in line outside the Fish and Game Department for hours or even days for a chance to get a permit.


“We’d like to think that the new system is not only orderly and fair, but a good compromise that will serve everyone in the process well,” said Ellingwood.


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