Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In New Hampshire [Yes]

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Pigeons on your window sill are not as safe as one might think. They carry and spread many diseases. It is enough to define why killing pigeons is essential. But many states protect wildlife and condemn this act. So, is it illegal to kill pigeons in New Hampshire? 

Yes. It is illegal to kill pigeons in New Hampshire. The state protects all wildlife. There is no restriction to taking down Feral pigeons. They are ill-bred and annoying. But you cannot hunt any Mourning dove in the state. 

Only eight states in the USA protect migratory bird species. To learn more about pigeon hunting in New Hampshire, continue reading. 


Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In New Hampshire?

It is illegal to hunt Mourning doves in New Hampshire. The two species living in the state are the Rock pigeon and the Mourning dove. You can take down as many Rock pigeons as you want. They are common, annoying, and carry many diseases. But hunting of Mourning dove is forbidden.  

Mourning doves are considered game birds in many USA states. So, hunting them is legal during small games. But you cannot shoot them legally in the eight states, which also includes New Hampshire.  

You can identify a Mourning dove by its tan or greyish-brown color, plump body, and large size. They are 9 to 13 inches long, and with wing span, their size is 15 to 18 inches. These doves also have black spots on the wings and a dark spot under their eyes.  

There is no such law that prohibits pigeon eating in the state. But as per US law, you can eat wildlife if you prove it was not hunted for food. Bird meat is available at many places in New Hampshire. 

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In New Hampshire?

As per the law (209:4), hunting of Mourning doves is illegal in New Hampshire. It is illegal to harm, kill, sell, or trade any migratory bird species without state authorities’ permission. This law is a part of the MBTA or Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It was signed in 1918 by the USA and followed by neighboring countries.  

The act is to protect all the birds that travel long distances in search of food or shelter. 41 USA states allow migratory bird hunting during Small games. But, New Hampshire authorities protect almost all the birds, including the Mourning dove. So, you cannot legally take down any Mourning doves in the state.  

Harming any dove without a permit is a crime. So, you can face a fine of almost $2000 for going against the law. Eating pigeon meat is legal. But Feral pigeons carry many diseases. So it is better to avoid eating them. 

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In New Hampshire State 

The shooting rules are to guide hunters on the safe removal of nuisance wildlife. These laws are for the people who plan to hunt pigeons in New Hampshire. Below is the detail on a few necessary shooting and hunting rules in the state.  

Hunter Education  

To purchase a hunting license in New Hampshire, you must have a Hunting Education certificate. So, all new hunters must complete this course before applying for a hunting license. The classes are open for all people 12 or above, residents and non-residents. 

The course has two types of classes online theory classes and a field day for on-hand practice. At the end of the program, you must know all about firearm handling, wildlife management principles, and map and compass skills. The program also teaches the laws and ethics. 

12-year-old people can take online classes. But to participate in the field day, you must be 15 or above. You must pass the online and field day class with eight percent to obtain the certificate.

Hunting License  

All hunters sixteen and above must possess a hunting license in New Hampshire. People can purchase a hunting license online on a website or through a wildlife agent. To buy a Resident hunting license, you must hold a valid NH Driver’s license or Non-Driver Photo Identification issued by the State of NH Division of Motor Vehicles. You must also not claim a residence in any other state for any purpose. 

But, hunters will have to revoke their hunting licenses every year. So, you must apply for a new hunting license after 31st December. Young hunters 12 to 16 can hunt. But they must purchase a Minor hunting license. Also, minor hunters must be under the supervision of a licensed adult above 21.  

Hunting On Private Land     

Hunting rules are the same for private land. But, it does not guarantee access. Most of the private land in NH is in resident ownership or run by state agencies. When planning to hunt on private property, you must get permission from the land owner. Hunting without the landowner’s permission is trespassing. So, you can face the consequence charges. State lands are open for the public to hunt pigeons at their convenience.    

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In New Hampshire State? 

Pigeon hunting is not a new idea. For centuries people have enjoyed hunting pigeons as a sport. Shooting pigeons is not difficult as long as you know all the laws. Following are the pointers below to shoot and hunt pigeons in the NH state.   

  • Purchase a hunting license online or through a wildlife agent. You will have to revoke your hunting license each year so apply ahead of time.   
  • Hunters must carry hunting licenses on the field. It can be on an E-device or in print. 
  • Youth hunters 12 to 15 must carry a Minor hunting license and be with an adult.   
  • To hunt on private land, make your request by submitting the permission slip to the landowner.   
  • Shooting time begins a half hour before sunrise and ends half-hour after sunset.   
  • Do not hunt pigeons on Sundays and within 500 meters of any worship place.    
  • Carry a legal weapon with the license. You can use shotguns, air rifles, bows, and arrows to take down pigeons.   
  • Avoid shooting pigeons in residential areas and look for alternative options to eliminate pigeons.   
  • Carry safety gloves, goggles, and a first aid kit on the field.   
  • You can use decoys and food items to lure Rock pigeons onto the field.   
  • Put the harvest in large bags and discard them far from your home.   

Summing Up

You can take down as many Rock pigeons as you want in New Hampshire. But it is not legal to harm Mourning doves as they are Migratory birds. According to the MBTA, it is illegal to harm, sell or transport any migratory bird species without state permission. The authorities of NH protect all wildlife. So, you cannot take down any Mourning doves in the state.  

The Rock pigeons are not under the protection of the wildlife authorities. So, hunting them is legal all year. But you must have a hunting license and the essential permits. You must complete a Hunting Education Course to purchase a hunting license in NH.