Pisgah State Park
Location: southwest New Hampshire
Size: 13,168 acres
“You can’t get away from it all at Pisgah, but you can get away from a lot of it,” Gustafson says. Relatively undeveloped by southwestern New Hampshire standards, the largest park in the Granite State system offers lower hunting pressure in a region that boasts the highest deer densities in the state. Rugged terrain provides plenty of places for deer to escape, and the herd’s age structure proves it. Forty-five to 50 percent of adult bucks here are at least 2 1/2 years old. Those that reach 4 1/2 average 190 pounds.
Connecticut Lakes Headwaters
Location: north New Hampshire
Size: 171,000 acres
This former paper company tract was home to the Thurston buck, a 183 3/8 Boone & Crockett bruiser that stood as the New Hampshire state record for 10 years until dethroned in 2006. Once owned by International Paper, the land is now split between the State of New Hampshire and the Connecticut Lakes Timber Company. Every last glorious mile is open to public hunting. Deer densities are low, but the chances are good for a buck in the 270- to 280-pound range, says Will Staats, regional wildlife biologist with New Hampshire Fish and Game. When snow depths reach one foot or more, deer start heading for wintering yards in the southern portion of the tract, near Pittsburg, and late-season bowhunters can capitalize by tracking or stand-hunting along migration routes.