One of the most exciting aspects of spending time in the White Mountains is the opportunity to see wildlife such as white-tailed deer (the New Hampshire state mammal), moose, fox, bear and other native animals. Several areas of the White Mountain National Forest are known as excellent places to observe wildlife.
If you do see wildlife like moose or black bear on your outdoor explorations, exercise caution and never approach the animal. If you’re in your car and want to pull over to observe, do so carefully and stay in the car. Remember: the animal is wild. Moose are especially unpredictable in their movements and when threatened may stand their ground or charge. More active at dusk and at night, they are difficult to see, so brake for moose—it could save your life.
As a rule, bears stay away from people unless tempted by food. Black bears have keen hearing and a good sense of smell, and are aware of you long before you are aware of them. They can be scared away by loud noises. If you are camping, take the following precautions:
• Keep a clean camp.
• Don’t cook or eat inside your tent—the food odors linger and attract bears.
• Put food and garbage in the trunk of your car. If that’s not possible, hang both
at least ten feet off the ground.
• Under no circumstances should you feed, tease, touch or disturb any bears.
The state’s moose population has made a dramatic recovery since the early 1900’s, when unregulated hunting and loss of forest habitat to agriculture decimated the herd. Today, moose are found throughout the state, including the White Mountains region, and are often seen in swampy or wet areas near roads. Frequent sightings are reported along the Kancamagus Highway, in Pinkham Notch, and along Route 26 in Dixville Notch. Moose tours are run from Gorham and Lincoln, as well as in the Great North Woods Region of the state.
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department carries the New Hampshire Wildlife Viewing Guide, a 96-page book by Judy K. Silverberg on 72 places in the state to watch wildlife. Contact Fish and Game, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301. Call 603-271-3421. On the web: www.wildlife.state.nh.us.