The preliminary numbers are in for New Hampshire's deer, bear and fall turkey hunting seasons, and it was a successful year for many.

The unofficial deer kill for New Hampshire's 2013 hunting season was 12,387 deer -- up 7% from the final 2012 kill of 11,612. It was the highest take since 2007, and the fourth highest harvest on record in NH.

"Based on where deer were registered, it appears as if most counties had deer kills similar to or above the 2012 harvest," said Dan Bergeron, the Deer Project Leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

The 2013 harvest represents about 14% of New Hampshire's pre-season population of about 90,000 deer. Deer hunting closed in the state on December 15, the final day of the archery deer season.

Black bear hunters took a total of 569 bears in New Hampshire during the 2013 season. While this harvest is 30% less compared to the record harvest of 2012 (808 bears), this harvest was more consistent with the recent 5-year average (626 bears).

Fall turkey hunters did pretty well, considering that the relative abundance of fruits, nuts and seeds this fall made turkey flocks somewhat more difficult to encounter. A total of 811 turkeys (490 hens and 341 males) have been registered.

It's time to time to bring out the hard water fishing gear. Many lakes and ponds have a coating of two inches of ice and a few small ponds have a few inches of black ice. A few inches of black ice means it's safe ice but still check the thickness as you proceed.

Tip-ups are the most common method. Most of the time I place a shiner on my tip-ups but sometimes I place power bait, a meal worm, salmon eggs or even a worm. But the backbone of the ice fisherman is the shiner.

These methods will catch trout of all kinds but the shiner will catch every kind of fish that swims.

Many area ponds and lakes were stocked this fall with big rainbows and they are there for the taking. Some of these fish are well over 18 inches plus there's the holdovers from the spring stocking.

On January 11-12 at Rockingham Park in Salem, N.H. is the Fishing and Outdoor Expo. You will find outfitters from all over the region, bait and tackle shops, firearms dealers, etc. ... House Bill 750 is being worked on here in Massachusetts to help reintroduce some sane laws when it comes to trapping ... The N.H. Wildlife Control Operators training class, offered once a year, will take place on Thursday, Jan. 29, at Fish and Game headquarters, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, N.H., from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.... Jimmy Economou of Dracut took a big 176-pound, 10-point wallhanger of a buck in Vermont. He took his trophy opening week. Brian LaPointe of Townsend took a 4-pointer at 120 pounds.

Happy New Year!

Bill Biswanger's email is bboutdoor1@aol.com