NH Bobcat Season: It’s Not Over Yet - Public Hearing is April 1st
"The majority of the people have expressed their concern for the bobcat season, they don't want to have one."
-John W. McGonagle
NH Fish & Game Commission
Despite the strong statements of opposition from the NH Fish & Game’s own commission members, animal rescue groups, wildlife advocates, land conservationists, biologists and the majority of the NH state residents, the commission’s vote approving the bobcat hunting/trapping season was 5-4 on February 17, 2016.
Whether the future of the beautiful NH Bobcat will be to live in peace, or to suffer from being trapped, hounded, baited and killed for trophies and/or contribution to the international fur trade, now lies in the hands of the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules.
What is the NH Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules?
The JLCAR is made up of 10 members: 5 State Senate / 5 House of Representatives. There are also 5 alternates from each chamber to fill in for absent members. 6 votes are needed to be considered a majority of their vote.
What does the JLCAR do?
They oversee rules proposed by NH agencies of the executive branch, e.g., the NH Fish & Game Dept., the NH Health & Human Services Dept., the NH Labor Dept., etc.
What is the power of the JLCAR?
After the review of a rule, such as the bobcat season proposed by the NH Fish & Game Commission, the JLCAR may:
1. Approve the rule as originally filed
2. Approve the rule with an amendment
3. Object the rule
For what reasons can the JLCAR object to the bobcat season?
The JLCAR may object to any proposed rule, if the rule is:
1. Beyond authority of the agency
2. Contrary to the intent of the legislature
3. Determined not to be in the public interest
4. An incorrect financial impact statement.
Does this mean that the JLCAR can veto the Bobcat Proposal?
Unfortunately, no. If the JLCAR objects the proposal, whether in part or in its entirety, the NH Fish & Game Commission may do the following:
1. Completely withdraw the proposal
2. Amend or remove the section(s) of the proposal that the JLCAR object(s) to
3. Do nothing and keep the proposal exactly the same
Do nothing? So an objection by the JLCAR means nothing then?
Not necessarily. It is a bit more complicated if the JLCAR only objects to a certain section of the proposed bobcat season, but for the sake of simplicity, lets just say the JLCAR objects to the entire proposal due to the majority of the public being opposed to it. If the NH Fish & Game Commission then moves forward with it anyway, the JLCAR does have the power to sponsor a Joint Resolution.
My brain is spinning - What in the world is a Joint Resolution?
If the JLCAR votes to sponsor a joint resolution, that means that the proposal will then be brought to the House of Representatives and will be subject to the same rules as any bill that is introduced into the NH House.
Has the JLCAR ever objected to rules submitted by the NH Fish & Game Before?
Yes. It has occurred, although very rarely. The JLCAR has filed two final objections to the NH Fish & Game over the past 33 years, once in 1987 and then in again in 1995.
Although objections by the JLCAR are rare, do not allow that to deter you. They have filed objections in the past and they certainly can do it again, but the only way we can make that happen is by proving to the JLCAR that the NH people do not want this.
1. Over 14,000 NH residents signed a legitimate petition in opposition to the season
2. Attendance/Testimony at Public Hearings (Feb 1st & 2nd 2016): 81% opposed / 19% for
3. An independent public poll showed that 76% of voters are opposed to the trapping of bobcats and 69% are opposed to baiting and hounding.
4. Over 6,000 comments were submitted to the NH Fish & Game Commission, according to members of the commission themselves, the majority of them were in opposition to the season.
One of the major grounds for the JLCAR to file an objection or call for a joint resolution is caused by proof that a rule was approved against the majority of the NH People.
We certainly have proof of that fact, however the JLCAR cannot make decisions based on hearsay or Facebook posts. It is now up to us to clearly submit that evidence via public comments directly to them, attending the hearing, signing in as opposed and testifying.
1. Contact your State Senator and/or House Representative, if they sit on the JLCAR
Find your House Reps and State Senator Here
(Click your county, then your town/city. Your House Reps will be listed on top, with your State Senator listed below)
Find JLCAR member list Here
If your Senator or any of your House Reps sit on the JLCAR, contact them directly via the phone number(s) listed on the NH House of Representative website. You can simply explain that you are reaching out to them regarding the Bobcat Season as proposed by the NH Fish & Game Commission and that as a NH resident you are opposed to the season, then very briefly and clearly explain why.
A call is preferred over email in this case. Please be sure to call during appropriate hours and of course, please remember kindness goes a long way.
If your House Representative or State Senator is listed as being an alternate (Alt.), please do not hesitate to contact them, as it is very possible that they might have to fill in for someone when the bobcat season proposal is discussed. If no phone number or email is listed for your Senator or House Rep, you may contact the JLCAR at (603) 271-3680 or as a last resort, email the JLCAR administrative assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Submit a Comment to the JLCAR
In addition to directly contacting your Senator and/or House Rep (if they sit on the committee), please also submit your comments in general, to the JLCAR.
Email Comments To: email@example.com
Subject Title: Opposed to Bobcat Season Proposal
Address To: Honorable Representative Carol McGuire (Rep McGuire is the JLCAR Chair)
Message: Briefly explain that as a resident you are opposed to the bobcat season proposal and why.
Sign Your Name: Be sure to end with your Full Name and Address
3. Attend the JLCAR Public Hearing on Friday, April 1st
Time: 9:00 am
Location: NH State House
Address: 107 N Main Street, Concord, NH
4. SIGN IN as Opposed:
The hearing attendance list is a very important tool used by the JLCAR to provide an indication on what the public opinion is regarding rules in question, so signing in is essential.
4(a). If You’re Testifying: Be ready to submit a written copy of your testimony, 1 page is preferred / 2 pages max (bring 21 copies if possible; 1 for each member and an extra for you). You will have approx. 2-3 minutes to speak. When attending the hearing, you will be given the opportunity to fill out a card indicating that you are opposed to the bobcat season and that you would like to verbally testify. During the hearing your name will be called advising you when it is your turn to speak.
4(b). If Not Testifying: If you’re not verbally testifying and they have an attendance list, you do not need to fill out a card. However, please be certain to SIGN IN as being Opposed on their attendance list before you are seated.
Don’t worry, there will be plenty of experienced residents and staff there to help guide you, so feel free to ask someone around you when in doubt.
NH Bobcat Documentary
Click on the video below to view an in-depth and insightful look at the NH bobcat and the pending Fish and Game Commission's proposal