NH Fish & Game Disregards Public Comment With Game Management Proposal
The NH Fish and Game's proposed game management rules not only disregard the public's comments and the recommendations by their own biologists, but also contribute to coyote killing contests, and other unethical and irresponsible practices.
How to Help Below - Deadline: Thurs, July 19 - 7am
The NH Fish and Game completes a biennial review of their management for all game species; rules on hunting/trapping/baiting season schedules, the number of animals that can be killed (bag limit), etc.
There were many areas of concern this year, however, there are four primary issues, which the Fish and Game Commission has not appropriately addressed within their proposal:
1. No Limitations on Coyote Season During Pup-Rearing Months
Coyotes are hunted all year long in NH with no bag limit (Fis 303.06). This contributes to NH coyote killing contests in which sporting outfitters grant hunters rewards for killing the most coyotes; turning it into a blood sport as opposed to subsistence or conservation hunting.
The Fish and Game Commission voted against a short 10-week hunting ban on coyotes while they're raising their young. This vote came despite the Fish and Game's own biologists' recommendation for the change during a hearing on January 17th, as well as a petition that was received by the Fish and Game to shorten the hunting season, along with scientific resources revealing that hunting coyotes during the denning months can lead to pups dying an inhumane death due to starvation, as well as inefficient population control. The coyote population has increased in the US over time despite the indiscriminate hunting on them, as it encourages increased breeding and migration, which increases the overall population long-term.
The biologist assured the Commission that no data indicates the short time-frame of the ban would pose a danger to the population of small prey animals. However, the Commission voted against it. The vote disregarding their own trusted biologists, the latest science, as well as the approximate 120 resident comments that were submitted to the Dept in favor of the petition, came right after the Commission refused to open the hearing up to public comment before their vote that day. The Fish and Game had received zero public comments against the petition before their vote.
2. No Bag or Season-Length Decrease For Foxes Despite Population Concerns
Despite concerns of the decline in red and grey foxes expressed by the NH Fish and Game biologists, as well as a recommended shortening of the hunting/trapping season on them, the Fish and Game Commission's proposal does not include a reduction in the number of foxes that can be hunted nor a shortening of the season.
3. Expansion of Live-Trapping Captive Snowshoe Hares for Hunting Dog Training
NH Fish and Game rule (Fis 806.05) allows for the live-trapping of snowshoe hare in captivity for the training of hunting dogs by beagle clubs, which is similar to canned hunting. According to the Fish and Game, this allows, "...the continuance of a long-held tradition of hunting hare and rabbits with trained beagles." Although the Fish and Game received only comments against this rule and none in support of it, the Commission voted for its expansion. Although it does not increase the total hares that can be taken, their proposal continues the allowance of this inhumane practice, includes an increase from 6 to 10 authorized trappers per beagle club each season, and also extends the season; changing it from January 1 - March 31 to October 1 - March 31.
4. No Reduction of Bear Baiting - Slight Extension on Season
Despite the increase of bear/human conflict in NH, the Fish and Game have yet to address the issue appropriately, especially in regards to bear baiting. Much of human conflict with bears is due to the deliberate feeding of wildlife, neighborhoods leaving out bird feeders and not properly locking up trash. If we are asking homeowners to take responsible actions regarding this matter, it is only logical that we ask this of hunters as well. Not only does bear baiting fly in the face of fair-chase methods, but it contributes to human/wildlife conflict and increases the spread of disease. The Fish and Game Proposal includes a seven-day extension on the bear baiting season for certain zones in NH.
JLCAR Objects to Fish and Game's First Proposal - Soon to Vote on Updated Proposal
The Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR) oversees 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. On June 15th, the JLCAR objected to the initial game management proposal submitted by the Fish and Game, citing that the Commission did not properly take public testimony into consideration. An extremely telling vote, yet not unexpected considering the actions of the Commission in the recent years. This only highlights the need for SB 48, a bill that was passed which will create a study of the efficiency and effectiveness of the NH Fish and Game. After the JLCAR's objection, the Fish and Game held an additional public hearing, and then submitted an updated proposal, which still includes the unfavorable notations numbered above. The JLCAR will likely vote on the updated proposal during their next meeting on Thursday, July 19th.
Email the JLCAR and kindly advise them that as a NH resident, you object to the above game management rules as proposed by the NH Fish and Game.
Deadline: July 19th - 7am
Subject: Resident Objection to 2018-39