The House voted 233-126 today against HB 442, which would have created a coyote hunting closure while coyotes give birth and raise their young, to prevent the inhumane death of pups, as with every other furbearer and most other species hunted in NH.
Although NH Fish and Game Biologists' proposed the hunting closure last year and also confirmed that it would not have an adverse impact on NH's thriving deer population, the bill was defeated due to the Fish and Game Commission's opposition (going against their own biologists), misconceptions spread by the opposition, and the lack of public awareness regarding coyote behavior, responsible game management and effective coexistence.
Although this did not make it through the House today, we owe a special thank you to the bill's primary sponsor Rep. Ellen Read (Rockingham - District 17) who was also a strong supporter of sound animal protection legislation last term, as well as Rep. Kathryn Stack (Hillsborough - District 21), Rep. Wendy Thomas (Hillsborough -District 21 ) and Rep. James Bosman (Hillsborough - District 38 ), who spoke in favor of the bill.
Unfortunately, Chair of the House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee, Rep. Cathryn Harvey (Cheshire - District 1), who has supported animal protection legislation in the past, spoke against the bill today, during which she spent over 10 minutes further perpetuating several misconceptions and falsehoods regarding coyotes, and misrepresenting facts from biologists that support a closure during pup-rearing.
House Fish and Game and Marine Resources' Vice Chair, Rep. Larry Laflamme (Coos - District 3), and Rep. Kevin Craig (Coos - District 4) also spoke against the bill, providing similar misleading testimony as their leader.
This is a truly unfortunate outcome, not only for the coyote, a species who has benefited our ecosystems and who has adapted and survived, despite unwarranted and excessive killing, but for New Hampshire residents, who too seek to evolve and better our management of wildlife species, and better ourselves.
However, you can rest assured that biologists, conservationists, animal protection organizations and advocates will remain steadfast in our efforts to protect this amazing and beneficial species from the unnecessary, indiscriminate, and extreme killing of their kind.
One of the primary factors contributing to the year-round killing of coyotes is lack of insight and understanding about the species, the benefits they provide ecosystems and humans, as well as misconceptions about coyote behavior, and how to effectively and safely coexist with them.
It is essential that we share accurate, scientific information regarding coyotes so that our friends, family, and acquaintances can learn to better understand, soundly judge or respond if they happened to encounter a coyote.
1. Learn About Coyotes, and Why We Should Support A Hunting Closure During Pupping
2. Learn Coexistence Practices
Learn practical coexistence approaches and methods to protect you and your domestic animals, which are often more effective than coyote killing.
3. Share With Family and Friends
Be sure to share the above information with your family and friends; the more who understand coyotes, the more who will learn why we can happily and safely share our State's landscape with this incredible and beneficial species.