Published in the Feb 24 Union Leader

Another showdown set for bobcat hunt

CONCORD — The bobcat battle is far from over.A committee of the state Legislature still has to approve the rules for the controversial hunt recently approved by the Fish and Game Commission in a 4-5 vote, and plans to hold a hearing on April 1 in Representatives Hall, the largest venue available.
Outdoor columnist John Harrigan from Colebrook, a leader in the opposition to the hunt, said opponents are marshalling their forces for the April 1 hearing.

“There is tremendous communication,” he said. “We all know what’s going on with the Legislature. We have a lot of people in the Legislature who are solidly with us on this, many of them from longtime hunting families who live in rural New Hampshire and they hate this thing.”
The vote in favor of the hunt a week ago Wednesday came after months of debate, several well-attended public hearings and heavy lobbying on both sides. Hundreds testified both for and against the hunt, while thousands submitted written comments, some from other parts of the country.
The commission has proposed issuing 50 bobcat permits, at a cost of $100 each, through a lottery process. The hunting season would be similar to New Hampshire’s fisher season, with December trapping and January hunting.
Those rules and others governing the hunt have to be approved by a committee of House and Senate members known as the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, which is required by statute to approve the rule-making of state agencies.
A final proposal for a limited bobcat season was filed with JLCAR on Wednesday by the Department of Fish and Game. The proposal was submitted in time to be included on the March 18 agenda for the rules committee, but it will not be discussed at that time. At its last meeting on Feb. 19, the JLCAR decided that the bobcat proposal would be postponed to a continued meeting on April 1, when Representatives Hall is available.
More than 25 written comments have already been received by the rules committee, all of them opposed to the hunt, with many more expected in the weeks ahead.

Scott Eaton, Administrative Rules Director in the Office of Legislative Services, says the JLCAR has a variety of options in reviewing the proposed rules.
“The committee is not a policy committee,” said Eaton. “It cannot substitute its judgment for the Fish and Game Department, not on technical areas of expertise that have been delegated (by the Legislature) to the Fish and Game Department.”
That said, the committee does have the power to object to the rules or to approve them with conditions, citing any number of criteria outlined in state statute, such as agency authority or legislative intent.
The rules aren’t beyond the authority of Fish and Game, nor are they likely to be deemed contrary to legislative intent. It’s more likely that opponents will hang their hats on the criteria of “contrary to public interest,” which contains a requirement for “responsiveness.”
“Under responsiveness, if someone complains that their arguments were not overruled on the merits, but that the commission just didn’t consider them, the committee can ask the department to provide evidence to the contrary,” said Eaton.
If the JLCAR objects to the rules, Fish and Game will have an opportunity to amend them, withdraw them altogether or make no changes.

If the department decides it wants to go forward, and the committee feels the issue is serious enough to refer to the full Legislature, it can vote to sponsor a joint resolution to go before the House and Senate.
A vote by the committee on a joint resolution, should it come to that, would only impose a temporary stay on the adoption of the rules. “It’s not the committee that can stop the rule permanently,” said Eaton. “Only the Legislature can do that.”


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MATT MALLOY said Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 8:21 pm

This could turn into a win for people opposed to hunting, that potential bobcat hunters did not anticipate.I myself hunt and fish, and have killed animals for food. I have never hunted for moose or bear, because I don’t have any desire to eat them, but I accept that other people in NH do, and defend their choice.I think the proposed bobcat hunt is different.It will not be for food, or because they are a predator that may need control due to the size of their population, like coyotes. They will be hunted for pleasure, and for a taxidermy trophy. If we allow the hunt at this time, it will be a powerful argument in favor of those opposed to all hunting. It has the possibility of swaying public opinion, and the shift will not favor hunters. It could make people who are currently ambivalent about hunting, believe that anti hunters are in fact correct, and that those of us who do go into the woods in search of game, are simply in it for the thrill of the kill.


HELEN TAM-SEMMENS said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 12:35 am

It is unfair that all hunters and even hikers and bird watchers have to pay for Fish & Game Commission’s irresponsible decision. Many landowners are now posting their land. Some use the generic ‘no trespassing’ signs which also shut out avid hikers such as myself. Fish & Game is also being sued for the bobcat decision. The legal fees are going to be costly. The department is already short of money and have been dipping into our general funds. What it means is that we tax payers have to literally pay for the Commission’s mistake as well, in terms of legal fees for the lawsuit. That is outrageous, because most NH tax payers are against the bobcat season to begin with, as most NH citizens are.


DAVID TAYLOR said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 6:28 am

In the wake of the highly controversial decision to reinstate a state bobcat hunting season, a Washington, D.C.-based wildlife organization is considering suing N.H. Fish and Game and its commission.If filed, the grounds for the lawsuit would be that a bobcat season could put an endangered lookalike animal at risk, according to an attorney with the Animal Welfare Institute.In re-establishing the first bobcat hunting season in more than 25 years, N.H. Fish and Game would be in violation of the Endangered Species Act by not providing utmost protection of the Canada lynx, said Tara C. Zuardo, a wildlife attorney.The Canada lynx — which bears a resemblance to a bobcat — is federally listed as a threatened species, and as an endangered one in the Granite State, according to N.H. Fish and Game.Because of the similarities between a Canada lynx and a bobcat, this new season could lead to the death of threatened lynx, according to Zuardo.


JIM PESCHKE said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 6:29 am

Let the Astroturf begin! If property was actually posted as often as people claim to do so, we’d have about three times the total acreage of New Hampshire posted. If the committee is worried about the crowds, they could limit attendance to NH residents. That would eliminate about 80% of the opponents.


DAVID TAYLOR said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 6:39 am

BTW in light of the decision…I have posted all 112 acres and installed Trail cams linked to my android. Now no one is welcome on my land. I always win…even when I lose.


SUE EMANOVSKY said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 7:00 am

I had an old dairy goat shot in my yard one year. It was opening day of moose season, pheasant season was in full swing. A goat doesn’t look much like either. So I have little faith that our modern hunter is going to tell the difference between a bobcat, a lynx and Grandma’s tabby. My land is already posted no hunting.


MIK CAIN said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 7:32 am

It is not right to kill just for fun. There will be accidents shooting family cats, and other animals because of this. I get that people go hunting for food to eat. Don’t kill animals because you want to mount them on your wall and show how big your berries are for killing an innocent animal with a gun. No need to kill anything for fun. Go join the Armed Forces


KALEB JACOB said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 8:05 am

@ David Taylor: Ruffed Grouse vs. Spruce Grouse. Same thing – the females look more similar than a Bobcat or Lynx. If you are hunting for it, it is your responsibility to know the difference and there are many differences between bobcats, housecats and a Lynx. I think it comes down to pro hunting or anti-hunting. 99% of hunters are not roving through the forest spewing lead in every direction whenever a bush moves. Yes, accidents happen, and I saw an accident on Rt. 114 this morning too.


WAYNE DERBY said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 8:19 am

Once again nothing but emotions being used for reasons against allowing a Bobcat hunt, and emotions are worth NOTHING!!!!!!! Biological facts are and NHF&G has presented those as reason for allowing the hunt. If you are opposed to the hunt list REAL biological reason why there should not be a Bobcat hunt. Not liberal lies, but real facts. Point is you really don’t have any…….. Otherwise go back to your liberal pie in the sky fake life that really has no basis in reality!!!


MIKE HOUST said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 8:32 am

I don’t have any problem with people shooting or trapping bobcats who are taking their pets, or their poultry.


CAROLYN PILLSBURY said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 8:42 am

Leave the poor bobcats alone. They have their rights too..If you think your fat bloated ***** and guts are more important then a bobcats or any other animal you are sadly wrong. Human beings are destroying the earth, not the animals Spend the money on getting illeagal drugs out of New Hampshire.


SALLY WOOD said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 9:00 am

NH is so into killing…….hunting down their prey….it’s barbaric. These beautiful creatures are not to be eaten…so the purpose of hunt to kill is senseless. NH makes many wrong decisions..whatever comes with the wind, they go with …as with all this money they are putting into opium users….it only gives them a reason not to stop….NH is one of the most uncivilized states….Maine running a close second…uneducated redneck fools calling the shots.. and the officials most times, signing just to be “done'” with it……and onto the next.


LAURA SLITT said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 9:36 am

NH Fish and Game proved again, their antithetical “science” was used to justify what never should be, hunting Bobcats. More urgency to transform this agency to exhibit the best interests of animals, citizens, and nature to manage herself wisely, as ONLY nature can. I understand tradition but when it impedes moral and societal progress, it’s time to change. Our very humanity suffers when animals are viewed as NH Fish and Game and followers of this trapped mentality continue to view them. LIVE AND LET LIVE!!!


GARY GAHAN said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 9:48 am

I am not completely familiar with this subject,however, one should be able to have enough confidence in our NH F&G and state biologist to believe that they have done enough research on this subject to have determined that in CERTAIN areas of the state the bobcat population most likely will not be sustainable due to too much inbreeding, available souce of natural food, etc and allowing a controlled hunt to maintain a healthy balance of nature is appropriate. Are bobcats a favored food for human consumption? I do not know however what will the reaction be when at some point in time the bobcats become far less fearless and have no fear of going into neighborhoods to undertake their feeding of small household pets allowed into families back yards. Furthermore if 50 permitsare issued with any bit of skilled hunting at best I would suspect not more that 30+/- would meet their fate.TTFN.


MAGGIE MEADE said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 9:53 am

Wayne Derby – Many people simply find that the trapping of any animal is cruel and horrific. It’s not necessarily an emotional thing, it’s an ethical thing. An animal that becomes caught in a leg-hold, or even a snare trap, suffers. It writhes in pain and tries to pull itself free, often chewing at it’s limb to get some relief. Many animals succeed in chewing off their own limbs to escape a trap. We don’t have to discuss what happens after this. Traps are also indiscriminate and people find that is horrific as well. Have you ever seen a bald eagle caught in a trap? The emotional side of this issue is based on the feelings of horror and disgust that an animal who clearly does NOT need to be managed nor is eaten, is about to be fair “game”.


MAGGIE MEADE said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 9:57 am

Let’s now discuss the fiduciary side of the argument! If the commission has a fiduciary duty to the F&G department, then they were and are derelict in that duty. The approval of a season that will cost the department $15,000.00, without any profit or monies going back into the department, is the epitome of dereliction of a fiduciary duty. Simply put, the department cannot afford it, the majority of the citizens of NH who oppose this season cannot afford it and should not be asked to when funds are taken from the GF.


DAVID TAYLOR said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 10:00 am

Not anti hunter. In fact own lots of black guns. I just don’t like being hoodwinked by F&G under the guise of a UNH survey (come on gang, let’s identify those cute bobcats) to support bobcat trapping/hunting.


JAMES E FIEST said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 11:46 am

“I think the proposed bobcat hunt is different.It will not be for food, or because they are a predator that may need control due to the size of their population, like coyotes. They will be hunted for pleasure, and for a taxidermy trophy.” Thank you Mr. Malloy. That is most reasoned and principled objection I have read and I am in complete agreement.


CHRIS LAMBERT said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 11:56 am

Why can’t we trap and relocate these beautiful cats? Why is our first instinct to KILL everything?? Next thing they will be endangered…we need to preserve wildlife not destroy it.


KALEB JACOB said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm

The only thing that makes some of these animals “endangered” are borders. Canada Lynx: Endangered in Maine in NH, but plentiful in Canada. Bobcat: (was) endangered in NH, but not in Maine. In fact, you only need a basic hunting license rather than a lottery to take one in Maine and there is no bag limit on them. Why is that? I’m no fan of hunting bobcats. I don’t care for trophies or things that choose not to eat, but to call hunting barbaric is a bit over the top and frankly an insult to hunters engaging in a perfectly legal activity.


JIMMY KONNER said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 12:45 pm

I’m hoping this goes through. I know to find a few of these cats. They are doing fantastic with all of the turkeys out there.


ED MCCARTHY JR said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 1:16 pm



LISY MEYERS said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 1:22 pm

The Bobcat issue will be overturned by proving that trapping the cats is contrary to public interest. Never respond to requests from F & G for sightings of wildlife. They want to make harvesting even easier than it is now. F&G doesn’t need this season. Last year trappers said they would back down if public was so against it. This vote was done by nine Commissioners who don’t understand or listen to the public.


STEVE LINDSEY said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 1:34 pm

“The inexcusable in full pursuit of the inedible”—Oscar Wilde.


SANDRA GOLDEN said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Trapping is barbaric and completely unnecessary so it should be banned outright. Traps often capture non-target and domestic animals anyway. If the issue was money for F&G then make the bobcat permits $10,000 and not $100 a piece. I am not opposed to hunting as a “sport” but nobody eats bobcats so that is out the window. Until it can be proven, conclusively, that the bobcat population has gone so high that it is endangering other species, there should be no reason to hunt them.


JAMES E FIEST said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 3:26 pm

Are the turkeys now an endangered species?


JAMES E FIEST said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 3:27 pm

Are the turkeys now and endangered species? Sounds to me like nature taking care of its own.


BARBARA WHITE said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 4:19 pm

I live in Michigan, and before anyone tells me to only mind what goes on in my state and not in NH, give my views a thought.Your state is quite beautiful and interesting in the scenery, the history, and the wildlife. Because of these positives, NH gets many tourists, and even if you do not like them, they bring in the bucks.Killing your wildlife, especially such a beautiful and rare (to most parts of the U.S.) species such as the Bobcat, sends a message that your state is mostly inhabited by a bunch of backwoods folks who love to kill anything that looks good over their fireplace. This was pretty obvious by some of the comments in this paper especially in the article earlier this week. Please fight this battle, not only for the sake of the Bobcat, but for the reputation and financial good of your state.


KALEB JACOB said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 4:31 pm

I can assure the non-resident that posted here that no one comes here to see bobcats. I’ve never seen one in NH and I have lived here for a total of over 14 years. Having not seen one does not mean they are endangered, and I am not a wildlife biologist. Good point on the turkeys on the previous post. If you check the law and bag limits on those, you would think you saw the last one this morning. They are like wild boars in Texas! It’s the poultry apocalypse!


MATT LULLING said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 4:35 pm

This committee has a website, Internet Contact is listed as Patricia Houde, Administrative Assistant/Internet Contactpatty.houde@leg.state.nh.usSend her an email and demand this be stopped!


GEORGE LEMONT said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Frankly I don’t think the Bobcat population justifies a hunting season. Let them be for now.


GEORGE LEMONT said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 5:06 pm

One has to wonder if some in Fish & Game like other areas of government are simply seeking anyway they can to **** up more money from poor management and simply a government out of control. All the lofty pension plans must be eating a lot of the resources like every other branch of government and decades of promises for votes. At some point Government becomes the problem when leaders make too many promises for votes and their own power.


DOUG POTTER said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 5:07 pm

First, trapping is not hunting. I have hunted for almost 50 years and I eat what I harvest. If I can’t eat it, I don’t hunt it. Second, no one really knows for sure how many bobcats we have in NH. Don’t we normally thin a herd so the remaining numbers can have sufficient food supply? I understand trying to help nature keep a proper balance. Who can honestly say we have too many bobcats that the available food supply cannot support that number? No one has proved that. Lastly, how often do you hear of bobcats being a nuisance or otherwise causing damage to property or livestock? There is absolutely no reason to put a season on this animal. Every land owner who agrees should post his or her land. I’ll buy the signs.


JIM PESCHKE said Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 7:51 pm

Are all of these astroturf carpet ****** protesters going to post their land in other areas that never ended the bobcat hunt in the first place? Sally Wood, as you consider NH and Maine to be “uncivilized” and filled with rednecks, might I suggest a more “civilized” and less redneck state on our southern border?


WELDON BOSWORTH said Friday, February 26, 2016 at 7:51 am

Wayne Derby and other proponents of opening the season. Here are the biological facts. Fish and Game got it wrong! If you spend the time to read the reports the population statistics are based upon, you will learn that the estimate of 1386 that the “harvestable surplus” is calculated from was only an estimate of the potential number of bobcats. There was no direct estimate of abundance. In addition Fish and Game has not provided any evidence that the bobcat population is self-sustaining, let alone how the additional mortality from trapping and hunting. will affect it


CAROLYN PILLSBURY said Friday, February 26, 2016 at 7:51 am

For such a small state, we sure have a high number of ********. Leave the bobcats alone. Open hunting season on ******** who want nothing more then to shoot and kill something.


MIKE HOUST said Friday, February 26, 2016 at 8:26 am

I used to trap muskrat and fox as a kid. It was a good way to make a little money, especially in semi-rural area where other options for teenage money-making were pretty much restricted to mucking out cow barns, or helping to bring in hay. I had to run my line every afternoon & evening after school, even though back then you were only required to check every 3 days, because: (1) My Dad was adamant about not making an animal suffer any longer than necessary, and (2) Predators and scavengers will gobble down trapped animals quickly. For those interested, NH trapping regulations can be found at:


LISY MEYERS said Friday, February 26, 2016 at 10:06 am

I’m with Barb White from Michigan and thank her for caring about NH, it’s wildlife and wilderness. Those things drive our economy here in NH. They also make it the place we want to call home. Trapping is not hunting. No skill required. Leave bobcats alone. Contact: Stop it now!


DAVID TAYLOR said Friday, February 26, 2016 at 11:57 am

BANGOR, Maine — Recent reports of dogs becoming caught in leg-hold traps set to catch foxes or coyotes are not particularly uncommon, according to Maine Game Warden Lt. Dan Scott, who said dog owners should not panic if their four-legged pals are caught.“I don’t think it’s happened any more [this year] than normal,” Scott said. “There were just a couple of instances this year.”According to published reports, an 84-year-old bird hunter ended up shooting his own dog after the dog was trapped, then bit him and wouldn’t let go as the hunter tried to free him in October.

– See more at:

Note from Voices of Wildlife: There are humane alternatives to trapping and killing beavers. Please check these sources or contact us for more information.

Beavers: Wetlands and Wildlife

Worth a Dam