Weldon Bosworth: Where have all the fishers gone?

December 01, 2018, Concord Monitor

To the Editor,

The season for trapping fishers begins today and continues until Dec. 31.. Hunters can shoot fishers from today through the end of January.

Fishers have never had it easy in New Hampshire. The value of their fur has driven them to such scarcity in New Hampshire that on several occasions their season has been closed.

Over the last two decades there has again been a steady decline in the number of fishers trapped. In fact, the number of fishers trapped has declined from about 1,200 fishers in 1997 to only 44 fishers in 2017, a decrease of 96 percent.

Will N.H. fishers soon join other N.H. furbearing predators who have been hunted to extinction (mountain lion and Eastern wolf) or trapped to such scarcity that they no longer have an open season (lynx, marten and bobcat)? Probably. And the red and gray fox, whose populations have decreased over 60 percent in the last two decades, according to Fish and Game trapping records, may soon join those species in their scarcity.

Who is responsible? N.H. trappers, the Fish and Game Commission and the Fish and Game Department are all complicit. The trappers, who insist on carrying on a “tradition” even if the consequences are essentially eliminating a valuable component of N.H.’s ecosystem; the commission, which chooses pleasing its trapper constituency over science and its public trust responsibility; the department, for not insisting upon more science-based management of these wildlife populations. Lastly, N.H. residents who willfully ignore the plunder of their public trust resources, bear responsibility.

What will happen to ecosystem integrity and biodiversity when the vast majority of furbearing predators are removed from the N.H. landscape? Science has long had the answer to this question. Unfortunately, it appears no one in New Hampshire is willing to listen.

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Alexander Zerba: Compassion fashion

, NH Union Leader

To the Editor,

Each year in New Hampshire thousands of animals are killed for their fur.

Cruel practices used include leghold traps, bludgeoning and drowning to death by fur trappers and electrocution in fur farming.

New Hampshire has one fur farm in Lyndeborough and more than 500 fur trappers.

Unable to eat, keep warm, or defend themselves against predators, many animals caught in traps die horrible deaths before the trapper arrives to kill them.

Others suffer in the traps for days until they are caught and killed.

Farm-raised fur comes from animals kept in tiny, filthy cages.

There are no laws regulating how animals on fur farms are to be housed or killed.

The techniques used to kill animals on fur farms include neck snapping, anal electrocution and carbon monoxide or dioxide “gas chambers” that often prolong the death of animals and allow them to regain consciousness while being skinned.

With so many fashionable fur alternatives available, there is no reason for people to wear animal skins.

We are not survivalists.

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William Trently: Shorten coyote season

November 18, 2018, Concord Monitor

To the Editor,

The Eastern coyote, essentially a shy dog that is 9 percent wolf and looks like a medium-sized German shepherd, is an integral part of the ecosystem and beneficial to humans. These clever, intelligent omnivores help control small mammal populations and, as scavengers, help keep our communities clean of carrion. They eat animals that harbor Lyme disease. According to New Hampshire Fish and Game, “the great majority of them don’t prey on livestock” and “pose little risk to people.”

But some people need a dog to kick around. For this, they have the coyote, denigrating these canines for various dramatized reasons. And so these “nuisance varmints” are the only furbearers hunted year-round with no limit on how many can be taken. These dogs may be trapped, killed at night and lured with calling devices, and there are killing contests with prizes awarded. These dogs, who generally bond with a mate for years or for life, would be justified asking why we wanted so badly to break them.

But besides diminishing the benefits of having coyotes around, are the man’s strategies actually facilitating more interspecies conflicts? For example, it seems counterproductive to disrupt coyote families during April to October when young pups are taught to avoid humans and their property. If you kill a parent, training falls short and pups may be more inclined to become nuisances.

Fish and Game’s own biologist recommended closing the season from April to July. Can we at least give them a break for these few months?

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Elisabeth Marino: Put end to wasteful, cruel “canned” pheasant hunt

Oct 2, 2018, The Conway Daily Sun

To the editor:

From Oct. 1-Dec. 31, hunters and their dogs will go to 64 different locations around New Hampshire that have been stocked with a total of 11,535 adult, farm-raised, non-native red-necked pheasants and “hunt” them.

This is essentially a “canned hunt” as these farm-raised birds have no survival skills. Hunters are told when and where the birds are stocked, and they begin showing up and shooting as soon as the birds are taking their first flights of freedom.

There is no challenge to hunting these birds. Some hunters kick the birds to get them to fly so they can kill them. It caters particularly to unskilled hunters who want an easy kill.

Pheasant hunting license fees pay for the birds each year, but overhead costs are paid for by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. This yearly hunt is quite expensive to orchestrate, as one might imagine. To run the hunt, the additional expenses include salaries for those supervising, trucks, truck drivers, biologists, F&G employees to distribute the birds, to mention just a few. One could surmise that the cost has increased substantially over the years.

There are many problems with this Fish and Game “event”: This is not a fair chase hunt but is basically a “canned hunt.” Salaries to Fish and Game employees and other overhead expenses to run this event are NOT covered by the fees that the hunters pay.

This is animal cruelty in that a number of the birds don’t survive the journey from farm to field. Many have broken wings, broken legs and other serious injuries when they arrive from the farm.

The Fish and Game Department has been struggling with keeping itself relevant and funded. Ending this hunt would save the department thousands of dollars that could be siphoned into essential services like the Search and Rescue Program.

I find it abhorrent that my tax money may be used to subsidize this farce of a hunt. If you agree, please contact the Fish and Game Department.

With enough public pressure perhaps we can put an end to this wasteful, unnecessary and cruel “event.”

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Linda Dionne: Protect your lands from bait-and-sit hunting this fall

Aug 9, 2018, The Conway Daily Sun

To the editor:

N.H. Fish and Game has been in the news a lot lately. Because of that, some in the media are supporting hunting and opposing those of us who work for the protection of wild animals. Many N.H. residents are not opposed to fair chase hunting to put food on the table. The problem is that fair chase hunting is a rare experience in today’s hunting.

Hunters are their own worst enemy. They bait and sit in a tree stand, waiting for an animal to be enticed to a pile of junk food and then kill that animal while he or she is peacefully eating. What kind of hunting is that? And while I am at it, what is the deal with the tree stand? Whatever happened to using skills, such as tracking, where the animal has a fair chance of getting away, as the Boone and Crockett Club states is fair chase hunting?

Hunters chase bears with hounds up a tree and then shoot. Sometimes it is a lactating female who is leaving cubs behind. You can watch hunters do this on YouTube, hunters from right here in N.H. They are so proud of themselves they videotape for the world to see. But most of the world is appalled and root for the innocent and helpless bear. Many landowners in N.H. are posting their land after viewing these heartbreaking videos.

N.H. residents, please join the wildlife protection movement in N.H. Google the groups in N.H. working to give N.H.’s wild animals a fair shake and get in touch with them. And if you want to post your land, there is a group I am affiliated with, the N.H. Animal Rights League, that gives out free NO HUNTING signs for your property. There is no time to lose; bear hunting begins Sept. 1.