NH Fish and Game Rulemaking for the Snowshoe Hare

Please Help Snowshoe Hares in 2021
April 16, 2021 at 9 am JLCAR is taking up the snowshoe hare proposed rule by NHFG. We are asking JLCAR to object to the rule. If you want to listen to the hearing go to the JLCAR website REGULAR MEETING (state.nh.us) At this page there is a link you can copy and paste with instructions on how to attend the meeting.
NH Fish and Game is Recommending an amendment to Fis 806.5 IT IS NOT ENOUGH! As you will remember Voices of Wildlife petitioned NH Fish and Game (NHFG) in 2020 to Repeal Fis 806.5 which allows beagle dog clubs to capture our snowshoe hares and use them in dog training. This below is what they have decided to do instead of a full repeal. They are recommending changing the health inspection of the snowshoe hares so that the beagle club doesn’t pick the hare for the yearly veterinarian inspection. Instead, a member of Fish and Game law enforcement will choose the hare for the inspection. This change doesn’t go far enough in protecting the hares.
The only way to really protect snowshoe hares from this practice is to end it entirely!
See the full recommendation of NHFG here: ip-snowshoe-hare-11302020.pdf (state.nh.us) If you view this you will see what is proposed is a very minor improvement. For example, the beagle club will notify NHFG when to come for a hare for inspection. Would not a surprise visit be a better way to check on these animals?
Snowshoe Hare Facts

Keystone Species
They help in forest development by what they eat and they are essential for the survival of many other species. They are the primary food source of the Canada lynx, a Endangered Species Act listed threatened species.

Native to NH
They are most abundant in our northern three counties.

Large Hind Feet
Toes are furry and spread out allowing them to stay on top of deep snow and run fast to escape predators.

Also called the Varying Hare because they Change Color
They change color, brown to white, by the length of the day, not because of the amount of snow or temperature. So with climate change causing less snow coverage, they are more vulnerable to predators when they are white and the ground is not.

Prolific Breeder
They can have up to four litters a year with three young in each litter. Young are called leverets.
Please Take This Opportunity to Speak for NH’s Snowshoe Hares.It Has Never Been Easier.Just send us an email giving us your Name and NH Town if you agree that this practice Must End.voicesofwildlifeinnh@gmail.comWe will add your name to our comment, which will include the information below. NHFG asked us, because of this unprecedented time with staff working remotely, to do it this way rather than having everyone write their own comments. This will make it easier for them to keep track, and we are happy to comply.
1, Fis 806.05 is the NH Fish and Game regulation that allows beagle dog clubs to capture wild NH snowshoe hares and use them to train their dogs. That these captive hares are not given the proper care is evident by their high mortality rate. From year to year, there are none to few hares left from the previous year. The clubs are unable to successfully propagate this animal that is known as a prolific breeder. After over ten years of allowing beagle clubs this practice, predation is still occurring at the clubs. The clubs are guilty of inhumane treatment to the captive hares, such as releasing groups of beagle dogs to chase the hares in what are called field hare trials. As is commonly known, the sustained flight response in a hare can result in death. For training purposes, they put a beagle in an enclosure with a hare. The hare, being a flight prey animal, is terrorized but unable to flee.
2, NH Fish and Game recommends that wild animals should not be relocated, as relocation causes many problems. But they allow beagle dog clubs to do just that. The captive hares are removed from their known habitat and put in a strange habitat that is not suitable for them. Snowshoe hare habitat needs special requirements such as heavy thicketed areas to escape from predators. Snowshoe hare at the beagle clubs are not breeding and have a high mortality rate. The clubs admit predation does occur even though they are required to protect the hares in compliance with Fis 804.09 that states the hares shall be held in enclosures that protect them from “all other animals, domestic or wild.
3, Snowshoe hare are a keystone species and serve as important prey for the Canada lynx and American marten (both species are rare and protected in NH). Most of the snowshoe hare captured for the beagle clubs are from northern NH, where Canada lynx have been sighted and where the American marten resides. Fis 806.05 is potentially a violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Canada lynx are listed as threatened under the ESA.

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