Opinion: Tell legislators you support HB 1308 to end the capture of snowshoe hares for dog training

Published in the Manchester Ink Link
Jan 2, 2022

Did you know that New Hampshire beagle clubs are allowed to capture wild snowshoe hares for training hunting dogs?

After capture, they are transported to unfamiliar terrain, kept in fenced-in enclosures, and used in competitions called “field trials.” During these trials, beagles are released in packs to track the hares. Although the object is not to kill the snowshoe hares, the hares naturally believe they are in danger while being chased. For a hare, fear itself can be fatal.

This practice violates the right of snowshoe hares to live in their natural habitat, where they were born. Eric Stohl, who chairs the NH Fish and Game Commission, agrees that putting wild snowshoe hares into captivity for dog training should end. Stohl recently stated hare hunters should train their dogs in the wild as other hunters do.

Another good reason not to take snowshoe hares from the wild for dog training is that they are a “keystone species,” which means they are essential members of the ecosystem. Snowshoe hares change from brown to white in the winter. NH’s milder winters mean they are increasingly conspicuously white against a brown landscape, making them more vulnerable than ever to being killed by hunters or natural predators.

Please help snowshoe hares by supporting House Bill 1308 to end their capture for dog training. The bill hearing will be Friday, January 14 at 2:45 pm. Email the Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee at HouseFishandGameCommittee@leg.state.nh.us stating your support for HB 1308. Contact voicesofwildlifeinnh@gmail.com for more information.

Linda Dionne is a wildlife advocate with Voices of Wildlife in NH.

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