With thanks to months of activism, earlier this month the New Hampshire Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules voted to object to the reopening proposal
on a trapping and hunting season on bobcats! The committee voted that the bobcat proposal is in violation of federal law under the Endangered Species Act because Canada Lynx and bobcats share the same range in NH. Opening a season on bobcats could than in turn harm the endangered Canada Lynx. The committee also took value in court decisions in other states have found state wildlife agencies liable for bobcat trapping because of the impacts on the Canada Lynx and therefore, the proposal was not a financially responsible decision. During the NH Fish and Game Commission meeting where the commissioners voted on passing this proposal, some commissioners expressed concern that this proposal will be costing the department money they did not have. However, the commission went ahead and passed the proposal by a close one vote, 5-4.
What does this mean? The NH Department of Fish & Game now has 45 days, from April 1st, to address the two objections to the proposal or they can choose to withdraw the proposal completely. Simultaneously, the House Fish & Game & Marine Resources Committee (a legislative committee not associated with the Fish & Game Department or Commission) will review the merits of the bobcat season.
The Endangered Species Coalition added in the wonderful victory through email action alerts and motivating activists to attend and testify at public hearings. I would like to give a big shout out and thank to NH chapter of HSUS and Voices for Wildlife for their extremely hard work advocating for this victory.
However, we are not out of the woods yet. We will be monitoring both the agency’s response to the objections as well as the legislative committee’s review of the proposal and will alert you via our Northeast Wolf and Carnivore Activist Facebook Group as we hear more. In the meantime, enjoy this significant victory for the bobcats and thank you for your continued advocacy on this issue!
If you haven’t please join the Northeast Wolf and Carnivore Activist Facebook Group to get live updates and help make a difference for our wildlife.
UPDATE 4-13-16: The N.H. Fish & Game Department has withdrawn the proposed bobcat hunting and trapping season: https://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/wildlife/bobcat-season-proposal.html