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NH plans public hearings on wildlife rule changes

From the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

-- Proposed rule changes affecting hunting and trapping seasons in New Hampshire for 2010 and 2011 will be discussed at three public hearings held by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. 
 
Meetings will be held on the following dates and locations:

--April 5, 6:30 p.m. – N.H. Fish and Game Region 1 Office, North Country Resource Center, 629 B Main Street, Lancaster
--April 6, 6:30 p.m. – Keene High School, 43 Arch Street, Keene
--April 8, 6:30 p.m. – N.H. Fish and Game Department Headquarters, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord

Hunters, trappers and other interested constituents are encouraged to attend the hearings and offer their input on the proposed rules. Public input is considered during the formulation of final department proposals.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department reviews the state’s hunting seasons every two years to ensure they are in line with wildlife management objectives, including those identified in the state’s Big Game Management Plan. The big game plan guides deer, moose, bear and turkey management in New Hampshire through the year 2015.

Highlights of the new rule proposals include:

Deer
In response to two preceding severe winters, Fish and Game is recommending a more conservative allocation of either-sex days for the coming season. (To view a chart comparing the proposed either-sex days with the 2009 allocation, visit the online version of this press release at http://www.huntnh.com/Newsroom/News_2010/News_2010_Q1/wildlife_rules_2010.html.)

Antlered deer restriction
In addition, the Department is proposing that archers during the month of September be restricted to the taking of antlered deer only. Of additional note, Fish and Game is proposing to eliminate the antler point restriction now in place in WMU A and to lengthen the current 9-day muzzleloader season in WMU A to the statewide standard of 11 days (for more background on this issue, visit "The Science Behind the Seasons" on the Fish and Game website at http://www.huntnh.com/Hunting/science_behind_seasons_2010.htm).

Special Antlerless Permits in Unit M
In an effort to reduce hunting pressure while still meeting Department objectives for female harvest in WMU M, Fish and Game proposes to allow up to 4,000 hunters to purchase Special Antlerless Deer Permits for Unit M, with the option to purchase a second permit at the time of the initial purchase. Last year, 6,000 Special Unit M deer permits were available, with hunters being allowed to purchase just one. Also, in a departure from previous years, Unit M Special Antlerless Deer Permits could not be used during the first two weeks of the archery season. Finally, recommendations are being made relative to the selection of deer registration stations and registration station requirements.

Moose
Fish and Game is proposing to issue 395 moose permits statewide for the 2010 and 2011 moose seasons. This represents a reduction from the 2009 allocation of 515 permits. This proposal reflects changes in the state's regional moose populations relative to existing population goals. A comparison of past and proposed N.H. moose permit allocation by region is posted at http://www.huntnh.com/Newsroom/News_2010/News_2010_Q1/wildlife_rules_2010.html.

Bear
There are no proposed changes in the regional bear seasons, with the exception that Fish and Game proposes a reduction in the number of bait sites per hunter in the Central Region, from two to one. This leaves the White Mountain Region as the only bear management region in the state that allows two bait sites per hunter. Fish and Game also proposes to eliminate the need for a special permit to take bear with hounds; hound owners would still need a permit to run hounds.

Turkey
Fish and Game is proposing the addition of four Wildlife Management Units – J1, J2, L and M in the south and eastern parts of the state to the five-day fall shotgun season. This means that both the southwest and southeast portions of the state will be open to fall shotgun hunting for turkeys. This change reflects the continued growth of turkey populations in southeast New Hampshire. No other season changes are recommended to wild turkey seasons. Recommendations for turkey registration stations, similar to those for deer, are also being proposed.

Furbearers
Fish and Game is proposing to open the trapping and hunting seasons for certain aquatic furbearers two weeks earlier in WMUs A – F (northern N.H.), to facilitate ice-free trapping. In these units, the trapping season would start on October 15 instead of on November 1, when it opens in the rest of the state. The coyote trapping season is proposed to be extended to April 10 (it currently ends on Dec. 31 in the north and Jan. 15 in the south).

Small Game
Fish and Game is not proposing any changes in the small game seasons.

For more details, the complete wildlife rulemaking notice, with original and proposed rule language for these proposals and a number of others, can be viewed on the Fish and Game website. Go to http://www.wildnh.com/Legislative/Notices_summary.htm and click on Wildlife Rules for 2010-2011.

Written comments must be received by April 28.  Send to: comments@wildlife.nh.gov. (use subject line Comments on Wildlife Rules). Write:  Executive Director, N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; or fax to (603) 271-1438.

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