An animal rights group in New Hampshire has petitioned the state’s Fish and Game Department over regulations for the hunting of coyotes in the state.
The petition, dated May 14th, was submitted to the NH Fish and Game Commission by department staff on Tuesday of this past week.
It requests the Department mandate a coyote hunting reporting form for all licensed hunters, similar to a form already required for licensed fur trappers and wildlife control agents.
A mock-up of the reporting form, created by the group, was included with the petition.
The reporting form, if accepted as written, would require hunters to record and submit the date of coyotes taken, location (town and WMU) of where coyotes are taken, number of coyotes taken, hunting method used (bow/arrow, firearm, bait pile), whether coyotes were taken during the night hunting season, sex of each coyote killed, and if female - whether each animal was lactating.
The report form would include each hunter’s name, address, license number, telephone number, and other identifying information.
The NHFG Commission is expected to acknowledge the petition at their June 12th meeting, and determine the next course of action regarding the petition’s requests.
The petition comes just a month and a half after the state’s legislators rejected a House Bill seeking to restrict coyote hunting in the state.
Lawmakers rendered HB 442 Inexpedient To Legislate after it was determined the state’s thriving coyote population was not being negatively impacted by an open hunt.
The Eastern Coyote (Canis Latrans var) is currently abundant and thriving throughout the state and the entire east coast, and is under no threat of extirpation or extinction.
The petition contends that HB 442 failed, in part, “because those who opposed the bill, including the NHFG Department and its Commission, testified that there was insufficient data on coyotes in NH to evaluate the effect of a closed season.”
I would contend that HB 442 really failed because its supporters lied about the position statements of biologists to lawmakers, presented specious statements regarding wild canid biology, and manipulated town conservation boards to act as political pawns - but hey, if “insufficient data” is what they’re going with, I’ll play along.
I haven’t had nearly enough time to digest the full contents and ramifications of the petition’s demands. At first glance, I don’t have a lot of heartburn over some kind of hunting report form for furbearing species such as coyotes. As a man of science - I love more data!
I do, however, feel many of the requested check-boxes on the form (method of take, time of day, etc.) are just a tad redundant.
More to the point, I fail to see how whether a coyote is hunted over a bait pile, or with a bow and arrow, is supposed to help biologists with population and management estimates, as the petition asserts.
I also have a multitude of questions regarding the fiscal impact and taxation on manpower to execute and enforce such a request.
According to reports, the NH Fish and Game Department sold over 58,000 hunting licenses in 2018. That’s a lot of coyote hunting report forms to keep track of. I suspect it will inevitably be the state’s hunters and anglers who pick up the tab for such a cost.
Add to that, New Hampshire’s anti-hunting crowd hasn’t had the best track record with interpreting wildlife population data - lest we forget last year’s debates on Red Fox trapping data followed in tandem by misinterpretations on Fisher population estimates.
Either way, I smell a public hearing in the works!
You can view the petition and the group’s coyote hunting report form as it was submitted below. A shareable copy can be downloaded here.
You can also contact your local NH county commissioner to discuss the matter and let your feelings be known by clicking here.
This post will be updated as new developments with the petition and its alterations are made known to the public.