NH Fish & Game’s Distemper Study
New Hampshire state biologists have recently received increased calls of sick or deceased fox and fisher turning up in suburban yards. What was originally believed to be isolated cases of illness or rabies, have now been confirmed as an outbreak of distemper virus. As always, NH trappers’ pledge to aid in conservation of furbearer species and work as the “boots on the ground” to monitor populations in the field has been fulfilled.
NH Fish & Game is currently conducting a comprehensive study to investigate distemper (CDV) impacts on New Hampshire’s furbearers. As of December 2018, the department has requested turn-in of carcasses from grey foxes hunted or trapped during the legal hunting and trapping seasons. Tissue samples from over 20 different animals will be taken and tested for the presence of distemper.
Continued Grey fox research:
"Regulated hunting and trapping seasons have been heavily criticized by local protectionist and environmental groups recently, citing a continued decline in the amount of animals caught and reported by trappers over the last few decades. While many of these groups have attempted to blame the state’s trappers for a decline, many other factors haven’t been figured into those arguments; including extensive habitat loss, expanded predatory impact (coyotes and bobcats), continued decline of skilled trapper experience, and a potential distemper outbreak.
We reported on the debates as they reached a boiling point this past spring over fox trapping seasons. In the end, the Department’s rule-making commission opted to reduce statewide fisher take to a 2 animal limit. The state’s fox seasons (for both red and grey species) were left as they have been pending future research into population dynamics.
For more information about the NH Grey Fox study, contact us via our Contact page, or contact Patrick Tate, NH Fish and Game’s Furbearer Project Leader, via the department’s Wildlife Division at (603) 271-2461."