New Hampshire's trappers have a rich history of lending a helping hand to wildlife conservation and sustainability. the state's trappers willingly furnish their knowledge and expertise for national reintroduction projects, or to assist with data collection and study on local wildlife populations.
NH Bobcat Study
New Hampshire Fish & Game partnered with the University of New Hampshire initiating a comprehensive bobcat study with the ground work starting in the fall of 2009. Distribution, population abundance, habitat use, habitat connectivity, and methods to index populations were studied. This comprehensive research project was completed December 2014 and has provided a wealth of knowledge about bobcats in New Hampshire. NH's trappers volunteered their time and expertise to live trap bobcats for the radio-collar study. The NH Trapper's Association purchased bobcat cage traps, and trappers assisted with constructing, baiting, monitoring and maintaining operational traps throughout the state. Trappers reported catches, and also assisted researchers with fitting cats with radio-collars.
West Virginia Fisher Reintroduction
In 1969, West Virginia reintroduced 23 fisher obtained by New Hampshire trappers. Fisher populations in West Virginia have since expanded throughout that state and into western Maryland, northern Virginia, and southwestern Pennsylvania. (Click here to read more)
Pennsylvania Fisher Reintroduction
In 1997, NH trappers assisted with capturing 175 Fisher which were trans-located to Pennsylvania to assist with that state's reintroduction program. Pennsylvania now regulates limited Fisher trapping seasons due to their successful population stabilization.
Connecticut Fisher Reintroduction
A project to reintroduce this native mammal into northwestern Connecticut was initiated by the Wildlife Division in 1988. Funds from reimbursement of trapping wild turkeys in Connecticut for release in Maine were used to purchase fishers caught by cooperating trappers in New Hampshire and Vermont. In what is termed a "soft release," fishers were penned and fed at the release site for a couple of weeks prior to being released. Through radio and snow tracking, biologists later found that the fishers that were released in northwestern Connecticut had high survival rates and successfully reproduced. As a result of this project, a viable, self-sustaining population of this native mammal is now established in western Connecticut. Fishers found throughout eastern Connecticut are a result of natural range expansion. In 2005, Connecticut instituted its first modern day regulated trapping season for fishers. Most northern states have regulated fisher trapping seasons.
Pennsylvania River Otter Reintroduction
The PA River Otter Reintroduction Program was instituted in 1982 to restore river otter populations to their historic range in Pennsylvania. Otters were obtained by live-trapping from trappers in Louisiana, New York, and New Hampshire. In 1992, otters trapped were transported to holding facilities at Pennsylvania State University before being released to selected areas throughout the state. 3 Otter were trapped and trans-located from New Hampshire with the assistance of NHFG and licensed NH trappers.
Today, otter populations in Pennsylvania are increasing or stable across their range. The most dense otter populations occur in the northwestern and northeastern counties. As Pennsylvania otter populations continue to increase and expand, monitoring efforts have determined a regulated harvest is feasible. Sound management will safeguard Pennsylvania's healthy otter population for future generations to enjoy.