Contact: Joe Mullin, Assistant Manager, Northeastern States
On February 10, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Assistant Manager, Northeastern States, Joseph Mullin, testified during a New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee hearing in support of House Bill 338 (HB 338) – legislation that provides increased protections for the Granite State’s sporting dogs, and the sportsmen and women who accompany them afield.
Co-sponsored by Representative Jeff Goley, New Hampshire Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair and National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council Vice President, HB 338 would make it a class B felony for the theft of a dog and a misdemeanor for the willful or malicious removal, tampering, damaging, or destruction of another individual’s dog’s collar (including tracking and electronic collars).
This legislation provides a clear recognition of the special roles that dogs play in the hunting community, including tracking game, pointing and flushing upland birds, and retrieving downed waterfowl. During the hearing, as well as in a letter of support submitted to the Committee, Mullin testified to the point that hunting dogs serve as an extension of, and work in tandem with, sportsmen and women. Electronic and tracking collars are an instrumental tool in the field, allowing hunters to keep a watchful eye over their dogs and reinforce signal recognition while pursuing game. The theft of a dog and/or removal of its collar obstructs a hunter’s ability to take part in and enjoy pursuits afield and should already be considered a violation of New Hampshire’s hunter harassment law. This legislation is a nod to the significant impact that dogs have on our nation’s sporting traditions, while also providing increased liabilities that will serve to prevent incidents of hunter harassment.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?