March 16, 2020

New Hampshire: Constructive Regulatory Package Proposed by NHFG Department

Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Senior Coordinator

Increased opportunities for New Hampshire’s sportsmen and women may be on the horizon as the New Hampshire Fish and Game (NHFG) Department has proposed several regulatory changes that will have sportsmen and women eager for the upcoming seasons. If approved, the Granite State may see the authorization of 28 gauges and .410s while turkey hunting, and the continuation of science-based methods for preventing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), among other regulatory changes. 

Current turkey hunting laws in New Hampshire require the use of shotguns between 10 and 20 gauge. The proposed NHFG Department regulation would permit the use of a 28 gauge and .410, requiring shot sizes of #7 through #9, a minimum shot density of 18 grams per cubic centimeter, and a minimum barrel length of 18 inches.

The concept of authorizing the .410 for this purpose has been an especially contested issue in the Granite State this year. On January 28, the New Hampshire House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee held a public hearing for House Bill 1108 – legislation that would have allowed for youth hunters participating in a youth turkey hunt weekend to use a .410 gauge shotgun. During the hearing, the NHFG Department provided testimony in opposition to the bill, reasoning that it was considering opening up the use of this particular gauge for all sportsmen and women while pursuing turkeys. In a moment of solidarity, both the bill sponsor and the Department recognized that they each were trying to achieve the common goal of opening up greater prospects for hunting within the State. However, the Department, to its credit, sought to open 28 gauge and .410 uses up for all individuals – not just youth hunters — during a specific weekend.

Another measure outlined in the NHFG Department’s proposed regulations is the reauthorization of protections against the spreading of CWD. If reapproved, New Hampshire would continue to prohibit the import into the state of any cervid carcass or parts of a cervid carcass from CWD positive jurisdictions, except for the following exemptions: de-boned meat; antlers; antlers attached to skull caps from which all soft tissue has been removed; upper canine teeth (from which all soft tissues have been removed); hides or capes with no part of head attached; finished taxidermy mounts; or tissues prepared and packaged for use by diagnostic or research laboratories. CWD is a progressive, fatal, degenerative neurological disease occurring in farmed and free-ranging deer, elk, and moose.

The NHFG Department will be collecting written testimony and submissions related to the proposed regulatory changes until April 7, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. For further information on submitting materials to the Department, please follow this link. CSF will continue to provide updates as they are available.

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?

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