Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Coordinator
On February 4, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) New England States Coordinator, Joseph Mullin, testified during a New Hampshire House Fish and Game and Marine Resources Committee hearing in opposition to House Bill 1571 (HB 1571).
This bill is an outward effort to appoint non-consumptive users to the New Hampshire Fish and Game (NHFG) Commission, opening the doors to the real possibility that members of the anti-sportsmen’s community will enter into the Commission and implement their preservationist ideals that run counter to the Commission’s duty to implement conservation-related policies.
The hearing included lively testimony from both opponents and supporters of HB 1571. Mullin met with numerous in-state and national conservation organizations leading up to and throughout the hearing. Collectively, these entities argued to protect the current structure and integrity of the NHFG Commission, which presently requires each member to be “[a]n active outdoorsman holding a resident fishing, hunting, or trapping license in at least 5 of the 10 years preceding the appointment.” HB 1571 poses to dilute the representation of sportsmen and women on the Commission by prohibiting more than 6 of the 11 members from being resident license holders for fishing, hunting, or trapping in at least 5 of the 10 years preceding the appointment.
America’s early sportsmen and women drove the efforts that led to the formation of state-level fish and wildlife departments and regulations. These individuals implemented self-imposed regulations with the intent of supporting our nation’s fish and wildlife, and today’s sportsmen and women continue to work alongside their respective state fish and wildlife departments towards this goal. Apart from their strong role in the development of these departments, sportsmen and women have served as their primary source of conservation funding through the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF). In 2019 alone, New Hampshire’s sportsmen and women generated over $19 million dollars for conservation through revenue derived from license sales and excise taxes on sporting-related goods through the ASCF. HB 1571 calls for Commission representation by “non-consumptive recreational clubs” – entities that have not demonstrated the same level of commitment to conservation funding as sportsmen and women – to sit at the table and carve the future for New Hampshire’s hunting, fishing, and trapping community.
In New Hampshire, and across the nation, CSF will continue to fight against any attempt to include anti-sportsmen on commissions to state fish and wildlife agencies. CSF will provide updates on the status of HB 1571 as they are made 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?