June 17, 2019

Northeast: Legislators and Animal Rights Activists Take a Bite at Coyote Hunting

Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Coordinator

In the Northeast region, coyotes are making a fair amount of noise – in state capitols and state fish and game departments. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHFG) and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) have seen their fair share of coyote hunting-related issues this year.

On March 20, New Hampshire House Bill 442 (HB 442), which would have prohibited hunting coyotes during certain months to coincide with coyote pup rearing, failed to pass the House. HB 442 would have taken away the wildlife management abilities of the NHFG. The bill’s failure was due in part to efforts by New Hampshire Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus leadership, who provided staunch opposition towards this restrictive bill.

Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Jeff Goley and John Klose distributed a Dear Colleague letter in which they encouraged their legislative peers to oppose HB 442, ensuring that grounded scientific principles continue to drive fish and wildlife management decision-making. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) assisted the Caucus in these opposition efforts, in order to protect and advance sound wildlife management principles and to protect the Granite State’s sportsmen and women.

More recently, the NHFG has found themselves dealing with the issue yet again, as an animal rights activist group requested that it implement mandatory reporting by hunters following the lawful take of all coyotes.

Massachusetts has also been faced with anti-hunting sentiments spreading within the region. In early April, MassWildlife hosted a coyote listening session, in which staff members from legislative offices and MassWildlife answered questions and listened to public comments on the topic of coyote hunting. Attendees also shared concerns about the concept of coyote hunting “contests,” which was also voiced through legislative proposals in New Jersey, New York, and Vermont in recent years.

In fact, tournament bans are still required to abide by state fish and wildlife regulations, and these opportunities are effective management tools of varmint species. The next MassWildlife listening session is going to be held on Tuesday, June 18 in Buzzards Bay, MA.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will continue to work alongside state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses and state fish and wildlife agencies to advance wildlife management policies that are guided by sound scientific principles.

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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