Sportsmen’s Issues Front and Center in the Granite State

Contact: Joe Mullin, Assistant Manager, Northeastern States and States Program Assistant

Highlights

  • New Hampshire’s sportsmen and women have seen significant legislative movement in the month of April, as bills providing added protections for sporting dogs, as well as legislation expanding hunting opportunities, have made substantial headway.
  • On April 19, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee convened for a remote hearing to discuss House Bill 338 – legislation that would provide increased protections for New Hampshire’s sporting dogs.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Joe Mullin, Assistant Manager, Northeastern States, submitted a letter of support for House Bill 338 (HB 338) and spoke in favor of it during the Committee hearing.
  • On April 23, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Chris Sununu signed two pro-sportsmen’s bills into law, increasing access and opportunities for New Hampshire’s hunting community.
  • House Bill 192 (HB 192) increases the variety of calibers authorized for deer hunting with a pistol and amends the current law to allow these firearms to be loaded with up to six rounds, while House Bill 342 (HB 342) allows hunters to use lever-action carbines chambered in certain calibers to hunt in areas restricted to handgun or pistol use.

Why it Matters: For the past 30 years, hunter participation has been on a generally declining trend across the nation; however, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many states saw an increase in the number of those heading afield in the pursuit of game. Several states, such as New Hampshire, have capitalized on this heightened interest, and have sought ways to provide additional access and opportunities for their state’s sportsmen and women. Through signing House Bills 192 and 342 into law, Governor Chris Sununu reflected his strong support for the Granite State’s hunting community. With how quickly House Bill 338 has been moving through the legislative process, the message is clear – the New Hampshire General Court understands that it is time to recognize the many benefits that sporting dogs provide for the hunting community. 

April marked a relatively strong month for sportsmen’s policies in New Hampshire. House Bill 338 (HB 338) – legislation that increases the penalties for the theft of a dog or the unauthorized removal of its collar – received a public hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. As previously reported, this legislation is 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. Hunting dogs are an essential element to the success of a hunt, and their electronic/tracking collars are indispensable tools in the field. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s Joe Mullin, Assistant Manager, Northeastern States, submitted a letter of support to the Committee and testified in favor of HB 338 during its April 19 hearing.

Toward the end of the month, on April 23, Governor Chris Sununu signed two bills into law that will allow hunters in the Granite State to enjoy added opportunities during the deer season. House Bill 192 amended the current list of pistol calibers that were authorized to be used in the taking of deer. At the same time, the bill increased the number of rounds of ammunition that the pistol may be loaded with while pursuing game, raising it to six. House Bill 342 amended the fish and game laws to permit the use of “a lever-action carbine chambered in .357, .44 Magnum, or .45 Colt in any area where hunting is restricted to handgun or pistol.” 

CSF applauds the New Hampshire Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, Governor Chris Sununu, and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department for its work toward protecting and advancing the state’s sporting traditions, and for recognizing the significance of each of these bills.

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