September 28, 2023

Understanding Wildlife Conservation

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I read yesterday a letter to the editor of a newspaper in New England. The complaint from the reader/writer was that New Hampshire’s fish and wildlife department wasn’t “conserving” wildlife because they didn’t reduce the number of hunting permits for deer when Maine and Vermont did.

The writer first claimed that because New Hampshire was “wedged between” Maine and Vermont, and those two states suffered deer mortality due to a severe winter, that, “Presumably, the impact on New Hampshire’s deer herd suffered the same toll…”

It’s difficult to respond on a case by case basis, just as well as it is difficult to offer criticism on a case by case basis unless one has all the facts, along with the background to understand those facts. I’m not saying we all should be quiet and blindly let any government agency do anything without keeping a close eye on them and speaking out when necessary.

With all this in mind, let me say that a properly, well-operated and truthful, scientific wildlife management department, make their decisions based on what is best for each designated wildlife management district. In short this means that simply because Maine and New Hampshire suffered deer losses due to a “severe winter,” New Hampshire suffered the same throughout the entire state. Please study and understand the components of the Severe Winter indexes and how these are measured according to geographic regions of each state. It’s quite interesting…even if you don’t agree with it.

If we can actually compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges, then perhaps one might have reason to think New Hampshire is operating afoul. If it can be proven that science and the welfare of deer is being exploited for money, or some other sinister reason, then by all means show us the facts.

The same writer also complains that she paid “extra money” to purchase “moose plates” believing that money was being used to, “fund conservation efforts for the benefit of the state’s wildlife,” and seemingly believes that because New Hampshire isn’t reducing or ending hunting, her money is not being spent wisely.

I have no idea exactly what her money is being spent on. I can, however, attempt to reassure the writer that a well-allotted hunting season on game animals, i.e. deer, moose, etc., is an important and integral part of a well-proven, scientific, and healthy management plan.

In addition, the writer appears a bit panicked because she has heard that the fish and game department is considering a “hunting season” on bobcats.

Again, I don’t know the details of this proposal, but assuming (a bad thing, I know) that the New Hampshire fish and game department has scientifically determined that there are too many bobcats that are negatively affecting the anthropogenic “balancing” of wildlife, then we should support that action for the betterment of all wildlife species.

There is a balance somewhere between collecting hunting license fees, dispersing the money to wildlife programs and knowing when to increase, reduce or end hunting of a certain species. I pays to be concerned and become involved in that process. It also requires a solid understanding of the total science behind these efforts. It’s not all just about societal demands…yet.