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Hunter’s Corner: Getting wild at Barry Conservation Camp

An amazing metamorphism has been taking place at Barry Conservation Camp the past few years. Generous contributions of money, labor and materials have transformed a declining facility into a shining star.

2012 was a transitional year where campers experienced the best of the best when it came to being exposed to wild New Hampshire at its very best.

The latest goal for Camp Barry is the funding of the Barry Camp Fund, targeted to raise $100,000. Its purpose is to fund future operation costs and repairs and improvements. Mark Beauchesne, in addition to his many functions, is the new Barry Camp coordinator, working with Larry Barker of UNH Cooperative Extension 4-H. If you or your business want to invest in New Hampshire’s future, you are encouraged to contact Mark at Mark.beauchesne@wildlife.nh.gov or 271-6355.

Registrations are now open for summer sessions at Camp Barry:

Session I – June 23-28, 4-H Shooting Sports, ages 10-16, cost $485

Session II – June 30-July 3, Mini Camp, ages 8-12, cost $285

Session III – July 7-12, Fish Camp, ages 10-16, cost $485

Session IV – July 14-19, 4-H On the Wild Side, ages 10-16, cost $485

Session V – Hunter Education, ages 12-16, cost $485

Session VI – July 28-Aug. 2, Great North Woods Adventure, ages 12-16, cost $485

For more information, contact the 4-H at 788-4961 or extention.unh.edu/4H/4HCamps.htm. These sessions are an amazing opportunity for New Hampshire youth to experience part of New Hampshire that is only available at Camp Barry.

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There have been three bills with public hearings that would have a dramatic effect on Fish and Game in the past two weeks. The most consequential bill, sponsored by Rep. Gene Chandler of Bartlett, would establish a payment plan for those rescued by Fish and Game and others. Currently if you register a boat, ATV or snowmobile, you are charged a $1 fee to cover rescue. The rest of the rescue expenses are paid by license fees from hunters, fisherman and trappers. This is a most unfair system that has not prompted any noticeable concern from the legislature in the past.

A friend on mine hunts and fishes in Colorado each year and pays an annual $10 permit. Colorado has in place a very workable system in which if you want to hike, hunt, fish or otherwise recreate in Colorado, you have a choice (with the exception of those 65 or older) where if you pay the annual $10 fee and if you need rescuing, you incur no charges; if you fail to pay the $10 fee, you are billed the full cost of your extraction. There is more remote land in Colorado than in New Hampshire, so you can understand the wisdom of this plan.

Currently if you want to park in the White Mountain National Forrest, you either pay a daily fee or pay for an annual permit. The Chandler plan is in keeping with other user fees and distributes the costs on a rational basis.

The most dangerous rescues take place during winter months when sometimes ill-prepared hikers venture out. The bravery of the ground forces that work to secure a positive solution is unequalled. The problems confronted with those who fly helicopters in winter months with the possibilities of icing and wind sheers are unnerving. The bottom line is it is time for the free riders to end the free ride.

On a budgetary note, Fish and Game receives no general funds to support its mission, save a $50,000 appropriation for non-game functions that must be matched. To respond to a 3-percent budget reduction request in the second year of the biennium is a foolish reduction, as it has no impact on the general fund. In a budget or two back, $550,000 was looted for the lake access fund that cost anglers more than $2 million on funds that could have created greater fishing access.

Two bills have been introduced this session involving baiting for deer and bear that have been introduced in prior sessions. They justifiably went down in flames before and should receive the same treatment again. So what is baiting? It is the placing of salt, fruits, nuts, grain or other foods to attract deer and bear. HB 258 prohibits baiting for deer and HB 56 prohibits baiting for bear. Currently landowners are exempt from baiting restrictions. For a non-landowner, a baiting permit must be signed by the landowner. The permit along with map is then presented in person to a conservation officer. There are more extensive regulations to follow, but the essence is that this is a highly controlled process.

Our current bear population numbers are at a record high. The harvest of bears fluctuates with the availability of hard and soft mast. The lower the amounts of natural feed, the higher the kill numbers; the higher availability of feed, the lower the kill numbers.

The three methods of bear hunting are still hunting, bait hunting and hound hunting. Hunting with hounds is the least common form of bear hunting owing to expense of maintaining the hounds and landowner access. Still hunting is a challenge as bears have a keen sense of smell and hearing. The use of baiting for bear is the most consistent, efficient humane method of bear hunting, according to the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation. It also allows for the targeting of specific bears. The use of baiting for deer has similar attributes.

There are about 4,500 bear hunters and about 60,000 deer hunters who make significant economic contributions to the state. In both cases, bear and deer, the current system isn’t broken and doesn’t need fixing.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at hunterscorner@aol.com.)

Legacy Comments2

You are absolutely correct about baiting. Too many hunters and property owners do this and they should be fined heavily for that. One issue is that some property owners and others are in bed with the Fish & Game folks who are friends and buddies.

I agree with Washburn on two out of three of these bills. I agree that we need to find a more equitable system of paying the huge costs of rescuing the ill-prepared. Make them pony up some money up front to help cover the cost of the inevitable rescues. As for bear baiting - it is sometimes the only method with which you can actually come in contact with a bear. Therefore I think we should leave it alone. Baiting for deer, however should be outlawed - as it has been in Vermont for years. F&G knows it's bad to feed deer in the winter. As long as it remains ok to bait them during the hunting season then folks who feed in winter will keep doing so, and feel justified. We need to make it illegal. Deer hunting is not like bear hunting. Anyone who doesn't know enough about the habits and habitat of the whitetailed deer to put themselves in range of a deer during the very generous three month long season shouldn't be able to resort to baiting. They should bone up on their woodsmanship, tracking skills, sign identification skills, marksmanship skills, scent control regimen, etc, etc, etc.

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