Letter: Wildlife for sale

Published: 1/7/2020 12:01:50 AM
Modified: 1/7/2020 12:01:18 AM

As New Hampshire Fish and Game begins its biennial rulemaking, setting seasons and bag limits for trapping and hunting for the next two years, it is an excellent time to consider the economic value of New Hampshire’s furbearers.

Based upon a review of last year’s Fish and Game Annual Harvest Summary, I learned that last year 558 resident trapping licenses were sold. For a $38.50 license (which includes a $2.50 “Habitat Fee”), trappers can trap an unlimited number of furbearers, except for fishers and otters, which have a bag limit. During the last season, there were a total of 2,849 furbearers trapped; an average of $7.54 per animal.

Are there economic benefits to New Hampshire from trapping other than license fees? Not really. Unlike hunting, which generates substantial income through rooms, meals and related taxes, there is no appreciable attendant income to New Hampshire from trapping as most of it is done locally by residents.

I doubt most New Hampshire citizens would consider an average price of $7.54 for the life of a furbearer a fair value. There is little question these species, especially the predatory species like foxes and fishers whose populations are in decline, are significantly more valuable for the ecological services they provide to New Hampshire’s landscape as well as to residents and tourists who value the opportunity for wildlife viewing and other non-consumptive uses.

Get involved. Write your Fish and Game commissioner. Tell them to stop trapping predators.

WELDON BOSWORTH

Gilford




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