By Holly Ramer | The Associated Press
February 2, 2016
Questioned twice in less than 24 hours about a proposal to bring back a bobcat hunting season, the presidential hopeful takes a stand on the issue.
NASHUA, N.H. — It’s not an issue he gets asked back home in New Jersey: What to do about the growing numbers of bobcats? But when you’re campaigning for president in New Hampshire, you need to take a position on issues that crop up in rural life.
Questioned twice in less than 24 hours about a New Hampshire proposal to bring back a bobcat hunting season, GOP presidential hopeful Gov. Chris Christie did a little overnight research and came back with his answer: He’s for the hunt.
At a Nashua town hall meeting Monday night, a woman told Christie she wants to conserve land for wildlife and asked him what he thinks about killing bobcats. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department recently proposed allowing a bobcat hunting and trapping season for the first time in two decades, and a packed hearing in Concord had much opposition and some support.
“Honestly, I have no damn idea,” Christie said. He jokingly complained that after starting his day at 5 a.m. in Iowa, he’d now have to go back to his hotel room and research the issue on the Internet.
“You did this to me!” he said. “Someone’s going to ask me the bobcat question tomorrow. I can say I don’t know once, but I can’t say it twice.”
Someone did just that as he spoke at a Salvation Army breakfast in Nashua on Tuesday.
“I now have a firm position: I am for hunting bobcats,” said Christie, adding that he realized the woman who questioned him Monday wouldn’t like that answer. “A little research, and one vote lost,” he said.
“For all of you who want bobcats killed, I’m your guy,” he said, joking that other candidates have yet to take a position on the issue.
“They will be following my lead today,” he said. “That’s exactly what America needs: Leadership on bobcats.” The animal is an endangered species in New Jersey.
New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Commission is proposing to issue 50 bobcat permits for trapping and hunting through a lottery. If adopted, the proposal would take effect this December.
Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and Quebec have bobcat seasons, although none limit their take using a permit system as proposed by New Hampshire.
The department says the bobcat population could sustain modest harvest and still accommodate slow growth.
Opponents argue there is no reason to kill bobcats.
A second public hearing on the proposal was scheduled Tuesday night in Lancaster.