Officials say idea didn’t have support of lawmakers, public

By Amy Coveno | WMUR 9 ABC


—In the wake of public outcry, the Fish and Game Commission is withdrawing a proposal to allow bobcat hunting and trapping in New Hampshire.

The commission had voted 5-4 last month to support the proposal, but officials said that while they believe a bobcat hunt would be sustainable, they acknowledge that public opinion is against the idea.

“At the end of the day, clearly it wasn’t going to go anywhere across the river,” said Glenn Normandeau, executive director of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

The State House is across the river from the department, and enthusiasm for the idea was in short supply.

“It just didn’t make any sense to beat our head against the wall on that issue,” Normandeau said.

Bobcat hunting has been outlawed in New Hampshire since 1989, but when Fish and Game proposed bringing back 50 licenses to hunt or trap bobcats, hundreds turned out to a public hearing in February, and most gave the idea a resounding thumbs down.

Pamela Michael of Voices of Wildlife in New Hampshire got the news Wednesday afternoon.

“I actually cried because I was really happy about it,” she said.

News of the rebounding bobcat population started to spread two years ago. The hunting and trapping proposal ran into a legislative roadblock 10 days ago when lawmakers raised concerns that the measure might violate the federal Endangered Species Act because of the risk that the still-protected Canada lynx might get trapped in New Hampshire.

“We just saw that it was going to be difficult, if not impossible, to move the proposal forward, and that it was in everyone’s best interest to just pull it and move on,” Normandeau said.

“It’s a win-win,” Michael said. “For Fish and Game, the people of New Hampshire, the bobcat and taxpayers and citizens of New Hampshire. It was a proud day for New Hampshire.”

The Humane Society of New Hampshire also weighed in, saying in part that “it would have been nothing more than a trophy hunt. We applaud the department for withdrawing their proposal and sincerely urge them to stick with this decision in the future.”

Original article with TV report: