Apr 1, 2016 3:55 PM

Legislative committee votes to object to new bobcat hunting season in NH

CONCORD - The Legislative Rules Committee has proposed to further review a controversial bill regarding bobcat hunting and trapping, likely killing the idea of a 2016-2017 season.

Opponents and supporters of the season voiced their positions to the committee Friday. Most who spoke were against hunting and trapping bobcats, while many cited a lack of an in-depth study on the population.

The topic sparked public outcry on both sides for months, leading up to a vote by Fish and Game. Fish and Game officials said they received thousands of letters, phone calls and emails.

In February, the Fish and Game Commission narrowly voted to approve the season, and it was then sent to lawmakers to draft rules and regulations. As proposed, the bill would have allowed a Dec. 1 through Jan. 31 season for 500 permits.

Hunters and trappers in support of the season said the bobcat population is very healthy, and over population would put the animals at risk.

Following public testimony, the committee deemed the bill "unconstitutional" because the season could lead to hunters killing the similar looking endangered Canadian Lynx, which would violate the Endangered Species Act.

The is to go back to the Fish and Game committees in the Senate and the House for review.

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