Judy Stokes: (603) 271-3211
Liza Poinier: (603) 271-3211
October 28, 2004

A New Era for Red Sox -- and Wildlife

CONCORD, N.H. -- As Boston Red Sox fans rejoice in the amazing 2004 team's historic World Series win, so fans of wildlife can celebrate the dramatic restoration of many wildlife species in New Hampshire since the last such victory in 1918. Wildlife have come a long way since the days of The Babe, when populations of species including moose, bear and beaver were painfully low or nonexistent in the Granite State.

In 1918, about 50 moose were found in New Hampshire. Today's moose population is estimated at 6,000 animals. New Hampshire's deer population has doubled, from an estimated 30-40,000 in 1918 to about 80,000 today. In the early 1900s, beavers were starting to trickle back in to the state, having been eliminated by unregulated furtaking; in 2004, beavers are at carrying capacity. Wood ducks, too, are thriving in New Hampshire's remaining wetlands -- after being largely driven out a century ago because of the loss of appropriate nesting sites. And about 25-30,000 wild turkeys now make their homes in New Hampshire, though in 1918, they had been gone from the state for decades.

Wildlife restoration, like Wednesday's win, has been a team effort -- attributable to the practice of scientific fish and wildlife monitoring and management over the decades, funded in large part by hunters and anglers. Highlights from the early development of New Hampshire's wildlife restoration system:

  • 1903: First non-resident hunting license issued. Cost was $10.
  • 1909: First resident hunting license issued. Cost was $1.
  • 1913: Fish and Game reorganized from a 3-member Commission, to one Commissioner serving as executive for the agency.
  • 1915: A permanent Fish and Game Fund established, directing license and fine revenue to an account to be allocated only for Fish and Game Commission expenditures.
  • 1915: Warren Fish Hatchery completed as first "modern" fish hatchery.
  • 1917: First fishing license issued, as a combination fishing/hunting license. Cost was $1 for residents, $15 for non-residents. Women didn't have the right to vote, and they didn't have to buy a fishing license.
  • 1920: 45,000 Fishing licenses sold; N.H. population = 443,083
  • 2003: 144,000 Fishing licenses sold; N.H. population = 1.2 million.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's marine, fish and wildlife resources.

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