NOTE: Those interested in offering written comments on the big game plan may send them by May 5, 2005, to: wilddiv@wildlife.state.nh.us (subject line should say "Big Game Plan"); or mail to Big Game Plan, Wildlife Division, N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; or fax to (603) 271-1438.
 

CONTACT:
Mark Ellingwood, (603) 271- 2461
Jane Vachon, (603) 271-3211
April 11, 2005


Speak Up on Big Game Management Goals
Public Meetings on April 26 in Concord, April 28 in Lancaster

CONCORD, N.H. -- Are you interested in how the N.H. Fish and Game Department determines its population management goals and objectives for deer, bear, moose, and turkey? If so, then be sure to take this once in a "lifetime" (decade) opportunity to share your personal views regarding regional big game population levels. Fish and Game is asking for public input on proposed 10-year population goals for deer, bear, moose and turkey presented in the draft Big Game Management Plan for 2006-2015.

Two open-house meetings will be held, each with sessions from 3:30-5:00 p.m. and again from 6:30-8:00 p.m. (participants may come at any time during the sessions to offer input):

  • April 26 at N.H. Fish and Game headquarters on Hazen Drive in Concord; and

  • April 28 at Fish and Game's Region 1 Office at 629B Main Street in Lancaster.

"This is a great opportunity for our constituents to weigh in on the process," said Mark Ellingwood, Game Program Supervisor for Fish and Game. "These goals and objectives will serve as our big game management marching orders for the next 10 years. It's important to the Department that we get this right. We want all our constituents to be comfortable offering their opinions on the draft plan."

Each informal open-house session will feature a station (table) for each of the 4 big game species under consideration -- deer, bear, moose, and turkey -- as well as a station representing the Public Working Group, to explain how draft goals and objectives were formulated. A biologist will be at each station to discuss the draft objectives, to answer questions and to record any input that you might like to offer. Draft plans will be available to all attendees, and key information regarding goals and objectives will be illustrated at each station.

"These meetings will be a comfortable, casual opportunity for us to share information with the public, and for people to give us meaningful feedback on the draft goals and objectives," Ellingwood said.

The draft goals and objectives for managing big game in New Hampshire over the next ten years were determined over the last nine months by a diverse group of about 30 wildlife stakeholders. Stakeholders have met monthly to develop big game population objectives for various management units/regions of our state. This stakeholder group, referred to as the Big Game Public Working Group, includes farmers, hunters, landowners, ecologists, Fish and Game commissioners, legislators and others.

The working group is presenting its draft goals and objectives to the public through these open house meetings in order to get feedback. Public input received will be considered as the group formulates the final proposed goals and objectives, which will be presented to the Executive Director and the Fish and Game Commission for their review and approval in May 2005.

Once approved, these goals and regional population objectives (which vary from species to species) will serve as the foundation for Fish and Game's management program for the period 2006 through 2015 (the current plan runs from 1997-2005). The public is reminded that these objectives represent target values that Fish and Game will pursue over the next decade. These objectives do NOT speak to the issue of how Fish and Game will reach those targets. Specific strategies and seasons are developed or modified every two years, following season-setting rulemaking hearings.

"People will continue to have the opportunity to attend our biennial season-setting hearings. Those hearings serve as the place where strategies for achieving our goals are formulated," Ellingwood said. "Fish and Game has been operating from a similar plan since 1997. With that plan coming to a close in 2005, it's simply time to revisit our management goals and objectives, to be sure they represent our collective ambitions for the next decade. It's been a great process, and we're delighted to present these proposals for public review. The big game plan represents an important component of our Department's overall comprehensive wildlife planning efforts. The final comprehensive plan, which will be completed later this year, will encompass both game and nongame interests."

The draft Big Game Management Plan for 2006-2015 can be viewed after April 15, 2005, at this website. (Visit this page for a link.)

Those interested in offering written comments on the plan may send them by May 5, 2005, to: wilddiv@wildlife.state.nh.us (subject line should say "Big Game Plan"); or mail to Big Game Plan, Wildlife Division, N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; or fax to (603) 271-1438.

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