CONTACT:
Mark Ellingwoood: (603) 271-2461
Sandra Falicon: (603) 271-3511
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
December 8, 2005


Proposed Rule Would Prohibit Feeding of Nuisance Bears

CONCORD, N.H. -- A proposed rule being considered by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department would prohibit the purposeful or inadvertent feeding of black bears following a determination by the Department that the feeding increases the likelihood of human injury or property damage. A public hearing to discuss the proposal will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 21, 2005, at New Hampshire Fish and Game headquarters on Hazen Drive in Concord.

"Every year, we have to deal with a handful of people who insist on feeding bears, despite countless complaints from neighbors, bear/car collisions in the area, occasional bear shootings, and repeated requests by Fish and Game for them to stop feeding the bears," said Mark Ellingwood, Wildlife Program Supervisor for the Fish and Game Department. "This rule gives the state the ability to compel people to stop feeding bears when that feeding threatens the safety or property of neighbors, or when it jeopardizes the well-being of local bears."

The proposed rule specifies that, before legal action can be taken, the N.H. Fish and Game Department must warn an individual to cease the offending action. "Our first action is and always will be public education. Hopefully, we won't need to go beyond that...we all share a common interest in safeguarding human health and property and in protecting New Hampshire's black bears," Ellingwood observed.

Other states that currently have laws related to black bear feeding include Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Specific laws vary by state.

The public hearing also will deal with a proposal to change the date for making determinations on cooperative fencing applications to April 30, an adjustment necessary because the law was amended in 2001.

For the complete rulemaking notice form, with original and proposed rule language, click here, then on "Nuisance Bear Control."

Written comments must be received by January 3, 2006. Send to: comments@wildlife.state.nh.us (subject line should say "Wildlife Rules"); or mail to Executive Director, N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; or fax to (603) 271-1438.

For information on preventing conflicts with black bears, click here.

People with questions about bear-related problems can get advice by calling a toll-free number coordinated jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department: 1-888-749-2327 (1-888-SHY-BEAR).

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

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