Eric Orff, (603) 868-1095
Jane Vachon, (603) 271-3211
November 29, 2006

Fisher Bag Limit Changed; Weasel Season Set

CONCORD, N.H. - New wildlife rules affecting the season and bag limits for trapping and hunting fisher and weasel are now final.

New Hampshire trappers should be aware that the rules make significant changes in fisher bag limits in much of the state. For the 2006-2007 fisher trapping and hunting seasons, the bag limit is a total of 15 fisher, but no more than 10 fisher may be taken from the combined area of WMUs A, B, C, D, F, G, I1, J2 and K; and no more than 5 fisher from the combined area of WMUs E, J1, L and M. New Hampshire's open season for trapping fisher is December 1-31, 2006.

Fisher are common throughout New Hampshire, but recent data indicates a reduction in bag limits is warranted in certain Wildlife Management Units, according to Eric Orff, a wildlife biologist and the Furbearer Project Leader for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. The fisher's soft, dark fur is considered a luxury item. Statewide, trappers typically take about 500 to 700 animals by trapping each December. For the 2005-06 season, 519 were taken. Hunting of fishers is allowed from December 1 to January 31, although few of these shy animals are taken by hunters. All fisher must be sealed by a conservation officer.

Fisher were nearly eliminated from New Hampshire in the late 1800s and early 1900s because of unregulated harvest and habitat destruction (loss of forest). The season was closed from 1932 into the 1960s, allowing for their natural recovery. Fisher populations have fully recovered under Fish and Game's current science-based management strategies. Fishers rely on small prey items such as mice and squirrels for their mainstay.

The new wildlife rules also set the dates for New Hampshire's seasons for taking of weasel. The open season for taking weasel by traps is October 15, 2006, through March 31, 2007, in WMUs A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and J1; and November 1, 2006, through March 31, 2007, in WMUs H, I, J2, K, L and M. The open season for taking weasel with firearms or bow and arrow remains September 1, 2006, through March 31, 2007. Very few weasels (39 last year) are trapped in New Hampshire.

Trapping in New Hampshire requires a license and completion of a Trapper Education class offered by N.H. Fish and Game. For more information on trapping in New Hampshire, click here.

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