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Happy 150th, N.H. Fish and Game!

Glenn Normandeau: 603-271-3511
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211

February 12, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. - This is a big year for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, as the state’s wildlife agency celebrates 150 years of fish and wildlife conservation in the Granite State. A growing collection of stories and photos celebrating Fish and Game’s fascinating history is being gathered on the Department’s website at Visit often!


The anniversary theme will be incorporated into many Fish and Game activities throughout the year. If you meet up with a Fish and Game Conservation Officer, notice the special 150th commemorative “warden” badges being worn throughout 2015. The Department’s spring outdoor festival, Discover WILD New Hampshire Day (coming April 18 at Department headquarters in Concord) will feature historic Fish and Game trucks and artifacts and activities exploring the 150th anniversary theme. Weekly Facebook posts are underway at observing memorable moments in Fish and Game history. And watch for messages each month with perspectives on the colorful past – and future outlook – for Fish and Game’s many different program areas.


“Thanks to the work of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department over the past century and a half, we have healthy wildlife populations, fish to catch, and open land to enjoy – resources that contribute to a healthy economy and a high-quality lifestyle,” said Fish and Game Executive Glenn Normandeau.


New Hampshire’s wildlife was in trouble in 1865, before the State Legislature took action to set up the first Commission on Fisheries. Some species had been hunted, fished and trapped to extirpation. Wild turkeys had disappeared, and deer, moose and beaver were scarce. Dams powering the new industrial economy prevented fish from migrating up our rivers.


The Fisheries Commission soon expanded to include oversight of the state’s wildlife resources. Conditions gradually improved as laws and enforcement put a stop to over-hunting and fishing. In the early 1900s, license fees provided a modest funding source. Scientific advances and federal funding through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Acts helped make management efforts more effective.


In recent years, Fish and Game’s responsibilities have expanded beyond traditional fish and wildlife management to include search and rescue, marine fisheries management, public boat access, nuisance wildlife control, Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle education and enforcement, and endangered wildlife and habitat protection.


“Over the years, a proportionally small investment in the Fish and Game Department has brought enormous benefits to the state,” said Normandeau, pointing out that wildlife-associated recreation generates $556 million in economic activity for New Hampshire.


The anniversary year was launched with a special issue of New Hampshire Wildlife Journal magazine focused on Fish and Game history. The issue is packed with historical photos and includes features by New Hampshire author Jack Noon, a timeline of Fish and Game milestones, a profile of renowned biologist Helenette Silver, and excerpts from former Director Charles Barry’s new book of memoirs.


The anniversary issue’s Warden’s Watch column features “the Legend of Slim Baker” and tales from the Fish and Game Newsletter archives. New subscribers can request a free copy of the anniversary issue (January/February 2015). Visit


To mark the occasion, special “Since 1865” merchandise, including t-shirts and sweatshirts and hats with the 150th anniversary logo have been designed and are available at All sales benefit the Fish and Game Department.


Two New Hampshire firearms manufacturers, Ruger and LHR Sporting Arms, have created limited edition guns engraved with the Fish and Game 150th anniversary logo and an exclusive serial number (see A portion of all sales of the commemorative firearms will benefit the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of N.H., Fish and Game’s nonprofit partner. A grant from the Foundation helped fund outreach materials and historical research for Fish and Game’s anniversary.


“This anniversary is an important time to reflect on the difference an effective Fish and Game Department has made for New Hampshire,” said Normandeau. “As we look at the successes over the past 150 years, we must also look ahead. Adequate funding to perform our various missions is critical. This Department works every day to connect people to life outdoors, to strengthen New Hampshire’s economy, and to preserve our wildlife legacy for future generations. That’s something to celebrate.”


Have fun exploring more Fish and Game history at


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