When it comes to hunting animals, some methods are more intolerable than others. Most people don’t even know about these shameful practices, because they happen deep in the wilderness, far from public view.
Buy every now and then some deplorable act makes the news — such as the shooting of Cecil the lion — and the public gets a glimpse at the largely hidden world of hunting.
Unfair Hunting Methods
Hunting in New Hampshire is steadily moving away from fair chase as quicker, easier methods — such as bait, lures, and calling devices — grow in popularity.
In New Hampshire, it is legal to hunt bears using bait, a practice prohibited in all but a handful of states.
Bear baiting is the use of food or other enticement to lure bears to a site where hunters wait to kill them. Junk food is a popular bait, but commercial “bear attractants” also exist. One New Hampshire hunting store reached out to customers to promote its large inventory of bear bait, which included tubs of cake frosting and 55-gallon drums of caramel sauce.
Most of the bears hunted in New Hampshire are killed over bait. During the 2020 hunting season, 64% of the bears killed by hunters were killed over bait.
An Inconsistent Message — At the same time that the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department permits bear baiting, they regularly issue public notices urging residents and tourists to eliminate bear attractants, by securing garbage, removing bird feeders, and so on.
Another repugnant form of hunting that is legal in New Hampshire is bear hounding. Hounding involves hunters using packs of dogs to pursue bears until the exhausted animals either seek refuge in a tree (where they are shot) or turn to fight the hounds. Hounding often results in both bears and dogs being injured or killed.
Although less popular than bear baiting (where all you need is a drum of caramel sauce, apparently), bear hounding is nonetheless on the rise in New Hampshire.
Post Your Propety for “No Hunting”
You might be surprised to learn that by default privately owned land in New Hampshire is open to hunting. Unless you explicitly prohibit hunting by “posting your property,” hunters are free to come on your land and shoot whatever wild animal is in season.
- Op-Ed: The problems with bear hunting in NH by James Glover
- Here’s how one New Hampshire community is fighting bear hounding by the NH Wildlife Coalition
- Hunting Dates and Seasons (New Hampshire Fish and Game)
New Hampshire Wildlife Harvest Summary by Year (New Hampshire Fish and Game)