Letter: Conserving NH Snowshoe Hares


Posted: 01/23/2022 07:01:34

Modified: 01/23/2022 07:00:18

New Hampshire is considering legislation to help conserve our state’s wild snowshoe hare population. HB 1308 would end the practice that began in 2007 of allowing beagle dog clubs to capture and breed wild snowshoe hares for dog training. As a “keystone species,” snowshoe hares are essential to the survival of other animals and to the health of ecosystems. But biologists worry about their long-term survival in the face of climate change. As John Litvaitis, professor emeritus of wildlife ecology at UNH, explains in his article “A White Hare in a Brown Forest,” shorter winters mean that snowshoe hares more often turn up distinctly white. on a brown landscape (or vice versa).

HB 1308 seeks to help this species at risk by decreasing the number of snowshoe hares removed from the wild. Still, New Hampshire beagle dog clubs fear it will be impossible for them to train their dogs if the bill passes. Responding to their concerns, Rep. Ellen Read proposed an amendment to the bill that would allow clubs to keep hares already in their care after years of capturing them from the wild. This compromise would protect wild snowshoe hare populations from further depletion while allowing clubs to continue their training activities. Please help pass this legislation as amended by contacting your state officials and asking them to support HB 1308 with the Read Amendment.

Elizabeth Marin



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