Published: 12/29/2021 07:00:56 AM

Modified: 12/29/2021 07:00:29 AM

Did you know that New Hampshire beagle clubs are allowed to capture wild snowshoe hares to train hunting dogs? After capture, the hares are transported to unfamiliar terrain, kept in fenced pens, and used in competitions called “field trials”. During these trials, the beagles are released in packs to follow the hares. While the goal is not to kill snowshoe hares, hares naturally believe themselves to be in danger when chased. For a hare, fear can be fatal. This practice violates the right of snowshoe hares to live in their natural habitat, where they were born.

Eric Stohl, who chairs the NH Fish and Game Commission, agrees captive wild snowshoe hares for dog training should stop. Stohl recently said that hare hunters should train their dogs in the wild like other hunters do. Another good reason not to take snowshoe hares from the wild for dog training is that they are a “key species,” meaning they are essential members of the ecosystem. Snowshoe hares turn brown to white in winter. New Hampshire’s milder winters mean they’re increasingly whiter against a brown landscape, making them more vulnerable than ever to being killed by hunters or natural predators. Please help the snowshoe hares by supporting HB 1308 to end their capture for dog training. The hearing on the bill will take place in early January.

Linda Dionne