New Hampshire's state bear expert says good-hearted but irresponsible residents are "loving the animals to death.'' Fish and Game officials discovered four sites in Stoddard, North Conway and Bethlehem where residents have resumed feeding black bears despite previous warnings to stop. Biologist Andrew Timmins says two bears had to be killed in North Conway because they had become so accustomed to human food, they were breaking into cars. While warnings have worked in the past, what Timmins calls the "sensible approach'' isn't working as well this year, and the Fish and Game Department has issued three court summonses that could result in $1,000 fines. He says those who feed bears mean well but are putting the animals they love in harm's way.
In his book, New Hampshire’s Ben Kilham describes what he has learned in his twenty years studying these creatures. Contrary to their image as solitary and not-that-intelligent, Kilham finds bears capable of altruism, and cooperation. He even finds them possess a complex communication system, as well as social behaviors that at times look a lot like ours.
Striped bass are starting to arrive in New Hampshire's coastal waters, and the state wants to figure out how many are out there. To help state and federal fisheries biologists assess the status of the population, the state Fish and Game Department is asking anglers to participate in an online survey. Participants are asked to measure each striped bass they catch. The survey is the only method the department currently has to get length measurements on fish that are released. There's been a survey since 1993. It can be found at http://www.fishnh.com/marine/striper_survey.html .
After a brief delay, New Hampshire Fish and Game department trucks have been heading out to stock the state's lakes and ponds with trout. Saturday is opening day for the state's designated trout ponds. Fish stocking generally occurs from mid-March to early July, but it didn't start until the last days of March this year because spring conditions were slow to arrive. Inland Fisheries Chief Jason Smith says with cold, high waters from melting snow, it will be a few weeks before rivers and streams are at "fishable'' levels.
A New Hampshire wildlife biologist says that the spring turkey population appears to be robust, despite the record number of zero-degree days this winter. Saturday marks the start of the annual Youth Turkey Hunt Weekend. Turkey biologist Ted Walski says sightings of flocks of wild turkeys suggest they weren't affected by the frequently frigid winter. He expects the spring turkey hunting season to be as good as or better than last spring, when hunters took 4,550 turkeys. Turkey season for adult hunters runs from May 3 to May 31.