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Hitting NH Hunters "Over the Head with a Moose" On Climate Change

PHOTO: Hunters in New England are warned in a new report that the warming winters brought on by climate change may someday take away the quarry they pursue. Photo credit: Joshua Duggan
PHOTO: Hunters in New England are warned in a new report that the warming winters brought on by climate change may someday take away the quarry they pursue. Photo credit: Joshua Duggan
November 18, 2013

EPSOM, N.H. - Hunters in New Hampshire and New England have been warned in a new report that the warming winters brought on by climate change may someday take away the quarry they pursue. A report from the National Wildlife Federation said the big game that sportsmen and federal and state governments worked to preserve in the 20th century is threatened in the new millennium by climate change.

Eric Orff, Epsom, a hunter and wildlife biologist, said even skeptics cannot help but notice the vanishing local moose population.

"What I have found in New Hampshire, you have to hit a hunter over the head with a moose to get them to believe in climate change. But I am finding that more and more of the hunters, as we lose more moose, are more willing to be engaged in talk about climate change," Orff said.

The report said cutting carbon pollution, advancing renewable energy solutions and "climate-smart conservation" should be embraced - taking climate change into account in wildlife and natural resource management.

Orff pointed out that even non-hunters deal with climate change when bears roam into their yards for food.

"As a bear biologist dating back to the late-70s, I can say we never had bears feeding in big bird feeders or trash in December and January, and now it's something that happens on a regular basis. We have some insomniac bears in New Hampshire that historically we've not had," he warned.

Report author Doug Inkley, National Wildlife Federation senior scientist, said even New England's white-tailed deer could be affected by diseases that accompany warming temperatures.

"It would be surprising for people to think that there might be any risk to white-tailed deer, given that they are so common and are even overpopulated in many areas. White-tailed deer may seem common, but they are not immune from climate change," Inkley said.

The report, "Nowhere to Run - Big Game Wildlife in a Warming World," is a call to action, Inkley added.

"If we want to have a bright future of hunting and wildlife conservation for our children's future, we need to address it now," he said.

The report is available at www.nwf.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH