The Bulletin Board

Game camera legislation fails ahead of deadline

By: - May 23, 2022 1:00 pm

A “Private Property” sign is posted in Boscawen along the Northern Rail Trail. (Annmarie Timmins | New Hampshire Bulletin)

This story was updated at 2:04 p.m. on May 23, 2022 to include comments from Rep. Terry Roy, the prime sponsor of House Bill 490.

Negotiations failed to reach the finish line last week on a bill that would have established rules for placing game cameras and temporary tree stands and blinds on private land.

While lawmakers from the House and Senate came to an agreement during a meeting Thursday, not all members signed off on House Bill 490 ahead of the deadline to do so, effectively killing the legislation.

“Not a single objection was voiced by anyone during the committee of conference on any aspect of the bill including the amendment, however a single member of the committee of conference has refused to sign off on the bill, thus it will not progress this year,” wrote Rep. Tim Lang, a Sanbornton Republican, in a House report.  

Rep. Terry Roy, a Deerfield Republican, was the lone lawmaker who declined to sign off on the report. He was also the prime sponsor of the legislation. Roy said the bill began as a constituent request from a disabled hunter who wanted to use wireless game cameras, but through the legislative process the bill had changed to a point where he could no longer support it.

“In the end it ended up being not only unhelpful (to hunters), but hurtful,” said Roy. 

“It had morphed into a hideous creature that had to be killed,” he said, adding that he had made his opposition to the bill known by testifying before the Senate. He also said he had voiced his concerns to Lang privately.

In an interview, Lang said Roy declined to sign the report on HB 490 because he felt it was an anti-hunter bill. 

The version of the bill discussed by the committee included measures addressing landowners’ concerns about privacy, as game cameras have become more common in the woods of New Hampshire. It would have allowed landowners to remove unwanted game cameras on their property and return them to hunters. 

The bill would have also established seasonal dates when hunters could set up tree stands and blinds and when the structures would need to be removed, unless hunters obtained written permission from a landowner to leave them in place. 

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.