WEST LEBANON, N.H. — Two New Hampshire Fish and Game commissioners say there’s nothing wrong with their ties to a pro-trapping group and its fundraiser raffling off a five-day trip in Maine to trap black bears, in response to a petition started by an anti-trapping activist calling for them to resign.

The Valley News reports the petition faults commissioners Paul DeBow and John Caveney as county-level directors of the New Hampshire Trapping Association.

The petition, led by Kristina Snyder of NH Citizens Against Recreational Trapping, also criticizes the fundraiser in Maine, the only state in the continental U.S. that still permits bear trapping.

Snyder said the commissioners’ association membership sets a bad precedent, and that the raffle effectively encourages trappers to go somewhere else to skirt New Hampshire regulations.

“It became a moral and ethical question for me,” she said.

Caveney, who represents Cheshire County, said there’s nothing unethical about his role in the association or the raffle.

State law requires that commission nominees must hold “a resident fishing, hunting, or trapping license” and have five years of “active membership in a conservation or sportsmen’s organization in this state.”

DeBow, who represents Grafton County, said the raffle is replacing the association’s annual fundraising banquet, which was canceled this year because of the pandemic.

“There’s absolutely nothing that I can see that would be a conflict of interest or like I’m working both sides of the fence,” DeBow said.

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