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'North Woods Law' puts work of New Hampshire conservation officers in the spotlight

BY KIMBERLEY HAAS



New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officer James Benvenuti said being on “North Woods Law: New Hampshire” has helped when he responds to calls.

“It’s kind of funny. When you pull up to somebody — whether they have a violation that you’re dealing with or you’re not — all they want to talk about is TV, the TV show that you’ve been on,” he said. “I think it’s helped us out a little bit.”

Benvenuti, 29, grew up in Newmarket hunting and fishing with his father. He said being a conservation officer was his dream job growing up.

During a ride-along with a Union Leader reporter on Monday morning, he was on the way from Durham to Newington to work on training exercises with his K-9 partner, Cora.



Benvenuti started working with Cora in September 2016 when she was a puppy. Donated by Wes and Belinda Reed of Rise and Shine Retrievers in Barnstead, the black Labrador retriever is now a year-and-a-half old.

Cora worked on leading Benvenuti to shell casings, small personal possessions and a plastic bag containing a rainbow trout. He is hoping that Cora can help him find fishermen this summer who violate length regulations for striped bass on the beach.

Benvenuti explained that from June to September, recreational fishermen are out in force on the Seacoast.

“When there is a cover of darkness, there is a little bit of temptation to take a short one,” Benvenuti said.

During other seasons, conservation officers have different issues to deal with.

“We have snowmobile responsibilities. We have search-and-rescue responsibilities. We have rule books that are three inches thick that deal with wildlife control officers and exhibitors and aquaculture permits and marine fisheries,” Benvenuti said.


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