Deerfield Rep. Jim Spillane ousted from committee after posting image of squirrel he shot

  • Deerfield Rep. James Spillane appears in Hooksett district court on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. Spillane, who represents Candia, Deerfield and Nottingham in the State House, was arrested May 4, 2017, and charged with two counts of driving while intoxicated. He also faces open container and yellow line violations. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Monitor file

Concord Monitor
Published: 6/28/2019 9:49:06 PM
Modified: 6/28/2019 9:48:58 PM

CONCORD — The trail of controversy for state Rep. Jim Spillane. R-Deerfield, now includes a dead squirrel.

Spillane was ousted from the Fish and Game Committee on Friday after the lawmaker posted a tweet showing a dead squirrel he had shot recently in his backyard. The photo was described as “horrible” by House Speaker Stephen Shurtleff, a Democrat, who made the decision to remove Spillane.

Spillane was unavailable for comment on Friday. He had claimed earlier that the squirrel posed a threat to his chicken coop and had disturbed his bird feeder.

Shurtleff said in a phone interview Friday that officers from the Fish and Game Department were sent to Spillane’s home after receiving complaints about the photo. Two issues quickly surfaced: First, squirrels can be hunted from Sept. 1 to Jan. 1 only, unless the animal poses a danger to property or domestic animals.

And second, posting the photo, which was not illegal, was deemed in poor taste and set a bad example for an official responsible for monitoring wildlife in the state.

Jordan was unavailable for comment on Friday, but Shurtleff said the Fish and Game’s chief law enforcement officer had told him the squirrel was not enough of a threat to Spillane’s property or animals to warrant killing it.

“Col. Jordan explicitly said that (Spillane) was warned that he was hunting out of season and that there was no just cause for what he did,” Shurtleff said. “This made it awkward for both the department and Rep. Spillane to remain on that committee. For that reason alone, he was removed.” Shurtleff said his decision to remove Spillane had nothing to do with the fact that Spillane is a Republican.

“For me, this has nothing to do with politics,” Shurtleff said. “As the speaker, I always try to put the best interests of the house and of the people we serve first, and I think in this instance it’s best for the people of New Hampshire and the committee itself to have Rep. Spillane not serve on that committee.”

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