STRATFORD — Gov. Chris Sununu has nominated Stratford farmer Scott Mason to be the next executive director of N.H. Fish and Game and the move has earned widespread support from the North Country.
Among those submitting letters of support were Berlin Mayor and Coos Commissioner Paul Grenier, Coos State Representative Edith Tucker, Luc Cote of LL Cote in Errol, retired Fish and Game Lt. Wayne Saunders of Stark, past chair of the Fish and Game Commission Ted Tichy of Milan, former Fish and Game commissioner Burnham Judd of Pittsburg, and Rebecca Brown, executive director of the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust.
“Scott is a lifelong outdoorsman with deep experience for the task at-hand,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “I would like to thank Director Normandeau for his many years of service, and to the Fish and Game Commission for bringing Scott’s nomination to me.”
Mason and his wife own and operate a 400-acre dairy farm on the banks of the Connecticut River that has a Fish and Game conservation easement on it. He is a University of New Hampshire alumni with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and resource economics and now serves on the college board of trustees, representing agricultural interests.
In his letter to Sununu, Mason said he has held a N.H. hunting and fishing license since he was 16.
“I have hunted deer, bear, grouse, woodcock, pheasant, rabbit, grey squirrel, woodchuck, and coyotes. I have enjoyed fishing for salmon, trout, cusk, flounder, bass, hornpout, and pickerel. I've gathered oysters, dug clams, ice fished, and done a little surf casting. I enjoy target shooting with both rifles and pistols and sporting clays. I've even dabbled a bit with fly tying.,” he said.
In addition, he said he has been a selectman, planning board member, and served on both the N.H. Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau. Mason said he spent eight years working away from the farm as a communication consultant to Elevare Communications based in Concord. He worked directly with town governments, state leaders, landowners, and business owners on the Northern Pass proposal.
Brown noted that her agency opposed Northern Pass and although she and Mason were on opposite side of the issue, she said they were “able to explore the issues and listen to each other with respect. And all during that time, despite our other differences, Scott was a valuable resource, generous in time and sharing of expertise, for my work conserving farmland and doing research on the agricultural economy in the North Country.”
Berlin Mayor Grenier pointed out that the Fish and Game commission is under differing financial and political pressure than even a decade ago. “Traditional participation and revenue from license purchases from sportsmen are either flat or less while the mission of your agency has grown exponentially. Your new Executive Director must be able to serve many masters all the while promoting harmony and communication among the many constituent groups who don't always share common interests. I believe Scott Mason has those qualities.”
Noting he served 18 years on the Fish and Game Commission with five different executive directors, Tichy said he believes Mason is just what the department needs to move forward and be successful.
“I believe it is his skills in dealing with people that highlights his ability to get things done,” Tichy said, citing Mason’s ability to defuse tense situations.