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Researchers Have a Close Encounter With Bear


A team of bear researchers got a little too close and personal with a black bear in the Vermont woods recently.

UVM students and researchers with the Vermont Department of Wildlife were checking up on a bear in its den as part of the multi-year study of black bears near the Searsburg wind project.

Apparently the 168-pound bear was awake and outside its den when the group arrives, but retreated into its den. It appears they were going to try to tranquilize the bear in its den, but things didn't go quite as planned.

First the bear snatches a backpack near the mouth of the den, which is retrieved by a researcher who reaches in and grabs it and wins a tug-o-war with the, as of yet unseen, bear.

But then the bear lunges partway out of the den as the researcher scrambles backward, putting the backpack between himself and the bear, which seems to be sizing him up as it exits the den. After a momentary pause, the bear streaks away, but not before a Fish & Wildlife researcher can shoot it with a tranquilizer gun.

The rest of the video shows the team conducting a health check on the tranquilized bear and then returning it to its den.

The researchers said the bear recovered and is doing well.

Click here to watch the video.

Out & About: No to F&W Board Expansion


Effort to Grow F&W Board Not a Good Idea

Several groups who aren’t terribly fond of hunting have decided they need better representation on the Fish & Wildlife Board. That’s the board made up of folks who are appointed to oversee, hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife management in the state.

The board oversees the department, setting seasons, bag limits, and general policy not set in statute. They take the recommendations from the department, consider the social aspects along with the biological aspects, and -- giving deference to the biological -- make decisions.

Groups like Protect Our Wildlife and the Vermont Wildlife Coalition have decided that the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department isn’t doing a good job because they haven’t changed their minds about trapping, coyote hunting, and other topics that POW and VWC are opposed to.

They’ve tried to affect change directly through the F&W board, as well as through the legislature, all while maintaining a public relations campaign.

As those efforts have failed, now they’re trying to get seats on the board to work from the inside.

Continue reading "Out & About: No to F&W Board Expansion" »

Don't Forget the Nongame Checkoff on Your Taxes

Osprey  Tom Rogers

With about one month to go before the deadline to file taxes, many taxpayers are sitting down to tackle the chore.

As you get toward the end of the process, if you find you're due to receive a refund from the state of Vermont, please consider throwing a few bones at the Nongame Wildlife Fund.

You can do so on line 29 of your state income tax form. Put as big a number as you're comfortable with, but think, if everybody put a couple of dollars of their refund into this worthwhile fund, the state would get a few hundred thousand dollars to help management nongame species in Vermont.

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Vt. Deer, Moose Public Hearings Announced

Moose (2)


Anyone interested in the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's proposed seasons and the prospects for the upcoming seasons should plan to attend one of three public hearings coming up soon.

The hearings are scheduled to allow the public to learn more about the results of the 2016 deer and moose seasons as well as what 2017 holds in store. The department will present its proposed season structure and permit opportunities.

Those decisions have not been set in stone and this is a great way for the public to give the department input on the proposals the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board will decide on.

The hearings will be:

March 21, 6:30-9 p.m., Brattleboro Area Middle School.

March 23, 6:30-9 p.m., Brighton Town Hall in Island Pond.

March 25, 12:30-5 p.m., Middlebury High School.

The Middlebury event will include an open house to discuss bear, turkey, migratory game birds, habitat management projects in addition to the deer and moose.

The moose proposal can be read here: Download 2017-Moose-Permit-Proposal

Half of All VAST Trails Cross Farmland in Vermont


VAST and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets announced a little factoid.

Of the 4,700 miles of trails in the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers system, more than 2,400 miles cross Vermont farmland.

That little tidbit was posted on the agency's web page recently and VAST and others have shared in on social media since.

“Without farmers, the VAST trail system as we know it would not exist,” said Matt Tetreault, VAST’s trails administrator. “VAST relies on the generosity of private landowners who allow the trail system to cross their property. We are especially grateful to the farmers who make their land available in wintertime for our club members to enjoy.”

The announcement also said farmland makes up 64 percent of the private land in the trail network, with about 80 percent of VAST trails on private land.

Out & About: Vermont Moose Herd Decline


Is the VT moose herd decline the new normal?

The Vermont moose herd has fallen on some hard times in recent years.

A herd that once was pushing 5,000 animals is now estimated to have fallen to about 1,750.

Based on what I’ve read and heard people say about the current state of Vermont’s moose herd, it’s clear there are some misconceptions about just how bad the situation actually is and the department’s efforts to manage it.

Mark Scott, director of wildlife for F&W, told the Fish & Wildlife Board at its February meeting there is more than just numbers involved in managing the state’s moose herd.

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Childhood Participation in Nature Matters Later

A columnist in the Bangor Daily News wrote about the connection between children being introduced to nature and their willingness to work to conserve it later in life. Anybody who was introduced to the outdoors in their youth can attest to the power it carries into adulthood. Like many of you, I came by my love of the outdoors from my youth, where I was taken hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and more.

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Man Accused of Trailhead Thefts, Other Crimes


Vermont State Police have made an arrest of a man the believe is responsible for breaking into cars at area trailheads among other crimes.

On March 9, police said they charged Jake F. Desjadon, 30, of Vergennes with burlgary, grand larceny, selling stolen property, resisting arrest and unlawful mischief following an investigation by troopers in the New Haven Barracks that began with the theft of an ATV and trailer in Essex.

Desjadon was recorded on security cameras at the scene. Police executed a search warrant at Desjadon's storage locker and located what police said was "a host of stolen property from car smash and grabs at local trailheads," as well as property from other burglaries.

Desjadon was found hiding on his apartment roof and taken into custody and jailed with $75,000 bail.

Out & About: Hunts for Seriously Ill Kids


Group Offers Hunts for Seriously Ill Kids

Many years ago, I picked up the phone and called a woman in Pennsylvania I had just learned about online. Her name was Tina Pattison and she had launched an organization for children with life-threatening illnesses who wanted to go on hunting and fishing trips.

Pattison, I found out during the two-hour phone call that night, had a son who had died of Hodgkin’s disease. The young man, a lifelong outdoorsman wanted to hunt a moose, but was turned down by a national wish-granting group that had decided to quit granting wishes involving guns and hunting after taking a lot of flak from anti groups over a couple of wishes they had sent kids on.

But as Pattison told me that night, “Not every child wants to go to Disney World.”

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