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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Out & About: Ice Fishing Tourney


Ice Fishing Tournament Hits Bomoseen

The Champlain Valley Hardwater Tournament Series will come to Lake Bomoseen ice for the final points series event of the year March 4 followed by the tournament championship March 5.

The winner of the event will capture the final event title of the tournament trail, but the big event comes March 5 when the championship is held and will determine the team of the year honors.

The tournament trail is the creation of Benson fishing guide James Vladyka, who has turned the event into a popular and growing ice-fishing tournament.

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