June 27, 2022

Recapping a Busy Year in the Green Mountain State

Contact: Joe Mullin, Manager, Northeastern States

Why It Matters: For decades, CSF has engaged on legislative efforts that encourage and expand the abilities of hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and trappers to enjoy their pursuits in the field. This year’s legislative sessions in Vermont brought numerous opportunities for CSF to work with the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and in-state sportsmen’s organizations towards the enactment of pro-sportsmen’s policies and defeat or softening of anti-sportsmen’s efforts. From fighting legislation that would totally restructure the Fish and Wildlife Board to supporting the expansion of firearm suppressor use, CSF has fought ardently for the Green Mountain State.

Legislative sessions in Vermont adjourned sine die on May 12, capping a year that saw significant policies related to the sporting community’s priorities. During this session, CSF dedicated itself towards protecting and advancing Vermont’s sporting traditions in a variety of ways.

Senate Bill 129 (S. 129) – S. 129 would have undermined the structure and integrity of the Fish and Wildlife Board, overhauling its composition and serving no purpose other than to lead to obstructionism. Overall, this would have negatively impacted the efficiency of the rulemaking process. CSF submitted a letter of opposition while this bill was in Committee and testified against it during a public hearing. The bill ultimately died.

Senate Bill 201 (S. 201) – As originally introduced, S. 201 would have prohibited the use of “leghold” traps. The bill failed to recognize the fact that trapping instruments have all been rigorously evaluated for their efficiency, selectivity, practicality, safety, and animal welfare, and can uniquely address a wide breadth of wildlife management challenges in Vermont. CSF submitted testimony and testified against this bill in Committee. The legislation was ultimately watered down, deferring to the Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife for the creation of a report on the recommended best management practices (BMPs) for trapping and provide revisions to the trapping rules based on the BMPs

Senate Bill 281 (S. 281) – As was previously reported, on June 1, S. 281 was signed by Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus member Governor Phil Scott of Vermont, authorizing the use of suppressors while hunting and capping a decade-long effort driven by leaders of the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and members of CSF and American Suppressor Association.

This brief recap is not an exhaustive list of CSF’s policy involvement within the Green Mountain State. To learn more about the histories of these bills and more, we encourage you to check out Vermont’s Media Room on CSF’s website. CSF also thanks the many Caucus members and leaders, as well as in-state and national conservation and sportsmen’s organizations who continue to fight passionately for sportsmen’s interests in the state.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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