March 9, 2020

Vermont: ACTION ALERT – Fish and Wildlife Omnibus Bill Sponsored by Caucus Co-Chair Hijacked by Anti-Hunting Interests

Contact: Brent Miller, Senior Director, Northeastern States & States Program Administrator

On Wednesday, March 11, the Vermont Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee will meet on Senate Bill 321 (SB 321). SB 321 was originally a fish and wildlife omnibus bill that cleaned up some statutory language, and provided the Fish and Wildlife Department additional authority to address such things and feral swine.

However, in the early stages of Committee discussion on this bill, anti-hunting amendments have been offered which would significantly impact hunting bears with hounds, and would set up a new government panel that excludes sportsmen and women, which would provide recommendations for wildlife management. Specific to hunting bears with hounds, the new language would result in a near ban on the practice throughout the state, as it would be largely impossible for sportsmen and women to meet the proposed restrictions These provisions include keeping your dogs within sight at all times, ensuring that no dog gets more than 528 feet away from the handler at any time, and ensuring that dogs do not cross onto private property unless the hunter has secured written permission from the owner beforehand. Failing to meet any one of these provisions would subject the hunter to a loss of hunting privileges for five years, and a second offense would result in a lifetime ban.

Please contact your Senators immediately and request that they OPPOSE these anti-sportsmen inclusions, and pass the bill as originally introduced.

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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