October 19, 2020

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Votes in Unanimous Support of Electronic Reporting of Big Game

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

On October 7, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board convened for a virtual meeting, during which the Board voted in unanimous support for 20-P017 – a proposed rule to authorize the Commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department to implement the electronic reporting of harvested big game animals. This modern reporting method would apply to deer and turkey without conditional considerations, and moose and bear in times of emergency. The Board’s supportive vote comes after this proposed rule’s approval by the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules on October 5. Prior to that approval, the Committee held several hearings, during which vigorous discussion took place on the necessity of the rule itself, as well as the specific language used by the Department in crafting the rule.

Brent Miller, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Senior Director and Northeastern States and States Program Administrator, submitted a letter of support for 20-P017 to the Vermont Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, highlighting the many enhancements that this accommodating reporting approach offers to today’s sportsmen and women. The letter also provided support for the Committee’s definition to the term “emergency,” as it pertains to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and other wildlife diseases. While Vermont does not have any reported cases of CWD, an electronic reporting method would provide the Department with the means to act swiftly should it ever be detected. Furthermore, Vermont already experienced the need for electronic reporting during the spring 2020 turkey season, which shifted to a virtual reporting platform through emergency rule due to the ongoing pandemic.

The next step in the process is for 20-P017 to be filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. The virtual meeting minutes highlight that “electronic reporting of deer for archery hunting may take place in 2021.” Additionally, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department stated in a press release that Vermont’s sportsmen and women may electronically report harvested turkeys this fall. CSF will continue to provide updates as they are made available.

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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