July 27, 2020

Vermont Proposes 2020-2030 Big Game Management Plan

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

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department published a draft Big Game Management Plan for 2020-2030 in preparation for a virtual public meeting on August 5. The proposal offers a report on the previous decade’s management accomplishments as they pertain to white-tailed deer, black bear, moose, and wild turkey. The plan also outlines the Department’s objectives for each of these species throughout the coming decade.

Regarding white-tailed deer, the Management Plan emphasizes the need for the Department to “manage deer densities using WMU-specific density and physical condition objectives,” while working alongside “landowners and land managers to encourage hunting and inform them about the need to manage deer abundance.” The Plan also delves into the national issue of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) – an always-fatal, progressive, degenerative neurological disease occurring in farmed and free-ranging deer, elk, and moose. Though Vermont has continued to remain CWD-free, the Department stresses the need to educate the public of the risks that the disease poses to cervid populations across the nation.

The Department highlights that during the past ten years of black bear management in the state, it reached its initial goal of achieving a population between 4,500-6,000. Going forward, the 2020-2030 Plan calls for an adjusted number of bears, setting the objective between 3,500-5,500, thereby “allowing for wider fluctuations in the annual population and confidence intervals resulting from improvements to the population model.”

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is holding a public hearing on Wednesday, August 5 from 6:30-8:30 P.M. (EDT). Comments may be submitted until August 12. For more details regarding the 2020-2030 Big Game Management Plan, please visit the Department’s website. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will provide additional updates as they are 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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