By Brent Miller, Senior Director of Northeastern States
On April 4, the bipartisan and bicameral Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus hosted its Annual Mixer in Montpelier.
The Co-Chairs of the Caucus, Representatives Patrick Brennan and Cynthia Browning, and Senators John Rodgers and Alice Nitka, were joined by nearly 30 other legislators, leadership of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, and in-state and national conservation partners to discuss key policy issues and celebrate recent accomplishments.
Rep. Brennan announced the success of an effort to ensure the Salisbury Fish Hatchery remains operational for the next few years, until such time as other hatcheries within the state are able to adjust their operations to take up some of the production presently occurring at Salisbury. This effort was championed by many members of the Caucus – spanning several committees – working alongside Governor Phil Scott, a Member of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, and many in-state and national partners.
Commissioner Porter likewise provided remarks and he, alongside Fish Culture Operational Chief Adam Miller, Director of Wildlife Mark Scott, and Chief Warden Col. Jason Batchelder discussed recent operational updates from each of their respective divisions. Included in their remarks was a discussion on the Department’s proposed deer season regulatory changes, as well as the funding for the department generated by sportsmen and women through the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF).
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation Senior Director Northeastern States Brent Miller also spoke at the event and discussed the historical role of sportsmen and women as Vermont’s preeminent conservationists. This legacy is carried forward to this day, and is clearly evident through the funding they continue to provide through the ASCF, their voluntary purchases of Habitat Stamps to further support the work of the Department, and their willingness to step forward and agree to a license fee increase to account for a significant portion of the funding needed to keep Salisbury Fish Hatchery operational for the next few years.
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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?Vote Here
- Increase the number of states with discounted license tailored to specific groups. (5.22%)
- Increase access to public lands. (25.07%)
- Provide more information for new participants. (4.04%)
- Provide hands on opportunities to improve skills and knowledge. (13.09%)
- Engage youth through hunter and conservation programs in schools. (43.24%)
- I feel we have enough sportsmen and women and do not believe R3 programs are necessary. (9.34%)