Friday, May 22, 2009

VT Board rescinds muzzleloader season vote

Congrats to Bob Shannon and the VT Fish and Wildlife Board! Wednesday night they did the right thing and rescinded their vote from a month ago to amend the 2009 deer regulations to allow for an early muzzleloader hunting season. The problem with this amendment was not so much with the merits, but the fact that no biological assessment had been done on it and it comes just as the new 10 year deer plan is coming out. The amendment offered by HAT's Ed Gallo caught the Board and the Department by surprise. I'm sure some folks would like muzzleloader season prior to the rifle season, but others like bird hunters and trappers would feel the competition. I also suspect that many rifle hunters would not be happy having another group working on "their" bucks before they get a chance.


  1. This was an important vote. With the current level of experience on the Board, it amazes me that this went as far as it did. And to schedule 4 public hearings, on a very weak, unsupported proposal.....does everyone realize the cost in license dollars! That is what the 5 legislatively mandated meetings are the previous year and take the pulse of the public.
    Also, all of these ideas were discussed and dismissed over 10 years ago.
    I believe that this was pushed by a small special interest group (yes, all dedicated sportsmen), but does not represent the tradition or primary participants of the deer harvest.

    I have two suggestions for folks to ponder.

    1)allow antlerless harvest, by permit, for two days in the regular rifle season (yes, with rifles!) Although I do not support this or believe it to be neede, but it is the only way to be "fair" about an additional season, If it becomes necesssary to harvest more antlerless deer. Of course, it would be extremely effective. But remember the 70's, doe can be overharvested.

    2)Stop annual tinkering with the herd. Go to a two year review instead. The only accurate numbers we get are the prev yr harvest and winter severity. All else are great estimates and probably do not really warrent annual micro-management.

    I will add one more thought. There is no 5 year plan, there is no experiment. It is management as it has always been,with a few changes. Overall though, it is going very well and if something goes wrong, it will probably because we "over-tinkered" the herd to death.

    On a turkey note. Having a great season. We are still chasing one more very smart Tom. The unexpected treat however, was the abundance of morel mushrooms. We cooked up some morel, leek potato soup with our turkey dinner. It is good to be outdoors!.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts Rob. For those of you who aren't are new to Board news - Rob is the former chair of the FW Board.
    I agree there are lots of ways to skin a cat or manage a deer herd. But the number one thing is to use the best available data and science to do it. We and many other states have gotten their herds in big trouble by listening to the camo experts and not the biologists. Let's not make that mistake again in VT!

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