From the Calidonian Record:
Vermont Lawmakers Save 'Pete The Moose'
Local lawmakers believe they have saved Peter the Moose, his "girlfriend" and all the other wild deer and moose in Doug Nelson's elk hunting preserve in Irasburg.
Sen. Bobby Starr, D-Essex-Orleans, announced Wednesday the House and Senate conference committees have approved the budget bill that addresses the status of the preserve and the wild animals in the 700-acre enclosure, including Pete.
Even if the budget itself is vetoed by Gov. James Douglas over conflicts with the Democratic legislative leaders on capital gains taxes, the language about the preserve isn't part of the conflict, Starr said, and it will stay intact.
"We are good to go," Starr said.
Preserve Has New Status
Pete and other moose and deer that are in the elk preserve were illegal because the preserve fell afoul of new Fish and Wildlife laws governing hunting facilities.
The law required Nelson to get a permit for elk hunting on the nine-year-old preserve, which was created before such laws existed.
However, the permit would not allow native animals such as moose and deer inside the enclosure for fear they would catch tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease from the elk and spread the diseases to the native wild deer and moose population.
Now, under the language in the budget bill, the elk preserve will no longer be under Fish and Wildlife jurisdiction but under the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, which already supervises captive deer herds. The hunting preserve becomes a game farm.
Here is my comment on the story:
Wild animals are held in the public trust by our state government. 250 years of case law and 500 years of common law have been subverted by this change in the law. This legislation has given our deer and moose to Mr Nelson to shoot, market or sell for his own personal gain. The state gets nothing. Although the cynic in me suspects the politicians will get some good campaign donations.
This is the greatest attack on democratic hunting since we fought the British.
Here is the full section that was put in the Appropriations bill in the last days of the session. Sources tell me that Fish and Wildlife was not consulted about the content or language.
Sec. E.702.1 TRANSFER OF REGULATORY OVERSIGHT AND
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR FACILITY AND HERD
(a) The general assembly finds and declares that:
(1) Vermont has long recognized that the protection and management of
the state’s native cervidae population is in the interest of the public welfare.
(2) An abundant, healthy deer herd is a primary goal of wildlife
management, and hunting is a time-honored Vermont tradition.
(3) Vermont’s captive cervidae herds are regulated as game farms under
authority of the secretary of agriculture, food and markets under chapter 102 of
Title 6 and the agency of agriculture, food and markets’ rules governing
(4) Captive cervidae herds provide economic benefit to Vermont in the
same manner as farms producing cattle, sheep, pigs, and other amenable
(5) Tuberculosis is a transmissible disease that can infect species of both
the cervidae and bovidae families and is zoonotic. The family bovidae
includes cattle. The family cervidae include white-tailed deer, moose, and elk.
(6) Chronic wasting disease is a transmissible spongiform
encephalopathy that has been identified in both free-ranging and captive
cervidae populations in other parts of the United States, including New York
(7) Tuberculosis can be transmitted in cervidae and bovidae by nose-tonose
contact and through the sharing of watering and feeding troughs. It is not
known exactly how chronic wasting disease is transmitted, but the most likely
route of transmission is nose-to-nose contact. The agency of agriculture, food
and markets’ rules governing captive cervidae contain provisions both for
managing herds that may be susceptible to chronic wasting disease and for
testing cervidae to monitor for the control of zoonotic diseases contagious to
livestock, including tuberculosis.
(8) The captive cervidae facility located in Irasburg manages a specialpurpose
herd established in 1994 within a 700-acre enclosure. At the time of
the enclosure, the 700 acres contained a small population of native cervidae
that currently falls outside the jurisdiction of the agency of agriculture, food
(9) In order to align state regulatory oversight of the facility and balance
the state’s responsibility to protect and manage its native cervidae populations
with the economic benefit contributed by the 700-acre captive cervidae facility,
it is necessary to transfer to the agency of agriculture, food and markets full
jurisdiction and authority for regulatory oversight of the Irasburg facility and
full authority for herd management of the facility and all cervidae currently
contained within the 700-acre enclosure.
(b) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, for the purposes of this
section, the term “cervidae” shall include all white-tailed deer and moose
currently entrapped in the Irasburg captive cervidae facility that contains a
special-purpose herd, as “special-purpose herd” is defined in the agency of
agriculture, food and markets’ rules governing captive cervidae.
(c) The Irasburg captive cervidae facility that contains a special-purpose
(1) Erect a secondary-perimeter fence inside the existing, primaryperimeter
fence sufficient to reduce the possibility of contact between native
cervidae and any cervidae within the facility. The secondary fencing shall be
approved by the secretary of agriculture, food and markets and shall be erected
no later October 1, 2010.
(2) Submit a written herd management plan for all cervidae, including
entrapped native cervidae, within the facility to the secretary of agriculture,
food and markets for approval. The plan shall:
(A) contain a specific disease surveillance component, acceptable to
the secretary of agriculture, food and markets, that presents at least 30 mature
native cervidae to the secretary of agriculture, food and markets for
tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease testing per year. For purposes of this
subdivision, “mature” means an animal older than 16 months of age;
(B) provide for the culling of antlerless native cervidae at a rate that
prevents the herd size from overpopulating the enclosed area. The culling
program shall include a provision to allow members of the Vermont National
Guard who did not participate in the Vermont regular deer or moose hunting
seasons and who were awarded or are eligible to receive a campaign ribbon for
Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom to assist with the
(C) be filed with the secretary of agriculture, food and markets no
later than August 1, 2010.
(3) Comply with all disease testing protocols established and required
by the secretary of agriculture, food and markets.
(4) Demonstrate by no later than September 1, 2010, substantial
compliance with the agency of agriculture, food and markets’ rules governing
(5) Remain in good regulatory standing with the secretary of agriculture,
food and markets.
(d) The secretary of agriculture, food and markets may grant a variance
from the agency of agriculture, food and markets’ rules for the design and
construction of the secondary-perimeter fence required under subdivision
(c)(1) of this section if the fence design proposed by the owner of the Irasburg
facility serves the underlying purpose of reducing the possibility of contact
between free-ranging native cervidae and any cervidae enclosed within the
facility. The secretary of agriculture, food and markets may grant variances to
other provisions of the agency of agriculture, food and markets’ rules
governing captive cervidae provided that the health and welfare of free-ranging
native cervidae are not compromised or put at risk.
(e) In order to ensure that the appropriate number of native cervidae are
provided to the secretary of agriculture, food and markets for disease
surveillance as required under subdivision (c)(2)(A) of this section and that the
facility is able to meet the cull rate required under subdivision (c)(2)(B) of this
section, the facility may harvest cervidae during a special season, if necessary.
Any special harvest shall be approved in advance by the secretary of
agriculture, food and markets after consultation with the commissioner of fish
and wildlife. Notice of approval for a special season shall be posted at least 10
days in advance of the season in the office of the town clerk of Irasburg.
(f) Any native cervidae discovered between the primary and secondary
fences at the Irasburg captive cervidae facility or any cervidae carcass
discovered within the Irasburg facility shall be immediately presented to the
secretary of agriculture, food and markets for disease surveillance.
(g) The secretary of agriculture, food and markets may enforce a failure to
comply with the requirements of this section under chapter 1 or 102 of Title 6.
(h) It shall be a violation of chapter 103 or 113 of Title 10 if a person
knowingly or intentionally entraps or allows a person to knowingly or
intentionally entrap a native cervidae within the Irasburg captive cervidae