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State Shooting Ranges Open for Rifle Accuracy Checks

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MONTPELIER, Vt. –The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reminds us that two of its shooting ranges are open for sighting-in rifles before you go hunting -- one in Hartland and the other near Island Pond.  Both ranges are open for public use from April to mid-December.

Hammond Cove Shooting Range at the end of Ferry Road in Hartland features a six-port 100-yard rifle range and a pistol bench. ​
West Mountain Shooting Range in East Haven has a 100-yard shooting range and target frames at 25, 50, 75, and 100 yards. ​ The range is located on the South American Pond Road on the West Mountain Wildlife Management Area.
Users 15 years of age and older are required to have a valid Vermont hunting or fishing license and may bring one guest.
“Vermont has some of the safest and most conservation-minded hunters anywhere,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter.  “We provide these publicly accessible ranges so they can sight in their rifles and practice their shooting skills.” 
For …

Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area Expands by 54 Acres

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Addition provides important forested habitat connection
Mt. TABOR, Vt. Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area, well known for its waterfowl and songbird habitat, has grown to nearly 1,200 permanently conserved acres through the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s purchase of 54 acres of land in Mt. Tabor. The Vermont Land Trust facilitated the transaction.

The new addition, known as Hallagan Woodlot, is a land-locked, forested parcel nestled between Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and the Green Mountain National Forest. The Vermont Land Trust bought the land at auction and transferred it to Fish & Wildlife when federal Pittman-Robertson funds (raised through an excise tax on shooting and sporting equipment) became available.
“We were excited to partner with Vermont Land Trust to conserve a critical piece that was privately held in our Otter Creek WMA,” said Jane Lazorchak, Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s land acquisition coordinator. “Partnerships like this are key to…

Vermont Youth Waterfowl Hunting, Sept. 29-30

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -- A youngster’s first hunt can mark the beginning of a lifelong passion for the outdoors and a commitment to wildlife conservation.  There is no finer time to begin this journey than during Vermont’s upcoming youth waterfowl hunting weekend on September 29 and 30.
“Vermont’s youth waterfowl hunting weekend helps ensure that young hunters get the quality training and experiences they need for lifelong participation,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter.  “By design, the youth weekend hunt reinforces the route of initiation that is critical in recruitment -- learning from an experienced adult role model.”
On September 29 and 30, hunters 17 years of age or younger may hunt ducks and geese in the Lake Champlain and Interior Vermont waterfowl hunting zones.  The age requirement is 15 and under in the Connecticut River zone according to the following conditions. 
The youth hunter must have a Vermont hunting license and must be accompanied by an unarmed adult, 1…

‘Let’s Go Fishing’ Program Seeks Instructors

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Training workshop set for September 22 BERLIN, Vt. - The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is seeking volunteers to become ‘Let’s Go Fishing’ instructors to pass on Vermont’s fishing tradition to the next generation of Vermonters. The department will be hosting a one-day training workshop for new instructors on Saturday, September 22 at the ANR Annex Building, 190 Junction Rd., Berlin, Vermont. Instructors in the ‘Let’s Go Fishing’ program organize and instruct clinics in their communities for young people and their families. Participants in the training workshop will learn how to teach a basic fishing clinic, as well as learn about fishing ethics, aquatic ecology, fisheries management, habitat conservation and tackle craft. They will also be introduced to conducting specialized fishing clinics, including clinics on ice fishing and species-specific fishing. The class is informal, and it is not necessary to have a high level of fishing expertise to become an instructor. “Becoming an…

Moose Hunt Auction Nets $43,072 for Wildlife Conservation Education

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -- Vermont’s annual auction of five moose hunting permits was held today when sealed bids were opened and the permit winners were notified.  The bids totaled $43,702.83 which will help fund Fish & Wildlife Department educational programs, such as the Green Mountain Conservation Camps for youths. 
Auction winners will hunt in Wildlife Management Units E1 or E2 in the northeast corner of the state during the October 1-7 archery season, or in the October 20-25 regular season.  Permits are for bulls-only. 
No regular public moose permit lottery was held because only thirteen moose hunting permits were authorized this year.  If any public lottery permits had been offered, all those with bonus points from past seasons would have had to apply or lose those points, as required by statute.  By law, in addition to the five permits in the auction, five permits were awarded to Vermont resident military veterans in a lottery and up to three permits are available for “Special O…

Deadline for Antlerless Deer Applications is Aug. 29

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MONTPELIER, Vt. – The deadline to apply for an antlerless deer permit to be used during Vermont’s December 1-9 muzzleloader deer season is Thursday, August 29.  Antlerless deer hunting permit applications are on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com), and printed applications are available from license agents statewide.  Hunters applying online for an antlerless permit will do so through the online license sales system as if they were purchasing a license or a tag using their conservation ID number, or CID#.  Landowners who do not have a Conservation ID number will need to create a profile through the online license sales system to apply for a landowner application even if they do not intend to purchase a hunting license.
The December 1-9 muzzleloader season has 27,000 antlerless permits distributed in 18 of Vermont’s 21 WMUs, which is estimated to result in 3,914 antlerless deer being taken. 
Landowners who post their land may not apply for a muzzleloader…

Vt Fish & Wildlife Installing Water Control Devices on Beaver Dams

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‘Beaver Baffles’ Prevent Flooding and Resolve Beaver-Human Conflicts
MONTPELIER, Vt. – To prevent flooding on nearby roads, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department recently completed construction of 19 water control devices on beaver dams in locations throughout Vermont. Known as ‘beaver baffles’ these devices allow some water to pass through the dam without breaching the dam and destroying the wetland. 

The Fish & Wildlife Department expects to continue to install additional beaver baffles throughout the state this year.  The baffles are one of many techniques that department staff employ or recommend to landowners to minimize beaver damage to property or trees.  Other techniques include using fences to protect culverts, or placing wire mesh or special paint around the base of trees to prevent gnawing.
"The wetlands that beavers create provide critical habitat for a variety of wildlife such as waterfowl, songbirds, frogs, turtles, and otters.  These areas can also absorb ex…