Showing posts from April, 2018

Antlerless Deer Proposal, Hearings May 8 and 10

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board voted on the Fish & Wildlife Department’s 2018 antlerless deer hunting proposal on April 25.  Public hearings will be held May 8 in Rutland and May 10 in South Burlington to recap the results of the 2017 deer seasons and review the antlerless proposal.  The December muzzleloader season would have 27,000 antlerless permits, which would result in about 3,914 antlerless deer being taken. 
The hearings are scheduled for 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. as follows:
Tuesday, May 8 – Rutland High School, 22 Stratton Rd., Rutland, VT 05701
Thursday, May 10 – South Burlington High School, 550 Dorset St., South Burlington, VT 05403

Previous hearings reviewing the 2017 deer hunting seasons were held in Montpelier, Windsor and Orleans. 
“We are recommending an antlerless deer harvest this year that is very similar to what was recommended in 2017,” said Nick Fortin, deer project leader for the Fish & Wildlife Department.  “Three consecutive mild to moderate winters hav…

Vermont Allocates 13 Moose Hunting Permits for 2018

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board voted on April 25 to have 13 moose hunting permits awarded this year.  By law, five permits will be available to Vermont military veterans and up to three permits will be available for “Special Opportunity” recipients with life-threatening illnesses; the remaining five permits will be auctioned in accordance with regulations. 
The hunt will be restricted to bull moose in Wildlife Management Units E1 and E2 in the northeastern corner of the state where the Fish & Wildlife Department recommends the moose population be maintained at its current level to reduce the effects of winter ticks.  The department expects only nine to ten moose to be taken.  The small number of bulls-only permits is not expected to have any impact on Vermont’s moose population.
No regular public lottery will be held.  People who have moose hunting bonus points from previous years will have those points “frozen” so that they may be used in future years. 

Fishing & Fish Processing Seminars May 23-24 & 30

Learning how to properly prepare the fish you catch for the table is easiest when you can watch someone else do it well.  Two upcoming seminars presented by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department are designed to show how it’s done.
May 23-24: The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is presenting a two-day “Introduction to Fishing and Fish Processing” seminar at the Intervale Center, 180 Intervale Road, Burlington, VT, 05401. 
Fishing basics will be taught Wednesday, May 23 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.  Fishing regulations, knot tying, aquatic ecology, and casting will be covered, and participants will have the opportunity to fish in the nearby Winooski River. 
The next day, Thursday, May 24, participants will learn how to clean, fillet and cook fresh Vermont fish.  Participants are expected to attend both sessions.
May 30: On Wednesday, May 30 Fish & Wildlife will hold a one-day fish processing seminar from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at theLake Champlain Maritime Museum 4472 Basin Harbor R…

Green Mountain Conservation Camp Workcation Weekends

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is looking for volunteers to join Friends of the Green Mountain Conservation Camp Program for fun-filled weekends to get the camps ready for the 2018 season.  This year, the GMCC Kehoe “workcation” weekend will be May 12-13 and the GMCC Buck Lake workcation weekend will be May 19-20.
“We look forward to workcation weekend all winter long,” says Alison Thomas, education coordinator.  “With the help of local volunteers, we spruce up both camps in readiness for the summer and enjoy being outdoors knowing it’s for a good cause—environmental education for kids.”
Volunteers can participate for as long as they are able to – one hour, one day or both days. They are welcome to stay overnight in onsite cabins or they can bring their own tents.  Lunch and dinner will be provided. 
The Buck Lake camp is located in Woodbury and the Kehoe camp is on Lake Bomoseen in Castleton. This is an excellent community service opportunity for boy scou…

Be Alert to Avoid Moose on the Highway

Drivers need to be alert and cautious because moose are on the move, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.   Moose are more likely to be crossing roadways at this time of year, especially after dark or early in the morning as they move from wintering areas to spring feeding locations.
More moose are hit by motorists in the spring than at any other time of the year.  There is another peak of activity in September and October, the breeding season for moose.
“Motorists hit 67 moose on Vermont highways during 2017,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter.  “We are asking drivers to be especially careful and for people to enjoy watching moose from a distance.  Moose can be unpredictable and dangerous if you get too close and they feel cornered or get irritated.”
Moose are a threat to motorists, but there are measures you can take to avoid hitting them, according to Fish & Wildlife:
Always be aware of the danger -- moose cross the road randomly, as well as a…

New Dead Creek Visitor Center Opens for Season May 11

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is announcing that the Dead Creek Visitor Center in Addison, Vermont, will be opening for the season on Friday, May 11.  The visitor center will be open Fridays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through August and will offer a variety of free programs for all ages throughout the spring and summer. Hours will be expanded in the fall.      
The Dead Creek Visitor Center opened in 2017 and is a new educational facility featuring displays highlighting the history of Dead Creek and conservation, fish and wildlife management, conservation partnerships, habitat features, and the many species –particularly birds– that live in the region.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour to learn about local fish and wildlife, the history of Dead Creek, habitat and land management, and the impacts of climate change on the natural world.  Knowledgeable staff or volunteers will be on hand to answer questions, help visitors find a place to see wildlife, or assist…

Hunt Safely This Turkey Season

Hunting safely during turkey season is easy if you follow tips issued by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
Vermont’s spring youth turkey hunting weekend is April 28 and 29, and the regular spring turkey season is May 1-31.  
With the opening of spring turkey hunting season near, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department urges hunters to consider these safety tips:
Never shoot unless you’re absolutely sure of your target and what is beyond it.  Look for a beard as only turkeys with beards are legal during the spring season.  If you’re not sure, don’t shoot.  Lack of positive identification could result in shooting an illegal bird, or worse, another hunter.  Be sure to have a good backstop any time you shoot a firearm or bow.Never stalka gobbling turkey.  Your chances of getting close are poor, and you may be sneaking up on another hunter.  Avoid red, white, blue and black in clothing and equipment.   A tom turkey’s head has …

Fun Fishing Events Being Held This Spring

Fishing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family.  Many anglers remember their first fishing experience with a parent or mentor who taught them the basics and gave them the opportunity to catch fish.  That opportunity is now being replicated across Vermont through several programs that are specifically designed to teach beginners how to fish. 

One of the most popular programs is “Let’s Go Fishing” (LGF), administered by Vermont Fish & Wildlife.  It is a network of certified volunteer instructors who encourage and teach Vermonters of all ages and abilities how to fish.  Instructors teach fishing skills and techniques, the importance of good aquatic habitat, fishing ethics, and fishing regulations.  Clinics are always free and open to all ages.
Vermont Fish & Wildlife also has a “Children’s Fishing Program” which provides kids the opportunity for a fun and successful fishing experience at locally organized events.  Organizers of these events often include cha…

Herpetologist Jim Andrews to Lead Reptile and Amphibian Walk at Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area on May 17

ADDISON, Vt. – Herpetologist Jim Andrews will lead an evening field trip at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area on Thursday, May 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. The field trip will take participants to parts of the wildlife management area where spring amphibians are most likely to be seen and heard. The event is limited to 20 participants. To register, contact Amy Alfieri at or 802-759-2398. 
Jim Andrews is the coordinator of the Vermont Reptile and Amphibian Atlas, which documents sightings of frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes, and turtles in Vermont. Andrews regularly teaches college courses and gives educational workshops and lectures on a variety of wildlife in Vermont, from birds to amphibians and reptiles. 
“Many people think of Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area as home to a diversity of birds, but we also have many other animals including frogs and salamanders,” says Amy Alfieri, biologist and manager of Dead Creek. “This field trip will be a great opportu…

Vermont Walleye Fishing Season opens May 5

The Vermont walleye fishing season will open on Saturday, May 5, marking the return of some of the best walleye fishing in New England.
“We saw some really nice, trophy-size walleye during our recent survey work, which certainly brightens the outlook for the upcoming walleye season,” said Chet MacKenzie, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. 
Vermont has excellent spring walleye fishing opportunities in several lakes and rivers across the state.  Such opportunities include Lake Champlain and its tributaries – the Missisquoi, Lamoille and Winooski rivers and Otter Creek.  Salem Lake and Island Pond also have walleye populations.
A trio of additional waters – Lake Carmi, Chittenden Reservoir and the Connecticut River, also offer quality walleye fishing but are subject to specific regulations.
In all waters of Vermont except Lake Carmi, Chittenden Reservoir and the Connecticut River, walleye have an 18” minimum length requirement and three-fish daily limit.  The open seaso…

Herrick’s Cove Wildlife Festival on May 6

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast itching for spring then be sure to check out the nineteenth annual Herrick’s Cove Wildlife Festival on Sunday, May 6, in Rockingham, Vermont.
Herrick’s Cove, on the Connecticut River, hosts one of the most popular festivals in the area, with organizers reporting close to 2,000 people attending last year’s event.  The festival includes nature walks and live animals such as hawks, owls, mammals, and reptiles. 
“Vermonters really enjoy the wild animals and wild places that make the state so special,” said Forrest Hammond, bear project leader with Vermont Fish & Wildlife.  “This festival gives participants a chance to experience some of these animals firsthand and learn about the importance of conserving their habitats so future generations can appreciate them as well.”
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department will host several exhibits at the event, including animal mounts, skins and furs as well as interactive demonstrations, hands-on fishing activiti…

Come Learn about Vermont’s Wildlife in a Changing Climate on May 15 in Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Vermonters of all ages are invited to attend a presentation about Vermont’s wildlife in a changing climate on Tuesday, May 15, at 7:00 p.m.  The presentation organized by Vermont Coverts: Woodlands for Wildlife will be given at the Ilsley Public Library at 75 Main St. in Middlebury, VT.  Tom Rogers will be presenting at the event.  Rogers is a biologist who has worked on a variety of conservation projects, researching zebras in Kenya, golden-winged warblers in New York, sage grouse and bald eagles in Wyoming, and grizzly bears in Montana.  Tom currently works in outreach for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, connecting the public with fish and wildlife through writing, speaking, and photography.  

Through colorful photos and captivating stories, the audience will come away with a new understanding of how climate change is affecting wildlife.  Rogers will talk about what people can do to help conserve biodiversity in Vermont in the face of these new threats.


Deer Ages Available on F&W Website

Hunters who provided the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department with a tooth from their deer last year can now find out how old their deer was by visiting the department’s website,
Hunters submitted 2,808 teeth from the bucks they took during the November rifle deer season.   Combined with the 1,207 deer examined by biologists at reporting stations during the youth and rifle seasons, biologists were able to get accurate ages for 4,015 deer.

“We are thankful to the thousands of hunters who were willing to support our deer management efforts by bringing their deer to a biological reporting station or providing us with a tooth from their deer,” said Deer Project Leader Nick Fortin.   “We are also grateful to the reporting stations that helped collect teeth from the deer they reported.  This effort would not have been as successful without their assistance.”
If a hunter’s deer was three years old or older and it wasn’t examined by a biologist at a reporting stat…

Vermont’s Spring Turkey Hunting Starts Soon

It’s almost time for spring turkey hunting in Vermont.  Youth spring turkey hunting weekend is April 28 and 29 this year, and the regular spring turkey season is May 1-31.
Vermont hunters set an all-time record last year when they took 6,599 turkeys in the spring youth weekend and May seasons.  The previous spring record occurred in 2013 when 6,365 birds were taken in the spring. 
The April 28 and 29 youth turkey hunting weekend provides an excellent opportunity for experienced hunters to teach young hunters how to safely and successfully hunt wild turkeys. 
“Beyond the simple joy of sharing an outdoor adventure of this sort with a young friend, experienced hunters can take satisfaction in knowing they’ve introduced these youths to some of the most exciting and rewarding hunting the state has to offer,” said Chris Bernier, Vermont’s wild turkey biologist.  “Coupled with the thrill of ‘talking’ to a gobbler, the typically high success rates turkey hunters achieve and the often pleasant …

Be On the Lookout for Frogs, Salamanders along Roads

One of the great wildlife migrations is happening right now in Vermont, and it’s taking place right at our feet. 
You may have already heard the spring peepers or wood frogs calling in your backyard.  Or perhaps you’ve noticed salamanders crawling over rocks in a nearby stream.  Amphibians are on the move, but their spring breeding migration can too often become deadly. 

Amphibians migrate by the thousands each spring in search of breeding pools.  This migration frequently takes them across roads and highways where they are killed by cars, which contributes to species’ decline in Vermont, according to biologist Jens Hilke with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. 
“Frogs and salamanders become active on rainy spring nights,” said Hilke.  “On these nights, drivers should slow down on roads near ponds and wetlands or try to use an alternate route.  These amphibian ‘hotspots’ can lead to the death of thousands of animals on a single night.”

Hilke is asking drivers to report these hot…

VT Fish & Wildlife Dept Offers an Evening Bullhead Fishing Clinic

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s “Let’s Go Fishing Program” is offering an introduction to bullhead fishing clinic at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison on Friday, April 13. 
Bullhead typically are most active during the evening and night, so the clinic will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. 

This introductory course will include basic techniques for targeting bullhead with live bait, casting basics, knot tying, filleting, aquatic ecology, and biology. 

“There are many unique types of fish in Vermont and understanding their natural history and a few specialized techniques can help anglers be successful with species they may have never considered fishing for before,” said Corey Hart, F&W Education Specialist.  “Be sure to bring a headlamp or flashlight and dress for the weather.  Fishing equipment will be provided, but participants may prefer to bring their own.”

More details will be provided upon registration.  People can register for the course by ca…