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Showing posts from May, 2018

Consider Delayed Mowing to Conserve Grassland Birds

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MONTPELIER, Vt. – Summer in Vermont is greatly enriched by the state’s many grassland birds, from bobolinks flushing up from a grassy field to the beautiful song of an eastern meadowlark.  But many of these species are in decline due to the loss of appropriate grassland habitat. 
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and Audubon Vermont are encouraging landowners to help promote these beloved species and give these birds a chance to complete their nesting season simply by altering the times of year that they mow large fields.
Bobolinks build nests from May through July among the grasses and wildflowers of fields and meadows.  When bobolinks are present, other grassland bird species such as savannah sparrows and vesper sparrows may also be nesting among the grasses.  Deer fawns, wild turkey chicks, and other animals take refuge in the grass, and are also at risk by mowing too early. 
“People maintain large fields and meadows in Vermont for a variety of reasons, from commercial hayf…

Come Learn about Vermont’s Wildlife in a Changing Climate on June 14 in Georgia, VT

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GEORGIA, Vt. – Vermonters of all ages are invited to attend a presentation about Vermont’s wildlife in a changing climate on Thursday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m.  The presentation will be given at the Georgia Public Library, 1697 Ethan Allen Highway, Georgia, Vermont 05454.
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.
“From warmer, wetter winters to increa…

Fawns are Arriving; Leave them Alone Urges F&W

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MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Fish &Wildlife Department says deer fawns are being born this time of year and asks that people avoid disturbing or picking them up. 
Most deer fawns are born in late May and the first and second weeks of June, according to Vermont deer biologist Nick Fortin. 
Fortin says it is best to keep your distance because the fawn’s mother is almost always nearby.  When people see a small fawn alone, they often mistakenly assume it is helpless, lost or needing to be rescued. 
Fawns do not attempt to evade predators during their first few weeks, instead relying on camouflage and stillness to remain undetected.  During these times, fawns learn critical survival skills from their mothers.  Bringing a fawn into a human environment results in separation from its mother, and it usually results in a sad ending for the animal.
Fortin encourages people to resist the urge to assist wildlife in ways that may be harmful, and he offered these tips:
Deer nurse their young at …

Muzzleloader Antlerless Deer Permit Applications Available

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -- Vermont’s muzzleloader season antlerless deer hunting permit applications are now available on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).  A link to the information and online applications is on the home page. 

The Fish and Wildlife Board met on May 23 and set antlerless deer hunting permit numbers and procedures for the fall deer hunting seasons. 
Hunting for antlerless deer will be statewide for the October 6 -November 2 and December 1-9 archery season.  Last year, hunters took 2,649 antlerless deer during the archery season. 
One deer of either sex would be allowed for youths during the November 3-4 youth weekend hunt.  Youths took 866 antlerless deer during the 2017 youth weekend hunt.
The December 1-9 muzzleloader season would have 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 landowner priority muzzle…

Michael Scott is Vermont’s Warden of the Year

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MONTPELIER, Vt. – Michael Scott of Barton is Vermont's State Game Warden of the Year.  A game warden since 2014, Scott received the award in recognition of his excellent service from Governor Phil Scott on May 23 in Montpelier.
"I want to thank Michael for his outstanding performance in protecting Vermont's fish and wildlife resources and serving the people of Vermont," said Governor Scott.  He added that Warden Scott was chosen for “his professionalism, his strong work ethic and because he is highly liked and respected by the people who live in his area, including the teachers and students in local schools he has visited.”
“Warden Scott effectively enforces hunting, fishing and trapping laws,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter, “and in 2017 he arrested the offender in the notorious ‘moose dragging’ case in which a violator shot and killed a lactating cow moose, likely orphaning her calf, and dragging the carcass 12 miles behind his truck -- leaving i…

Bobcat Caught on Game Camera in Brandon VT

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BRANDON, Vt. – This bobcat was caught in a series of photos on a game camera set up under a bridge in Brandon, Vermont.  The cameras are put out as part of a collaborative partnership between Vermont Fish & Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, and VTrans to better understand wildlife movement around road crossing structures.
“This bobcat passing under the road highlights the fact that wildlife are always on the move,” said John Austin, Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s lands and habitat program manager.  “They need to travel across the landscape to find food or water, to search for mates, or to find places to den or raise their young. Maintaining healthy and connected habitats is one of the most important things we can do to help wildlife continue to thrive in Vermont.”
Information learned through this collaborative partnership has allowed VTrans to modify the design of bridges, culverts, and overpasses to permit improved movement of fish and wildlife, while also making these crossings sa…

Cliff Tops and Overlooks Closed to Protect Nesting Peregrines

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -- Hiking Vermont’s hillsides is a great way to enjoy a spring day, but the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and Audubon Vermont recommend checking to see if the area you’re planning to hike or climb is open.  Several cliff areas are currently closed to protect nesting peregrine falcons.
“Peregrine nesting is well underway this spring,” said John Buck, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department biologist.  “The falcons are very sensitive to human presence so we ask climbers and hikers to please avoid the nest sites with a respectful distance.  The closures help people to choose an alternative route in advance.”
Barnet Roadcut (Barnet) – Rte 5 pullout closed Bolton Notch (Bolton) – Upper Upper West cliff closed to climbing
Bone Mountain (Bolton) – portions of cliff closed to climbing
Deer Leap (Bristol) – closed
Eagle Ledge (Vershire) – cliff access closed
Fairlee Palisades (Fairlee) – cliff top closed
Hazens Notch (Lowell) – portions of cliff closed to climbing
Marshfield …

VT Fish & Wildlife Celebrates Newest Wildlife Management Area in Windsor on June 7

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Grand Opening Event for Windsor Grasslands WMA
WINDSOR, Vt. – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department will celebrate the grand opening of the new Windsor Grasslands Wildlife Management Area on Thursday, June 7, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. 
The land was previously owned by Vermont’s Buildings and General Services and was recently transferred to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.  The 826-acre property contains habitat for a variety of species, from hayfields that are a favored nesting site for grassland birds, to young forests and apple trees that attract deer and bear. 
“We’re pleased that these lands will be permanently conserved for wildlife habitat and public access,” said Louis Porter, commissioner of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.  “The local community has been highly engaged in these lands in recent years, helping to release apple trees to improve wildlife habitat, hunting turkeys, or bird-watching for grassland birds. We look forward to continuing that tradit…

Vermont Wildlife Course for Educators, July 15-20

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A few openings are still available
MONTPELIER, Vt. – Vermont Fish & Wildlife says it still has a few openings in its fish and wildlife summer course for teachers and other educators.
The hands-on field course gets educators out into Vermont’s streams, forests and wetlands with some of the state’s leading natural resource experts.  It will be held at the Buck Lake Conservation Camp in Woodbury from July 15 to 20. 
Now in its 33rd year, “Wildlife Management and Outdoor Education Techniques for Educators,” is a one-week, three-credit graduate course taught by Vermont Fish & Wildlife and other Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) staff through Castleton University. 

“Wildlife resources are important to all Vermonters in one way or another,” says Fish & Wildlife’s Education Manager Alison Thomas.  “If educators can get connected with the outdoors and in turn expose their students, then many of these students will be able to make informed decisions about Vermont wildlife and their h…

Vermont’s Trophy Trout Stocking for 2018

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MONTPELIER, Vt. – Vermont’s “Trophy Trout” stocking program for 2018 includes eight river sections and 15 lakes and ponds receiving the two-year old trout, some over 18 inches long. 
“The trophy rainbow and brown trout stocked in the Black, Winooski, Lamoille, East Creek, Missisquoi, Walloomsac, and Passumpsic Rivers as well as Otter Creek provide exciting fishing for many anglers of all ages and skill levels,” said Vermont’s Director of Fisheries Eric Palmer.  “Large two-year old rainbows will also be stocked in 15 additional lakes and ponds to provide excellent fishing opportunities.” 

Trout fishing opened April 14, and will continue through October 31 this year in the river sections listed below.  There is no length limit.  The daily creel limit is two trout. 

Stocking of the river sections will occur throughout May.  Anglers can check Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com) to see the stocking that has occurred.  Click on “Fishing” and then “Stocking Schedu…

Keep an Eye out for Turtles

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MONTPELIER, Vt – It’s springtime and Vermont’s turtles on are on the move.  The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is asking for the public’s help in keeping them safe.  Female turtles are looking for places to deposit their eggs, sometimes choosing to lay along the shoulders of roads, which can end tragically.
“Turtles often cross roads as they search for a nest site,” said Steve Parren, biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.  “They are a slow-moving animal in today’s fast-paced world, so they have a tough time making it safely across the road.  Turtles grow slowly and live a long time, so losing a mature breeding female is a huge loss to the turtle population.” 
Turtle nesting activity peaks from late May through June.  At this time of year, drivers are urged to keep an eye out for turtles in the road, especially when driving near ponds and wetlands. 
To decrease the number of turtles that are killed by vehicles, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has b…

Wildlife Photographer to Give ‘The Art in Birding’ Presentation at Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area on June 5

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Presentation will be followed with photography bird walk ADDISON, Vt. –Vermont wildlife photographer Brian Machanic will present ‘The Art in Birding’ at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area headquarters in Addison, Vermont on Tuesday, June 5, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The presentation will be followed by a one-hour photography bird walk at the Dead Creek WMA.

Machanic is a native Vermonter who has had a passion for wildlife since childhood and has been an avid naturalist and photographer his whole life.  He began selling scenic and wildlife images 30 years ago at his Nature’s Eye Studio in Charlotte and has published photos and stories in regional and national magazines. Machanic recently published his first book, entitled This Book Is for The Birds.
“I invite people to come spend an enjoyable evening exploring many of the birds of Vermont’s renowned Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area,” said Machanic.  “During my presentation, viewers will get an up-close look at the beauty and unique…

2018 Vermont Fishing Guide & Regulations Available

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MONTPELIER, Vt – Vermont is often recognized for having some of the best freshwater fishing in the Northeast.  The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says one of the best ways to learn about the state’s fishing opportunities is to check out the 2018 Vermont Fishing Guide & Regulations available free from its district offices and license agents throughout the state.  An online version also can be found at www.vtfishandwildlife.com. The “Fishing Guide” has regulations such as season dates, daily limits and length limits for lakes, ponds and streams throughout the state.  The rules vary by water body which are listed in the Index of Lakes and Ponds and Index of Rivers and Streams.  Both indexes also reference ten general regulation tables near the back of the publication.
If you want to fish for specific species of fish, go to “Where the Fish Are” on pages 37 to 39 for regional listings of the species found in each water body. 
The fifteen pages of detailed maps of the state conta…

Guided Wildlife Walk at Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area on May 16

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Biologist from Vt Fish & Wildlife and NEK Audubon to Lead
VICTORY, Vt. – Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and Northeast Kingdom Audubon are excited to partner on a birding and wildlife-viewing tour at Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area on May 16. Doug Morin, a wildlife biologist with Fish & Wildlife, and Tom Berriman, an experienced birder with Northeast Kingdom Audubon, will co-lead this wildlife-based exploration of a truly unique part of Vermont. 
“We’ll focus on finding the birds of Victory Basin WMA – both the exciting new arrivals of spring migrants, and some of the year-round residents, including rare boreal species,” said Morin.  “We’ll also keep eye out for trees, flowers, tracks, and any other curiosities we find along the way. Victory Basin is a vast lowland boreal forest that is common in northern Canada but rare here in Vermont, allowing visitors to feel like they’ve stepped into another world. We have a chance of spotting boreal wildlife such as gray jays…

Vermonters are Seeing Increased Bear Conflicts with Late Spring

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MONTPELIER, Vt. – Black bears have arisen from their winter slumber and are once again roaming the landscape looking for food.  The late spring is delaying the growth of bears’ natural food sources, which is likely contributing to a rise in bear-human conflicts this year according to Vermont Fish & Wildlife bear biologist Forrest Hammond.
Hammond is asking the public to help keep Vermont’s bears wild by removing any potential food sources that would cause them to associate people with food. “Bears will be more attracted to people’s yards than normal this year as they struggle to find foods in the wild,” said Hammond. “This presents an even more urgent need to keep bears and humans safe by removing bird feeders and securing garbage and other potential bear attractants.”
Hammond offers a few simple tips to avoid attracting bears: 
Remove food sources that might attract hungry bears. These include pet food, barbecue grills, garbage, compost, and campsites with accessible foo…

Steelhead Rainbow Trout Runs Are Happening Now

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MONTPELIER, Vt. – One of Vermont’s premier wildlife watching opportunities is happening right now.  The steelhead rainbow trout have started their upstream migration, leaping up waterfalls in a spectacular display of determination on their way to their spawning grounds.
The best place to spot steelhead is at Willoughby Falls just outside Orleans in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.  Other places to see migrating steelhead include Coventry Falls on the Black River in Coventry and Lewis Creek Falls in North Ferrisburgh, though Willoughby Falls remains the best viewing opportunity.  
“When people think of wildlife watching, they typically think of moose or birds, but I would guess that most people don’t think of fish,” said Jud Kratzer, fisheries biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.  “This is a rare opportunity to watch fish in nature.  Images of salmon or trout jumping over scenic waterfalls are typical from places like Alaska, but many people may not realize we have thes…

Herrick’s Cove Wildlife Festival -- Sunday, May 6

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Here’s a great opportunity to learn more about wildlife -- the nineteenth annual Herrick’s Cove Wildlife Festival will be held 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 see 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 activities with the dep…

Game Wardens Pay Tribute to Warden Arnold Magoon

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BRANDON, Vt. – Vermont State Game Wardens paid tribute on Saturday, April 28 to the memory of Warden Arnold Magoon of Brandon who was killed 40 years ago by a suspected deer poacher.  The wardens gathered at the Magoon residence in Brandon to remember Warden Magoon and place a granite memorial commemorating his public service. 
“Magoon is the only fallen officer who served with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter.  “Our wardens initiated this memorial which reminds us of Warden Magoon’s dedication and ultimate sacrifice in protecting Vermont’s wildlife resources.”
Magoon, 47, was at home when he responded to gunshot one night in late April of 1978.  Magoon was bludgeoned to death with his own flashlight by a Brandon man suspected of killing a deer in a nearby field.  As a result, Scott Johnson, 24, was tried and convicted of second-degree murder and given a jail sentence of six to 20 years.
“It is very important to us that Ward…

F&W’s Conservation Camps Have Openings

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MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says it still has a few openings at its Green Mountain Conservation Camps this summer and that this is a great opportunity if you are 12 to 14 years old and want to learn about Vermont's wildlife and gain outdoor skills.    

The one-week camp program is held at two locations -- Lake Bomoseen in Castleton and Buck Lake in Woodbury.  Campers participate in hands-on learning about fish and wildlife conservation, ecology, forestry, orienteering, safe firearm and archery techniques, swimming, canoeing, fishing and more.  Natural resource professionals come to the camps to share information on their programs and take campers out for field activities.

“Whether kids come alone or with friends, they are guaranteed to meet new people while experiencing Vermont’s natural resources to the fullest,” said Fish & Wildlife Education Coordinator Alison Thomas.  “An important take-away message and common theme during the week is that …

Vermont’s Catch-and-Release Bass Fishing is Underway

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ESSEX, Vt. –  Vermont’s catch-and-release bass fishing season is underway with some of the hottest bass fishing action in the region happening right now.
“The spring catch-and-release season is a really special time to be on the water in Vermont, and the fishing can be truly spectacular,” said Bernie Pientka, state fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife.  “Combine warming weather, minimal boat traffic and feeding largemouth and smallmouth bass, and spring bass fishing is hard to beat.”
Vermont’s catch-and-release bass season runs primarily from the second Saturday in April to the Friday before the second Saturday in June, when Vermont’s traditional bass season opens. 
A full listing of waters and applicable regulations can be found in the 2018 Vermont Fishing Guide & Regulations, or by using the Online Fishing Regulations Tool found at www.vtfishandwildlife.com.
During the catch-and-release season, all bass must be immediately released after being caught and only art…