Showing posts from June, 2018

Fishing Access Areas Not Safe for Swimming

MONTPELIER, Vt. –The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reminds the public not to swim at fishing access areas due to safety concerns.  The primary use of the fishing access areas is for launching and retrieving motorboats. 
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department maintains 190 developed fishing access areas on lakes and rivers throughout the state.  These areas have allowed uses determined by law, and swimming is not one of them. 
The access areas were purchased and are maintained with funds derived from the sale of fishing licenses and motorboat registrations, as well as a federal excise tax on fishing equipment, fishing tackle, and gasoline for motorboats.  These funding sources explicitly prohibit activities that are in conflict with fishing and boating.
Fish & Wildlife regulations prohibit certain uses of fishing access areas including, but not limited to -- swimming, littering, camping, picnicking, making a fire, parking of vehicles not related to priority uses, and c…

VT Fish & Wildlife Partners with VT State Parks to Offer Free Let’s Go Fishing Clinics

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Three state parks are working with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to offer free Let’s Go Fishing clinics on a weekly basis this summer. Lake Bomoseen, Lake St. Catherine, and Boulder Beach State Parks will be offering these free clinics.
The Let’s Go Fishing program is a network of trained volunteer instructors administered by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department who educate Vermonters and visitors of all ages and abilities about angling.  Instructors teach fishing skills and techniques, the importance of quality aquatic habitat, fishing ethics, and fishing regulations.  Clinics are free after paid admission to the state park and all equipment is provided on site.
“Fishing is a fun group activity, and these guided weekly clinics make the learning process simple and enjoyable.  We’ve had entire families come and learn together,” said Corey Hart, Education Specialist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife.
Vermont’s rural landscape and abundant waterways …

Barnet Man Sentenced in Deer Poaching Incident

Previously Convicted of Two Dozen Fish and Wildlife Crimes
DANVILLE, Vt. – A Barnet man has been sentenced to two years in prison with all but 30 days suspended and ordered to pay $850 in fines after pleading no contest to five charges stemming from an October 2017 incident.
Carl Sanborn, 49, pled no contest to five charges, including taking big game by illegal means, hunting while under revocation, shooting from a roadway, failure to stop for a game warden, and contributing to juvenile delinquency.  Sanborn has previously been convicted of 24 fish and wildlife crimes dating back to 1993 and had been sentenced to 81 days and fined $6,800 because of these previous convictions.
Sanborn was convicted of taking part in the shooting of a deer decoy on the night of Saturday, October 21.  The decoy was placed by Vermont State Game Wardens in an area in Danville with a long history of poaching activity. Sanborn’s son, Jonathan, 21, was also charged in the incident with six counts for allegedly f…

Printed Muzzleloader Antlerless Deer Permit Applications Available

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- Vermont’s muzzleloader season antlerless deer hunting permit applications are on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website (, and now printed applications are also 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.  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 Wildlife management Units (WMU), which is estimated to result in 3,914 antlerless deer being taken.

Landowners who post their land may not apply for a landowner priority muzzleloader antlerless deer permit.  They are eligible to apply in the regular …

One Hundred Hunters Fail to Meet Vermont’s New Bear Tooth Rule Requirements

MONTPELIER, Vt – A new rule passed in 2017 by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board requires hunters to collect and submit a pre-molar bear tooth within 48 hours of shooting a bear. The submission must be to a game warden or other department official. The mandatory collection, created with the advice of Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, was intended to increase compliance and improve data collection on this important species. Failure to do so is a civil violation, meaning it carries no criminal penalty, nor does it result in points being assessed against hunters’ licenses. Repeated failures can result in a fine of $105.00. This year, 100 hunters failed to meet the new requirements.
Among those who did not submit a bear tooth on time was Col. Jason Batchelder, the head of Vermont’s Game Wardens. Although Batchelder found the tooth and eventually submitted it, he did so well after the deadline.
“Improving data collection was our aim. We wrote the rule this way because, while data coll…

Give Nesting Loons Space

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is asking boaters and anglers to give loons a hand this summer by enjoying them from a safe distance. 
Loons were removed from Vermont’s endangered species list in 2005 following decades of recovery effort.  But one of the main threats still facing loons as they continue to recover is human disturbance during the breeding season.
“Most areas where loons are nesting on Vermont’s lakes are surrounded by signs reminding people to give loons the space they need, but not all nesting areas are marked,” said John Buck, a wildlife biologist with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.  “We’re asking people to enjoy loons from a distance using binoculars, whether they are in a motor boat, canoe, or a kayak.” 
Buck also reminds people to avoid lead fishing tackle.  Loons sometimes swallow stray fishing tackle and suffer the effects of lead poisoning. Lead sinkers weighing one-half ounce or less are illegal in Vermont, but larger ta…

Electric Fencing Offers Protection Against Chicken Predation

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Keeping a small flock of chickens at home to provide eggs and meat has become increasingly popular, but many first-time small-scale poultry farmers are discovering that several species of wildlife like the taste of chicken as much as we do.  The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department urges poultry owners to use electric fencing and follow other precautions to protect their birds from predation.
“We have had a dramatic increase in the number of complaints of bears, foxes, raccoons, fisher, coyotes, skunks, and bobcats preying on chickens,” said Colonel Jason Batchelder, Vermont’s chief game warden.  “Many of the calls are coming from people who are new at keeping chickens and who do not provide sufficient protection for their birds.” “Electric net fencing, secure housing and a few other measures can help protect back yard chickens from most wildlife predation,” he added.  Protecting free-ranging chickens is impossible, so Batchelder urges people to keep their birds co…

VTF&W Hosts Public Discussion June 20 on Berlin Pond Fishing Regulations

BERLIN VT – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is hosting a public discussion on Berlin Pond fishing regulations on Wednesday, June 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Fish & Wildlife Department Annex building at 190 Junction Road in Berlin, across from the Amtrak train station.
Bret Ladago, a fisheries biologist with the department will present background fisheries information, answer related questions, collect angler observations, and discuss potential future regulations. 
In 2012, Berlin Pond was opened to public recreation, including fishing, for the first time in many decades.  A “test water designation” was implemented in June 2012 to reduce potential overfishing of unexploited fish populations.  It protected bass from harvest and reduced the limit of yellow perch from 50 to 10 fish daily.  This test water designation expires at the end of 2018, and the department is seeking public opinion on future fishing regulations for Berlin Pond. 
“We have found some extremely old, s…

Help Keep Vermont’s Bears Wild

Report Bear Incidents to Vt Fish & Wildlife Department Website
MONTPELIER, VT – Conflicts between people and Vermont’s healthy bear population are becoming more common and Vermont State Game Wardens and biologists have been busy fielding calls from the public.  Reports of bears frequenting human areas have been on the rise this summer, especially in the towns of Middlebury, East Montpelier, Lyndonville, Waterbury, Duxbury, Bolton, Killington, Richmond, and Addison.  

According to Vermont Fish and Wildlife bear biologist Forrest Hammond, black bears are naturally skittish, but lose their fear of people as they begin to associate human areas with food rewards. Allowing bears to feed off backyard birdseed, garbage, livestock, and beehives causes them to get overly comfortable around humans, which often leads to negative consequences for the bear.
“Once a bear is conditioned to associate people with food, little can be done to fix the problem because relocating bears is rarely effective…

Bomoseen State Park Named Most ‘Family-Friendly’ Fishing Spot in Vermont

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation has nominated Bomoseen State Park in Castleton as the best family-friendly fishing spot in Vermont. 
Bomoseen is now in the running for being named among the foundation’s ‘Top 10 Mom-Approved Places to Fish and Boat in the Nation.’  Voting is open now through June 29 and each vote is a chance to win a family fishing and boating trip to Florida.
“Taking kids fishing can be one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a summer day,” said Shawn Good, a fisheries biologist stationed near Bomoseen who frequently fishes there with his son.  “Bomoseen State Park has many of the things that make for a successful fishing trip with young children. It’s best to break up time spent fishing with other activities, and Bomoseen has playgrounds and a beach to go swimming during that down time.  There are also canoe and kayak rentals so that families can get out on the water together while they’re fishing.”
Bomoseen also participates in Vermont…

Vermont’s Summer Free Fishing Day is Saturday, June 9

Grand Isle Family Fishing Festival, Bass Opener both on Free Fishing Day
MONTPELIER, Vt. –Vermont’s annual, statewide Summer Free Fishing Day is Saturday, June 9 this year, and it will be highlighted by a free family fishing festival in Grand Isle as well as opening day of the state’s regular bass fishing season.
“Vermont’s Free Fishing Day gives resident and nonresident anglers the opportunity to go fishing without a license for the day in Vermont lakes and streams,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter.  “Fishing is an activity that can be shared with friends and family or easily taught to newcomers while enjoying quality time together.”  
Free Fishing Day in Vermont also will be celebrated at the “Grand Isle Family Fishing Festival,” to be held at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station at 14 Bell Hill Road in Grand Isle.  The festival will run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Designed for young anglers and families, this exciting event offers basic fishing instruction and the chan…

GOT BATS? Summer Volunteers Needed: Trainings to be Held in Castleton (June 21) and Ferrisburgh (June 27)

CASTLETON and FERRISBURGH, Vt. – The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is looking for volunteer citizen scientists to count bats in the greater Champlain Valley and a few other sites around the state this summer. Long-term monitoring is critical to the management and recovery of endangered little brown bats in Vermont. Volunteers will receive training at this event and be matched with monitoring sites after learning about these rare, insect-eating mammals. The events start at 7:30 and finish after dusk, around 9:30.
Bomoseen State Park, 22 Cedar Mountain Road, Castleton, VT on June 21 (Rain date June 22)Rokeby Museum, 4334 Route 7, Ferrisburgh, VT on June 27 (Rain date June 28)Alyssa Bennett is the Small Mammals Biologist at the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, where she works mainly on the conservation and recovery of Vermont’s nine bat species. Bennett will provide a 30-minute presentation about Vermont bats, their natural history and threats, and ways the publ…

Release of Aquarium Fish or Plants is an Environmental Threat

ESSEX, Vt. – Keeping an aquarium with tropical fish and plants can be fun and educational.  But, releasing these fish or plants outdoors can be harmful to native species and is prohibited by Vermont law according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. 
Many of the common tropical fishes and aquatic plants kept in home aquariums originate from Central and South America, Africa and southeast Asia.  While some are imported, others are raised here, most notably in Florida. 
Unfortunately, some exotic fishes are released into the wild each year by their owners.  People may not be able to take their fish with them when they move, or they may simply lose interest in maintaining an aquarium.  Some tropical fish also can grow too large for their aquarium. 
There are several good reasons not to release aquarium fishes and plants into the wild.  If they survive, and reproduce, they are difficult, if not impossible to control or eradicate.  They can cause changes in the native aquatic env…

Enjoy Vermont’s Wildlife From a Distance

Keep wildlife wild
BURLINGTON – State health and wildlife officials have one message for people who come across any animals in the wild – “Just leave them be.”
The State’s head game warden, Col. Jason Batchelder, says spring is the time of year when wardens get calls from people who find little animals they believe are abandoned or orphaned, and take the animals home to care for them. Batchelder says that’s bad for the animals, and potentially for people too. “It’s perfectly normal for young wildlife to be on their own, especially newborn fawns.” said Batchelder. “Young and small animals can be irresistibly cute, but their best chance of survival is to remain in the wild. If you have concerns about an animal, contact the local game warden.”
Natalie Kwit, DVM, is Vermont’s public health veterinarian. “It’s easy to think an animal in the wild may need rescuing, especially a baby animal. Even though they can be cute, wild animals are not pets, and can pose serious health risks to people wh…

Public reminded to not disturb spawning sea lamprey in Connecticut River Drainage

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding anglers and the general public as a whole to avoid disturbing spawning sea lamprey that may currently be found in the Connecticut River and several of its tributaries.
“Sea lamprey are native to the Connecticut River Basin and play a vital role in the ecosystem,” said Lael Will, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “Vermont is also home to a separate population of non-native sea lamprey that are actively controlled as a nuisance species in Lake Champlain. Confusion can arise over the differing management goals for these two populations of Vermont sea lamprey.  We believe it is important to highlight and contrast the conservation value of Connecticut River sea lamprey, educate the public and encourage folks to do their part to protect this important population of fish.”
“If you happen to see a spawning sea lamprey or a carcass, don’t be alarmed,” said Will. “The fish provide a number of important …