News and announcements from Vermont Fish and Wildlife

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Aug. 6 Declared Hatchery Day in Vermont

Governor Peter Shumlin and officials from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department today announced the declaration of Aug. 6 as "Hatchery Day" in Vermont in recognition of the important role the state's fish hatcheries play toward benefiting Vermont's environment and outdoor recreationalists.

"First and foremost, Vermont's fish hatcheries play an integral role in the successful management of the state's fisheries," said Shumlin. "They're also a symbol of Vermont's commitment to our natural resources, a tremendous tool for educating the public about the environment, and a significant part of the state's history. I'm excited to help celebrate the importance and tradition of Vermont's fish hatcheries through this declaration."

Hatchery Day, which will be celebrated by open houses and other activities at the state's hatcheries, will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bennington Fish Culture Station and the 125th anniversary of the Roxbury Fish Culture Station, a facility soon to be rebuilt following impacts from Tropical Storm Irene.

"Much has changed since the state's first hatchery opened in 1891, but our commitment to raising fish to restore fisheries and provide quality recreational angling opportunities has remained steadfast," said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. "Hatchery staff work extremely hard, often around-the-clock, to ensure the hatcheries run efficiently and effectively and meet these overarching objectives. Hatchery Day will be a celebration of the past, present and future of the program -- one that we're very proud of."

The public is invited to attend open houses at all five of the state's fish hatcheries on Saturday, August 6, beginning at 9 a.m. These hatcheries include: Ed Weed Fish Culture Station in Grand Isle; Roxbury Fish Culture Station in Roxbury; Ball Hill Fish Culture Station in Newark; Salisbury Fish Culture Station in Salisbury; and Bennington Fish Culture Station in Bennington.

"We encourage families and people of all ages to take a tour of our hatcheries, participate in a range of fun activities for the day and learn how we raise fish and why raising them is so important to Vermont," said Adam Miller, fish culture operations manager with Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

Each year Vermont's hatcheries produce approximately 1.5 million fish for stocking, including a range of species such as brook, brown, rainbow, lake and steelhead trout, as well as walleye and landlocked Atlantic salmon.

Along with their role in fisheries restoration, stocked fish also serve as an economic driver for the state, accounting for roughly $31.6 million annually in angler expenditures added to Vermont's economy.

To learn more about Hatchery Day in Vermont, Vermont's fisheries programs, fishing regulations, or to purchase a fishing license, visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com.

Learn more about hunting at free seminars

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department will be holding a series of free seminars to teach people more about hunting.

The seminars will cover a variety of hunting techniques and species and will give participants the opportunity to try a new style of hunting or to learn more about a style of hunting they already enjoy. The seminars topics include Vermont Black Bears from A-Z; Small Game Hunting; White-tailed Deer Hunting and Processing; Youth Waterfowl Hunter Training; Law Updates for Firearm Range Operators; and Advanced Bowhunting.

Participants will learn how to field dress a deer, identify ducks, track a bear, or safely shoot a bow from a treestand. The seminars will be taught by current and former Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department staff, as well as hunter education volunteers. One highlight of the programs will be former Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry giving a demonstration on bird hunting with dogs.

"Both experienced and first-time hunters stand to benefit from these seminars," said John Pellegrini, hunter education training coordinator with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. "We will provide useful information including practical hunting tips, ecology and behavior of these animals, and how to have a fun, safe experience in the woods."

All seminars are free and include lunch. Sign up at vtfishandwildlife.com. Space is limited to the first 30 signups and they fill up quickly, so signup as early as possible. For more information, call John Pellegrini at 802-272-2909.

• Vermont Black Bears from A-Z: Aug. 20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mountain Deer Taxidermy, Northfield. This seminar covers basic bear biology, successfully hunting bears, and processing bear meat. Signup deadline is Aug. 17.

• Youth Waterfowl Hunter Training: Aug. 20, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sportsman Club of Franklin County, St. Albans. The seminar will instruct young waterfowlers aged 12 to 17 in waterfowl identification, hunting regulations, duck and goose calling, decoy sets, and safe shooting techniques. Signup deadline is Aug. 17.

• Small Game Hunting: Aug. 27, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Randolph Fish & Game Club, Randolph. The seminar will feature workshops on hunting rabbits with beagles, hunting ruffed grouse with dogs from former Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry, and squirrel hunting. The seminar will conclude with a shooting workshop hosted by Randolph Fish and Game. Signup deadline is Aug. 24.

• White-tailed Deer Hunting and Processing: Sept. 17, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mountain Deer Taxidermy, Northfield. The seminar will feature Vermont Fish & Wildlife deer biologist Nick Fortin, as well as Whitetail Tracker Brad Lockwood. Rodney and Theresa Elmer will demonstrate how to field dress, process, and prepare a deer for taxidermy. Signup deadline is Sept. 14.

• Law Updates for Firearm Range Operators: Sept. 17, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Annex Building, Montpelier. The seminar will go over changes to Act 250 and Act 145 that affect firearm range operation. Staff will cover changes to lead management in environmental stewardship plans and how to improve safety and noise mitigation at ranges, essential information for all range managers. Signup deadline is Sept. 14.

• Advanced Bowhunting: Sept. 24, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Chelsea Fish & Game Club, Chelsea. This seminar will demonstrate advanced techniques for bowhunting, including equipment, hunting tactics, and treestand safety. Signup deadline is Sept. 21.

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities are available upon request. Please include a description of the accommodation you will need. Individuals making such requests must include their contact information. Please send an e-mail to: Catherine.Gjessing@Vermont.Gov or call the office staff at 802-828-1000 (voice), 1-800-253-0191 (TTY).

Vermont moose hunting permit winners are drawn

The winners of Vermont's 2016 moose hunting permits were determined Aug. 2 at a lottery drawing at the Statehouse in Montpelier.

Governor Peter Shumlin, standing alongside Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter, started the computer-generated selection process that randomly picked 160 winners from more than 8,315 lottery applicants.

The drawing is done by a random sort of applications that were submitted by a July 12, deadline.

As part of the regular lottery drawing, a "special priority drawing" was held for five permits to go to applicants who are Vermont resident veterans. The unsuccessful applicants from the veteran drawing were included in the larger regular drawing that followed. All applicants for both drawings who did not receive a permit were awarded a bonus point to improve their chances in future moose permit lotteries.

The lottery was held for 25 moose permits to be used in the Vermont's October 1-7 archery moose hunting season and 135 moose permits for the October 15-20 regular moose season.

"Today's lottery drawing helps celebrate one of Vermont's successes in science-based wildlife management," said State Wildlife Biologist Cedric Alexander. "Vermont's first moose hunt was in 1993, when 25 moose were taken with 30 permits issued. We expect close to 80 moose will be taken this fall in a carefully regulated hunt."

Winners in this year's moose hunting lottery are posted in a searchable database on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).

If your name wasn't drawn, you can still bid in Vermont's auction for five moose hunting permits, which is open until Aug. 10. Sealed bids must be received by Vermont Fish & Wildlife by 4:30 p.m. that day. Contact the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to receive a moose permit bid kit. Telephone 802-828-1190 or email (cheri.waters@state.vt.us).

Vermont's moose hunt auction closes Aug. 10

Vermont's auction for five moose hunting permits is open until 4:30 p.m. Aug. 10. Bids will be opened and winners notified on Aug. 11.

Auction winners will hunt in one of several wildlife management units (WMUs) open to moose hunting and choose to hunt during the October 1-7 archery season, or in the October 15-20 regular season.

Bids must be entered with a sealed bid form available from Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

A minimum bid of $1,500 is required, and winning bids are typically at least $4,000. Bids do not include the cost of a hunting license (residents $26, nonresidents $100) or moose hunting permit fee ($100 for residents and $350 for nonresidents).

Additional information about the auction is on Vermont Fish & Wildlife's website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com). Bid packets can be obtained by calling Fish & Wildlife at 802-828-1190 or by emailing (Cheri.Waters@Vermont.Gov).

Proceeds from the moose hunting permit auction help fund Vermont Fish & Wildlife educational programs.

More than 5,500 wild turkeys harvested in spring season

A preliminary report from Vermont Fish & Wildlife shows that hunters brought home 5,537 wild turkeys during the spring hunting season — 40 more than the average of the three previous years, including 662 turkeys taken during the April youth weekend hunt.

"The hunter success rate remained steady with 21 percent of hunters harvesting at least one bird," said state wild turkey project leader Amy Alfieri. "And, 32 percent of those successful hunters harvested a second bearded bird to fill the two-bird spring bag limit."

More hunters participated in the hunt this year with 17,249 turkey hunting licenses being purchased, compared to 16,511 in 2015.

Turkeys were hunted statewide with turkeys harvested in 241 of Vermont's 253 towns. The central Connecticut River Valley saw the highest number of birds taken with 628 from WMU-J2. Hunters took 555 turkeys in WMU-B, in the northwest, and 491 from north-central WMU-D1.

Alfieri says the 2010-2020 Big Game Management Plan calls for prioritizing high quality spring hunting over fall harvest opportunities and that it is really paying off.

"We believe this management strategy helped stimulate the statewide expansion of turkeys, resulting in an impressive string of record harvests, including the most recent in 2013 when 6,362 turkeys were taken," she said. "Long-term harvest trends suggest that turkey harvest numbers were stable through 2008. We have been closely monitoring a slight declining trend in the annual harvest since then, but it is a positive sign to see an uptick in the harvest this past season."

Conservation of wild turkey habitat continues to play a key role in the health and vitality of their population. Alfieri notes that a patchwork of fields and forests provide most of what a turkey needs to survive. "Efforts from private landowners, conservation groups and state agencies to protect habitat go a long way toward ensuring wild turkeys are around in the future."

Putney landing fishing access closed for repair

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department will close the Putney Landing Access Area on the Connecticut River starting Aug. 8, in order to rebuild the boat launching ramp.

The closure will last about a week. The old existing ramp is short and shallow. It will be removed, and new pre-cast concrete planks will be installed to a depth of six feet below the low water level.

Boaters who wish to access the Connecticut River can utilize the Dummerston Access Area on the same road, one-half mile to the south of the Putney Landing ramp. The Dummerston ramp is shallow and may not accommodate all boats. The Old Ferry Road ramp in Brattleboro is another alternative seven miles south of the Putney Landing ramp. It can accommodate a larger number of boats of all sizes.


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