Vermont’s wildlife laws and regulations are voted into place by 14 fish and wildlife board members, one from each county in Vermont . What many people may not know is that all of the board members are trappers and/or hunters and it has been this way for decades. There is growing concern that this board operates only to serve the interests of their fellow hunters and trappers and the rest of the public is ignored, which I have witnessed firsthand repeatedly. But there is hope for change. House bill H.336 seeks to add six “non-consumptive” members to the fish and wildlife board, including a wildlife biologist, fishery biologist, and two non-consumptive users, someone who does not hunt or trap. The bill also seeks to add a wildlife management advisory board.
Vermont hunters and trappers have been unfairly regulating hunting, trapping, and wildlife management for decades and now countless Vermonters are seeking long-overdue changes to this insular board. The current board primarily focuses on fish and wild game for the purpose of hunting, trapping, and fishing. However, the purpose of the Vermont fish and wildlife board is to: “consider, amend, and vote on rules that govern management of fish and wildlife resources,” not solely to represent hunters and trappers and their personal interests.
In order to afford more equitable and responsible decision-making concerning Vermont’s wildlife regulations, we must address the root of the problem: the board’s structure. It must be restructured in order to create a balanced, fair, and well educated wildlife team. If this can be accomplished, it would be a crucial turning point that would help Vermont move away from the current narrow minded, out dated and biased grip the board has over decisions impacting our cherished and innocent wildlife.
When it comes to finding the best solutions and techniques pertaining to wildlife matters, this blatant pro trapping and hunting tactic for representing Vermont’s animals and their habitat is irresponsible to say the least. In order to properly and effectively enact wildlife regulations there must be varied environmental and wildlife perspectives and backgrounds being casted into every vote and sadly that is not the case.
Help give Vermont’s wildlife a more fair voice and fight by supporting bill H.336. Write and call your legislators and spread awareness about this bill. It can be found at http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2018/H.336