Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Vermonters Invited to Community Forum on Health of Moose Herd, Other Environmental Topics

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

MONTPELIER, VT - On Tuesday, June 26th at 4pm, Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) Secretary Julie Moore will host a gathering in Montpelier to discuss the health of Vermont’s moose herd and other topics related to Vermont’s natural world. Mark Scott, Director of Wildlife, and Cedric Alexander, Moose Project Leader for ANR’s Fish & Wildlife Department, will join the Secretary to lead the discussion. Together, they will talk about the current health, status, and management of moose in Vermont and share information about the latest moose study. They will also provide information about the impacts of winter ticks on moose. 

This gathering is part of the ongoing community series Tell Me More with Secretary Moore. The series is a way for the Secretary to hear the public’s thoughts, ideas, questions and concerns about Vermont’s natural world – from its land and water to its plants and wildlife. While the meeting on June 26th will begin with a conversation about Vermont’s moose herd, it will not be limited to this topic. The Secretary invites the public to come with any questions and comments they may have about Vermont’s environment.  

The gathering will be held in the Dewey Building at 1 National Life Drive in Montpelier on June 26th at 4pm. For those people who are not able to make it in person, a virtual meeting link is available:'casey/R99ZZLW5

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Posted by Wayne G. Barber

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has extended the season and increased the fall possession limit for the 2018 recreational black sea bass fishery.

Black sea bass (Centropristis striata) /Image courtesy Atlantic States Marine Fisheries CouncilThe new rules add nine days to the beginning of the season and ends the fall closure that was in place in 2017, giving an additional 31 days that were closed last year. The season is now open from June 24 through December 31.  During the first sub-period, June 24 to August 31, the possession limit remains at three fish per person, per day. The possession limit for the second sub-period, from September 1 through December 31, has increased to seven fish per person, per day. The minimum size for the entire season remains at 15 inches. 


The changes reflect the robust status of the black sea bass stock in the Northern Region of the Atlantic Ocean. On May 3, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approved revised measures for the 2018 recreational black sea bass fishery in response to an appeal brought by Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York to secure additional access to this abundant resource. The states argued that ASMFC’s action under Addendum XXX of the Interstate Management Plan for black sea bass, adopted in February, incorrectly applied technical data and was inconsistent with the Black Sea Bass Fishery Management Plan. With ASMFC’s OK, Rhode Island and neighboring states in the Northern Region are liberalizing regulations for the recreational black sea bass fishery from what was originally proposed by the Addendum. Black sea bass is an important sportfish in Rhode Island; as its population has grown in local waters, so too has its popularity as a recreational fishery.


Rhode Island is well known for its spectacular recreational opportunities.  According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation in Rhode Island generates $2.4 billion in consumer spending and supports 24,000 jobs. As part of a larger recreational invitation, local fishing plays an important role in connecting people with nature, promoting health, attracting tourism, and supporting a treasured tradition for Rhode Island families. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are approximately 175,000 recreational anglers (age 16+) in Rhode Island. And recreational fishing contributes more than $130 million to the economy each year.


For more information about DEM programs and initiatives, visit or follow us on Facebook at or via Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM). 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Maine Deer Kill Largest In Last Ten Years

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

AUGUSTA, Maine – Deer hunters in Maine harvested 27,233 deer in 2017, the highest total in the last ten years and an increase of 15% from 2016.

“An increasing deer herd in southern and central Maine, and favorable hunting conditions contributed to the best deer hunting season in ten years,” said Nathan Bieber, MDIFW Deer Biologist.

Maine’s deer hunt is broken down into several seasons for firearm hunters, muzzleloaders and bow hunters. This year the season framework stretched from September 9 to December 9. Most deer are harvested during the general firearms season (23,288), which started on October 28th and continued until November 25. Bowhunters took 2,099 deer, and hunters took 970 deer during the muzzleloading season. Maine’s junior hunters were also very successful on youth day, with 876 youth hunters taking a deer this year.

“Deer hunting is large part of Maine’s cultural heritage. Each year, over 200,000 hunters head into the woods of Maine,” said Bieber. “Hunting also provides many in Maine with a sustainable source of high quality, organic, free-range protein.”

The deer hunting season allows the department to manage the deer herd and provide wildlife watching and hunting opportunity in much of the state while decreasing the deer population in other areas in order to reduce deer/car collisions and property damage, and prevalence of lyme disease.

Adult bucks by far comprised the vast majority of the harvest, with hunters taking 18,255 antlered bucks. With 66,050 anterless permits issued, hunters harvested 8,978 antlerless deer.

According to Maine’s deer hunter surveys, on average deer hunters spent 37 hours hunting deer during the season, averaging 4.3 hours afield each trip.

For this coming deer season, a total 84,745 any-deer permits are proposed for 22 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts across the state, an increase of 28% Last year, there were 66,050 permits available to hunters.  Hunters who do not receive an Any Deer permit are only allowed to shoot an antlered deer (with some exceptions during archery season and on youth day). The proposed permit numbers await approval by the IFW advisory council. There will be a public hearing on the proposed permit numbers on Tuesday, June 26 at 6:00 p.m. at room 209A in the Augusta Armory.

“Last year’s winter was more moderate in central and southern Maine, while up north, winter was a little more severe on average than years past. The change in the number of any deer permits reflect that,” said Bieber.

Permit numbers are increasing in nine southern and central wildlife management districts, are decreasing in 11 WMDs and staying the same in nine WMDS. You can find the complete numbers at

The department uses the any-deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. The ability to adjust the state’s deer populations derives from the ability to increase, or decrease, the number of breeding does on the landscape. White-tailed deer are at the northern edge of their range in Maine, and winter severity is a limiting factor concerning population growth. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends.

Last year, MDIFW wildlife biologists examined over 20% of the state’s deer harvest, collecting biological data to monitor deer health throughout the state.  In addition to examining registered deer and gathering biological data, lymph nodes were collected in ongoing efforts to monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Maine.

CWD sampling efforts were targeted around towns with active captive cervid facilities, winter feeding operations, and/or high cervid densities. We collected samples from 476 deer, which were sent to the Colorado State University- Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory for testing. All samples tested negative for CWD prion.

The deer harvest for the past ten years is as follows: 2007 -- 28,885; 2008 -- 21,062; 2009 --18,092; 2010 -- 20,063; 2011  -- 18,839; 2012 -- 21,365; 2013 -- 24,217; 2014 -- 22,490; 2015 -- 20,325; 2016 -- 23,512; 2017 -- 27,233.            

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

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, slow growing fish in Berlin Pond, including one yellow perch that was estimated to be 23 years old,” said Ladago.  “This was quite a surprise considering the average life expectancy of yellow perch in Vermont is around eight years.”
While there are some concerns about expanding the current daily limit on yellow perch, the department is especially seeking input on potential bass harvest on the pond.
“Please join us on June 20, and bring stories of your Berlin Pond fishing experiences,” added Ladago.

Source: VT Media Press Release

Monday, June 4, 2018

New York hunting buddies connect on multi-bearded gobblers.

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Amsterdam, N.Y. — Eric Lawler and longtime hunting buddy Jerrod Vila had a goal in mind this spring: to double up on spring gobblers. Not just on the same day, but at the same time using the popular – and often failed – “1, 2, shoot!” method.
When it works, it’s memorable.
The hunting duo had no idea just how memorable their May 6 hunt would be.
Lawler, of Huntington (Suffolk County) and Vila, of Amsterdam (Montgomery County), teamed up not just on a pair of long beards, but two multi-bearded gobblers that forged their way into the National Wild Turkey Federation record books.
One bird sported an incredible six beards; the other three.
The only minor problem with the hunt was, who shot which bird?
“We have no idea,” said Lawler, pictured on the left in the above photo, next to Vila and his bird. “By the time we got to the birds they had flopped around about 4,000 times. But we talked it over with the NWTF and they’re going to put both our names on both birds, which we think is great.”
The pair pulled off the double on Sunday morning, after some typical close calls the previous day – one foiled by a coyote that entered the picture and another when Lawler held off on shooting a long beard because a double wasn’t in the cards.
A spring flock – two long beards and several hens – flew down and eventually drifted off on Sunday morning, and the pair decided to head to another spot a few miles away. When Lawler broke out his old Lynch World Champion box call and gave a few yelps, a gobbler boomed a response from close range.
“We looked at each other in complete and utter panic and knew we had to move fast,” Vila said. “We knew they were closing the distance quickly.”
In minutes, the pair of heavy-bearded birds had approached to 30 yards. Lawler readied his Remington 12 gauge, Vila his old Harrington & Richardson single-shot 10 gauge.
“You take the right and I’ll take the left.”
“1…2… Boom!”
“Our shots were so perfectly in sync that Eric looked over to me and asked ‘Did you shoot?’” Vila recalled. “I excitedly said, ‘Yeah!’”
When the pair arrived at the flopping birds, they got the surprise of their turkey-hunting lives.
“It was pretty incredible just getting a double, but when we saw the beards it was amazing,” Lawler said.
“Looking over these gobblers and coming to terms that we really did have a legitimate sextuple bearder and a very large triple bearder, it became apparent that these two birds could possibly make the record book,” Vila said.
Using the NWTF’s scoring system (weight, total beard length times two, total spur length times 10), the pair rough-scored the six-bearded gobbler at 110-115.
“As we met up with the other guys in our group at a local diner and looked up the New York state turkey records, we saw that even the low side of that estimate would easily make the top 10 largest gobblers ever harvested in New York. From there, we figured it would be in our best interest to have them both officially scored,” Vila said.
That scoring came easier than expected; the NWTF was conducting a contest a mere 45 minutes away in Cobleskill, and NWTF regional director Sean Langevin did the honors. The six-bearded bird tallied 119.35, ranking it as the fifth largest ever taken in New York. The three-bearded tom scored 86.82 and ranks 31st all time in the Empire State.
They are also 1-2 in the NWTF record books for gobblers harvested in Montgomery County.
The six-bearded gobbler taken by Lawler-Vila had beards measuring from 9.75 to 6.75 inches. It weighed 18.35 pounds and sported one-inch spurs.
The three-bearded tom had beards of 9.25, 7, and 6 inches, and spurs of one inch. It weighed a hefty 22.32 pounds.
The six-bearded tom is headed to Cally Morris’s Hazel Creek Taxidermy in Missouri.
And, since the pair have no idea who actually shot that nontypical gobbler, he’s going to do a replica mount of it so they each have one to display.
“He (Morris) said that’s the first time he’s ever had that request,” Lawler said. Source:
The six-bearded tom is headed to Cally Morris’s Hazel Creek Taxidermy in Missouri.
And, since the pair have no idea who actually shot that nontypical gobbler, he’s going to do a replica mount of it so they each have one to display.
“He (Morris) said that’s the first time he’s ever had that request,” Lawler said. Source: Outdoor News Steve Piatt

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Fawns are arriving; leave them alone urges the Outdoor Scene

Posted  by Wayne G. Barber

 photo by Wayne Laroche

The New England  Fish &Wildlife Departments 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 different times during the day and often leave their young alone for long periods of time.  These animals are not lost.  Their mother knows where they are and will return.
  • Deer normally will not feed or care for their young when people are close by. 
  • Deer fawns will imprint on humans and lose their natural fear of people, which can be essential to their survival. 
  • Keep domestic pets under control at all times.  Dogs often will kill fawns and other baby animals. 
For the safety of all wildlife, taking a wild animal into captivity is illegal in Vermont.
“It’s in the best interest of New Englanders and the wildlife that live here, for all of us to maintain a respectful distance and help keep wildlife wild,” Source: Vermont Fish & Wildlife