Stevenson: The Absurdity of Vermont’s Hunting Privileges | columnists

It is incomprehensible that stalking is legal. This activity offends on many levels, from the ethical treatment of wildlife, animal welfare (treatment of dogs, untargeted wildlife, and attacks on domestic animals and farms), the rights of private property and landowners (routinely violated by poachers), to public safety (they are routinely violated). attacking multiple people and pets without breaking the law).

Hunting has no basis in science, and in fact, it takes bears out of the woods, their native habitat, and into neighboring neighborhoods, cornfields, and roads, not the other way around, which is the false narrative that fish and wildlife love to circulate. You cannot mistreat animals with dogs if you are not in sight or verbal control of those dogs. These are hunting dogs, not border guards trained under skilled trainers.

In Vermont, hunters and fishermen are exempt from the rules that the public is expected to follow. Let’s list a few. Those with hunting licenses, especially those who hunt and hunt hounds, can physically gut and test “rabies vectors”—without gloves—for “sport.” However, the Department of Fish and Wildlife does not allow the general public to aid or come into contact with rabies-carrying animals.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife even prohibits veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitation specialists from helping most wild animals, including coyotes, deer, jays, young and adult raccoons, skunks, foxes, bears, and bear cubs, even when the animal’s injuries are a direct result. for human cruelty or neglect. However, poachers can stalk, harass and kill these same animals and directly handle their bodily fluids simply for recreation and posting selfies on social media.

Wildlife rehabilitators have a whole host of regulations and restrictions placed on them by the department that they have to abide by, or they could lose their licenses. However, these healers use their own money to help the wildlife and don’t receive a penny from the department. Therefore, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Commissioner, and the Fish and Wildlife Board have no qualms about enacting rules and restrictions on others, but when you target them, they are blackmailing.

In my opinion, no one in the department is held accountable when people attack hounds or when a woman’s rescue dog is caught in a terrible cone trap next to a public trial is inexcusable and inexcusable.

Historically, the US Fish and Wildlife Service was created for the benefit of ranchers and hunters in the West. The department’s mission was to eliminate any predators that might get in the farmers’ way or deemed “rivals” to “game” hunters. The methods traditionally used by Fish and Wildlife have been poisons such as compound 1080, trapping, and extermination of any wild animal that threatens the farms’ livestock.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife was never created to protect wildlife, nor has the department kept up with the latest in science and conservation. The department caters to small, dwindling groups of recreational hunters, hunters, and fishermen who can profit financially from what they kill.

Stalking is a serious public safety risk. Conflict between landowners and hunters occurred regularly. Those who fall victim to poachers have no recourse. Hounds also seem to be getting a free pass when it comes to animal cruelty and how hounds are treated, including how neglectfully keeping, moving and discarding the dogs is often over when the season is over.

Furthermore, wild animals are routinely used to train hunting dogs. Raccoons, opossums, and other animals are regularly captured and placed in cages and roll-mesh tubes and then given to hounds as bait. The chase is not complicated.

There was an opportunity to outlaw aspects of stalking last year in the legislature. The Senate Committee on Natural Resources decided, behind closed doors, to drop the ban and simply add a legal requirement that hunting dogs must wear shock collars in addition to “GPS” collars. “Shock collars,” which most hounds actually wear, do not control the dogs. Hounds are already being grossly abused and treated — which should make the activity illegal in and of itself, but rather than requiring hounds to control their dogs — which would mean being in plain sight and verbally controlled — legislators have added trauma to the mix. How can this be justified or truly accepted?

Hounds can come in from out of state, run their dogs, abuse wildlife, terrorize homeowners, even harm pets and farmed animals, and then leave without consequence. Vermont lawmakers have become part of the problem by complacently condoning this behavior.

Body-gripping traps should not be on public lands or off public trails. Hunting should be banned because hounds do not control their dogs. Hounds would be dog fighting and cockfighting if those activities were legal.

The Governor is responsible for the Fish and Wildlife Board and the Commissioner. He hunts, hunts and hunts. Until it is voted out of office or lawmakers push for responsible conservation and animal protection legislation, Vermont will continue to be ahead when it comes to same-sex marriage but the Wild West when it comes to wildlife, public safety, and conservation.

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