Hunting ban in VT refuge could have national implications
On September 1, 2021, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released the hunting and fishing plan for the Silvio Conte Refuge in northwest Vermont. At the direction of refuge management, the plan contained several previously undisclosed and inappropriate restrictions — lobbied for by anti-hunting and animal rights interests — on the use of all hunting dogs in the refuge.
These restrictions were not provided before the public comment period, so the hunting community never knew they were coming or had an opportunity to voice their concerns.
The restrictions included:
- Hunters using more than two dogs must possess a special use permit issued or denied at the pleasure of the refuge manager.
- At the Putney Mountain Unit, dogs may not be used for hunting any species other than ruffed grouse (prohibiting the taking of woodcock on the same hunt).
- The training of dogs in the refuge during Vermont’s State-supported June and July training seasons is now prohibited — allowed only in August with a special use permit issued or denied at the pleasure of the refuge manager.
In response to a lawsuit brought against the USFWS by several state and national organizations, they have reopened a comment period to address the rules that blindsided the Vermont hunting community. The public comment period closes on Thursday, May 25.
If the Conte Refuge is allowed to behave this way in Vermont, then close to one billion acres of land and water managed by the refuge system across the nation will also become vulnerable to similar shady moves.
This directly affects anyone who hunts refuge land anywhere in the country with retrievers, pointers, beagles, or hounds. However, if you care about hunting at all, this is yet another instance of how anti-hunting laws and legislation are gradually eroding our hunting rights.
Rather than have all of our emails disappear into a single junk folder, we are going to bypass the token comment portal and email the decision-makers at the USFWS directly.
CONTACT: The US FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE.
When you take action you'll be individually emailing 6 Members of US FWS and the general email for comments on this specific issue. 1 of thousands of different examples will pop up below for you to send or you can edit and write your own. In fact, we encourage you to write your own or add to ours for an even more unique message.
Vermont Residents! - Add something like this at the top of the email: Hi, I'm (Insert name) from (insert VT Town) if you are using our example email. You don't need to add anything else if you aren't further editing and the greeting and closing is automatically added when sent.