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Letter to the editor: Wildlife officials ignore majority

The population of moose has drastically declined in Vermont due to winter ticks, brainworm, lungworm, loss of habitat and hunting. Yet, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and Board still support a 2018 moose hunt. For too long the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and Board (solely made up of hunters and trappers with vested self-interests) have catered to hunters and trappers, at the expense of animals, wildlife, homeowners, and non-hunting Vermonters.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board’s rationale (and that of many moose hunters and hunting guides) is that if the moose hunt is suspended, it will be hard to reinstate. And this is how wildlife policy is made — by pandering to “sport” hunters and irrational, self-serving thinking.
In the 1800s, the moose population was nearly wiped out because of hunting. Now the moose again are suffering. Moose who are injured and not recovered do not even count towards a hunter’s “bag limit.” Why is it that the Fish and Wildlife Department and Board cater to a few when the majority of Vermonters want to see ethical and responsible management?
The fact that the non-hunting public and homeowners have so little say in the way wildlife is managed by Vermont Fish and Wildlife is undemocratic and irresponsible. Animals can be trapped without having to be reported. Traps can be set nearly anywhere, including on public land near walking and hiking trails. Vermont allows killing “contests” and “open” seasons on a number of animals. The way wildlife is managed — or mismanaged — by Vermont’s Fish and Wildlife department and board needs to change.
There are many Vermonters who enjoy viewing wildlife. Wildlife provides peace, beauty, and tranquility to hectic lives. Wildlife watching, including viewing moose, contributes to the economy. In many states, far more than hunting does. Those who like to view and/or photograph wildlife, hike, and participate in non-consumptive outdoor recreation need to have a say in how policy is made and how wildlife is managed in Vermont.
Alana Stevenson
Charlotte

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