Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Anti-hunters back board change

Senator Bray is the chair on the senate Natural Resources and Energy committee. He is leading the charge to disband the current Fish & Wildlife Board structure and turn it over to non-consumptive users (anti’s) who want to stop all trapping and some hunting activities which will lead to stopping all hunting and trapping practices eventually. They say that is not the intent but that is the ultimate goal of special interest groups.

I have served on the Fish and Wildlife for the past two years. Not once has Senator Bray or Hardy personally attended a board meeting. Yet Senator Hardy sent an email to a constituent indicating that Bray is an “expert” on the issue. Senator Bray does not have a hunting or fishing license, hasn’t personally attended a F&W Board meet, he did not attend the legislative sportsmen’s caucus February 20th held at the state house (I did), and he’s an expert!

Currently the Board is made up of 14 people, one from each county. Bray wants 15 members, many who are considered non-consumptive users, and there is no geographical consideration for appointments. Several members would be from organizations that don’t support our traditional uses of hunting and trapping. A non-consumptive user is defined as someone who doesn’t hunt or fish.

So, if I give up my hunting and fishing license, I could apply as a non-consumptive member. Make sense? Of course not.

I continue to hear from people who contact Bray and Hardy with thoughtful input to the bill and get no response.

Their goal is to eliminate the hunting and trapping practices. I have spoken with a trapper in Massachusetts where recreational trapping was banned 1996 with only nuisance trapping currently permitted. Now they trap year around and homeowner pays for the service and majority of pelts have no value. This could happen here if S.258 passes.

It’s not possible to have an open discussion with anti’s. They want a total ban on our lifestyle. How do I know? At one of the trapping hearings, one person stated, “I don’t care what changes you make, I’m against them.”

When the Department of Fish and Wildlife worked on best management practices for trapping they included several people from special interest groups. Several improvements were made to trapping rules, but there was never an agreement from the special interest groups. It’s clear the proposed board make up will be nothing but harmful the wildlife species in Vermont.

I responded to an email someone sent me who opposed trapping. The first thing I stated was that I wasn’t a trapper, I then respectfully stated the benefits and value of trapping from my view. Here is the response to my email: “they hoped I would step into my own trap and starved to death.” They said more than but it isn’t fit for printing.

In speaking with a former F&W Board member, they had their life threatened while serving. How does a board work with that kind of hatred at the table?

Every discussion and consideration made by the board is guided by professional F&W staff, and board members have a wide array of F&W experience and expertise. Over the past 100 years conservation over preservation has proved to be the best way to manage wildlife. Managing wildlife keeps species healthy through harvesting and regulated practices. Where is the science that says the current process doesn’t provide that?

Life is about balance, including wildlife. Current Fish and Wildlife regulations achieve that balance. Wildlife management should never fall victim to misguided politics and emotions or fall into the hands of special interest groups. Conservation and science has worked extremely well and is the best way forward.

I oppose S.258, and if you do call the state house and ask the Sergeant of Arms to deliver a message to Senators Bray and Hardy. It is simple and easy. 802-828-2228

Bob Patterson

Lincoln

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