Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: S.258 is a much-needed change to VF&W board

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board consists of volunteers appointed by the governor. Although the fish and wildlife of Vermont are held in trust by the state for the benefit of all citizens, the board currently consists only of hunters, trappers, and/or anglers.

S. 258, introduced by Senator Bray, is a much-needed corrective that would balance the composition of the board to include the viewpoints of all people concerned with our wildlife. Applications will be accepted and the authority to appoint board members will be split between the Commissioner of the Fish and Wildlife Department, the Speaker of the House, and the Committee on Committees. Among the criteria for selection is the need to include members of the public beyond just hunters and trappers.

S.258 also makes the board advisory, with final decisions in the hands of the Fish and Wildlife Department, where the professional staff has the expertise and knowledge needed for effective wildlife management.

The bill does prohibit hunting coyotes with dogs. Using hounds to chase coyotes to shoot is not sporting, nor does it make sense. Coyote meat is not used and the fur is of little value. Nor is hunting coyotes with dogs needed or useful for maintaining coyote populations as is the case with deer. Coyotes monitor their own population. Studies show that when coyotes are aggressively hunted, the number of young they produce will increase.

I come from four generations of Vermonters who all were hunters and fisherman. Our family enjoyed venison, duck and fish brought home by my father, Dr. BJ Andrews from Middlebury. He hunted deer and preferred hunting with a bow to hunting with a gun because he believed it was more sporting.

I strongly support modernizing wildlife governance with S.258.

Linda Andrews

Bristol

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