Tomorrow’s Town Meeting Day provides sportsmen a chance to speak directly with their legislators about a bill that threatens the future of hunting in Vermont. Legislators will attend town meetings across Vermont to hear concerns from constituents. Contact your local town to check the time and location where you live.
For hunters, nothing could be more important than opposing Senate Bill 321, which includes severe restrictions that makes bear hunting with dogs impossible, and also creates a separate governing panel to recommend wildlife policy changes that prioritize the needs of people who do not hunt, fish or trap.
Sportsmen who attend the town meetings need to urge their legislators to remove sections 15-18 (Wildlife Governance and Bear Hunting) in Senate Bill 321. Let them know this language is bad for wildlife, unfairly attacks Vermont hunters, and will harm wildlife conservation and all people who value wildlife resources. Here is some background on Senate Bill 321:
Senate Bill 321 is an attack on hunting with dogs! The changes to Senate Bill 321, which were written by animal-rights groups, would seize a bear hunter’s license for five years for things that are near impossible to control such as:
- Losing sight of even one dog;
- allowing a hunting dog to be beyond 528 feet away; or
- if a dog crossed on to a property where the hunter does not have prior written permission.
A second offense would result in a lifetime ban on bear hunting in Vermont. While this bill is specific to bear hunting, these restrictions could easily be applied to any other type of hunting with dogs in the future.
SB 321 would also create the Vermont Working Group on Wildlife Governance to recommend changes in wildlife policy to the state legislature. The working group would review current wildlife policy and expenditures to ensure they meet the needs of Vermont citizens who value wildlife, but do not hunt, fish or trap.
It is clear that hunters are the target this legislative session in Vermont. The changes in SB 321 would eliminate bear hunting with dogs and create a new government panel that would dilute the voice of sportsmen on fish and wildlife issues. The town meetings tomorrow are the last chance for sportsmen in Vermont to speak to their elected officials before next week’s session where the legislature will make decisions on the most important bills being considered.
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.