Editor’s note: The Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy will hold a remote (virtual) public hearing on three hunting-related bills Thursday, February 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m: S.129, transferring rule-making authority from the Fish & Wildlife Board to the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife; S.201, prohibiting the use of leghold traps; and S.281, prohibiting hunting coyotes with dogs.
by Pat Finnie
I was, for 15 years, a Security Officer for the State of Vermont. As part of my duties I pulled security duty at the State House for large hearings, which consisted of checking people coming into the building for contraband.
One hearing which stands out, though not exceptional, was the “same sex marriage” hearing where my post was the Aiken Ave. West wing doors. That night I personally saw four Premier Tour Line buses pull up on Aiken Ave, and watched as the occupants (mostly college students) came in, were checked for contraband (unauthorized signs, and weapons) and then allowed in.
The vast majority of these people were not residents of the State of Vermont, but quite a few expressed the intent to sign in to speak at this hearing. At these hearings, as I am sure you realize, there is a limited amount of time to speak, and for every non-citizen of the State of Vermont to speak, a voting citizen is denied that right. I hope that issue has been addressed, and does not happen here, in this “Zoom” platform meeting.
Now, regarding the three bills (S129, S201, & S281) All of these bills are being proposed by an anti-hunting constituency that wants to end sport hunting, and trapping in the State of Vermont.
If that takes time, and is painfully incremental, that is what they will do. They realize that they are not going to get their wish list filled in one Legislative session.
Let’s say that each of these bills on the anti-hunters’ wish list is granted, do you suppose that they will not be back next year with a new improved wish list? Don’t let the instigators of these bills, some of whom claim to be “hunters” fool you. More often than not, they don’t know a pump shotgun from an AR, or a Brittany from a Bluetick.
They would like you to believe that this renewable natural resource is being mismanaged, but if this is the case, why do we have more whitetail deer, turkeys, black bear and moose (which were not even present in Vermont when I was a kid) than ever? There are even more of the invasive, non-native coyotes than ever before. If this is an example of mismanagement, I wish we had more mismanagers like these when it comes to my tax dollars! They’d be making more money than they spend, and we’d all be getting rebates every year!
In closing I would say keep these people off of the Fish and Wildlife Board, and anything else that they bring to you, please view it with, not just a grain of salt, but a shaker full, and rule in favor of those that have been managing our resources so well that it is a threat to those that oppose them. Don’t let anybody tell you this is not about Vermont tradition vs. Flatland ideals, it is, and it really is that simple.
The author is a Calais resident and frequent commentator on Vermont Daily Chronicle news articles.