Three hunters join Fish & Wildlife Board / watch out for turtles!

Snapping turtle, photographed in Rupert by Luke Groff

Governor Phil Scott has appointed Nicholas Burnham of Hartland, Neal Hogan of Bennington, and Robert Patterson of Lincoln to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board.

Burnham, Hogan and Patterson are passionate about Vermont’s outdoors, participating in activities ranging from backcountry skiing to mentoring new hunters. All three cite a love of hunting that began during childhood as a driver of their commitment to conservation.

“I look forward to growing, preserving and protecting all the outdoor benefits the State of Vermont offers,” said Burnham.

Fish and Wildlife Board members serve six-year terms, with one board member appointed from each of Vermont’s 14 counties. The board is a citizen panel that sets the rules regulating hunting, fishing, and trapping, informed by expert input from Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department staff.

“Each of our new board members brings a lifetime of experience to this work,” said Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife Christopher Herrick. “They appreciate Vermont’s fish, wildlife and habitats through their perspectives as hunters and anglers—and also as hikers, educators and stewards.”

In addition to the three new board members, the Governor has also appointed current board member Brad Ferland of Hardwick as the new board chair.

Turtles on the Roadway Need Your Help – Drivers should be alert, especially near ponds and wetlands, of turtles in the next few weeks.

Vermont’s turtles will be on the move this spring, and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is asking for the public’s help in keeping them safe. Female turtles will be looking for places to deposit their eggs, sometimes choosing to lay them along the shoulders of roads, which can bring them into the path of motor vehicles.

“Turtles often move across roads as they search for a nest site,” said Luke Groff, biologist for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. “They are usually slow-moving animals, so they have a tough time making it safely across the road. Turtles grow slowly and live a long time, so losing a mature breeding female may be a huge loss to a turtle population.”

Turtle nesting activity peaks between late May and early June, and drivers are urged to keep an eye out for turtles on the road – especially when driving near ponds and wetlands.

“When you spot a turtle in the road, you may be able to help it across. First be sure you’re in a safe spot to stop and get out of your car, as human safety comes first,” said Groff. “If you’re going to move a turtle off the road, always move it in the direction it was traveling. They know where they’re going.”

Most turtles can be picked up and carried across the road. However, if the turtle has no colorful lines, spots, or other markings, it is probably a snapping turtle, so people should stay alert to avoid being bitten. Snapping turtles’ necks are long. Instead of picking up the snapper, try pushing the turtle across the road with a shovel or pulling it across the road on a car floor mat.

Categories: Environment

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