By Guy Page
A former Colorado state wildlife worker who represents Randolph in the Vermont House has introduced two bills to limit trapping and bear hunting.
Representative Lawrence Satcowitz, a Democrat, on Feb. 22 introduced House Bill 323 which prohibits hunting black bears and coyotes using dogs.
This bill follows another bill authored by Rep. Satcowitz, which would outlaw trapping unless it is done by nuisance trappers, and only after reports of animal damage. House Bill 191, introduced Feb. 7, prevents the proactive management of furbearing mammals, and instead allows trapping only after someone has suffered an economic loss or crop and livestock damage.
Last session, Vermont legislators agreed to allow the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and Board to create new rules for coyote hunting that addressed landowner concerns. H.323 would scrap that effort before discovering whether the new rules would be effective, a statement by the Sportsmen’s Alliance claimed.
“Clearly Representative Satcowitz would leave Vermonters defenseless against problem bears, coyotes, along with problem furbearers such as beavers which cause flooding if not controlled, raccoons which carry rabies and more,” explained Todd Adkins, vice president of government affairs with the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Instead of having the benefit of willing license buyers to control predator and furbearing animal numbers before they attack people or cause property damage, the representative would prefer to clean up the mess after the fact, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.”
Representative Satcowitz’s attack on sportsmen puts people at risk, especially children, the elderly, and the disabled as predators often target the vulnerable, the Alliance said. Coupled with the trapping ban proposal and the expected surge in flooding and rabies cases that come as a result of these prohibitions, H.323 and H.191 are terrible ideas for Vermont citizens.
“Representative Satcowitz is putting people in harm’s way,” warned Adkins. “Other Northeastern states are trending the other direction, loosening up bear hunting regulations in response to attacks on people. Vermont legislators shouldn’t take this risk. House Bill 323 and House Bill 191 need to be defeated.”
Last fall, Vermont saw two bear attacks on humans between August and November.
After briefly attending graduate school at the University of Vermont, Satkowitz finished an MS degree in zoology at Colorado State University where he mostly studied topics related to ecology and evolution, his legislative biography said. He then worked at the Colorado Division of Wildlife before moving to Vermont in 1999 with his wife. They moved to Randolph in 2002, where they raised their two children. Since moving to Vermont, he has been mostly employed as a high school math teacher.