SPORTSPEOPLE: THIS IS YOUR WAKE-UP CALL
As you should already know, the Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee has 3 anti-F&W bills in front of them, S.129 (Change the F&W Board), S.201 (Anti-Trapping) and S.281 (Ban on hunting coyote with dogs). ALL of the Committee members sponsored S.281, with both S.201 and S.281 sponsored by single committee members. These bills are their “pet” bills, and they quite literally waited until the final days before crossover to move them.
Per a discussion held by the committee on 2/28: There is the intention to MOVE AND PASS all three, which would not allow enough time for testimony, let alone thoughtful deliberation. They are on a mission.
If you hunt coyote with hounds: This committee has its sights set on you and your activity. The committee and its members have been drowned in the continued and un-relenting bleating of anti-hunting groups, with one of those groups wanting nothing less than an end to the use of hounds on ALL game.
How F&W rules and regulations get created, and who creates them is under attack. Trapping is under attack. Coyote hunting with dogs is now under attack, and if bills such as these get passed, the Antis will have a template to go after every other type of hunting with dogs. That would include rabbit hunting and bird hunting, both time-honored sporting activities.
While there is the appearance that the committee *may* move away from an outright ban on hunting coyote with dogs in S.281: A temporary ban is being contemplated while the F&W Department works on establishing rules/regs that would allow this to continue, hopefully following rules/regs that are similar to bear hounding.
Looking at what is currently proposed for S.281, if a violation occurs it is a loss of license for 5 years and a fine of between $400-$1,000. Subsequent violations are $2,000-$4,000. Those are Big Game fines. Worse than that:
- Radio/GPS/telemetry collars are banned;
- The use of bait is banned;
- It requires that the dogs be under “control” (I.E., “leashed”); and,
- If your dog manages to get on posted property: You are fined for trespass.
This is your wakeup call. Maybe you don’t hunt coyote with dog; but there are many that do, and coyote hounding *IS* an effective method of managing coyote.
Maybe you don’t trap, but there are many that do, and trapping *IS* an effective method of managing certain game species.
Maybe you think things will be fine by having the Antis stack the members of the F&W Board, but you must realize that this is nothing more than a backdoor way of banning all sorts of activities that we participate in, and have for years.
PLEASE do the following 2 things:
EMAIL the Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee
Use the following email list in the “To:” portion of your email program:
[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]
This above emails are for: Chair Chris Bray; committee members Richard Westman, Mark MacDonald, Richard McCormack and Brian Campion; as well as Senate Pro Tem Becca Balint.
Use a suitable “Subject:” such as:
“NO” to S.129, S.201 and S.281
For the “Body” - Use your own words, but BE POLITE. Or, you can also cut & paste this message:
Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee
There is simply no time for you to properly address either S.129 or S.201 this year. Both of these bills need a great deal of vetting and testimony, coupled with the type of thoughtful deliberation that the Senate is known for and which Vermonters expect. There is no urgent need for either bill; the “public hearing” you conducted was exceptionally one-sided and poorly executed (such that it did not allow you to hear equally from people interested in these bills; with innumerable people denied the ability to sign-up process due to erroneous error messages that the registration was full.
Please set S.129 and S.201 aside for consideration next session.
Regarding S.281: Coyote hounding is very similar to bear hounding, and I note that a there has been at least one Legislative Resolution passed that specifically recognized that “hunting with sporting dogs” was previously supported, apparently unanimously, by the House AND Senate with H.C.R 233. I quote from that Resolution:
“BE It Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives: That the General Assembly celebrates the historic, cultural and economic roles of hunting and hunting dogs in Vermont.”
Why is your committee so drastically deviating from that Resolution?
- Use the following email list in the “To:” portion of your email program:
Email your Senators
The Federation now has the capability to allow you to easily send emails to your Senators. To use this feature, please go to THIS WEBPAGE. The page may take a minute to load, but once it does you will see 4 boxes, each representing a different bill: 129; S.201; S.281 and S.30/S.4. Click on the “EDIT AND SEND EMAIL” button on each one you support. Then:
- Your name prefix (required)
- Your full name (required)
Your email address (required)
Entering the above SHOULD change the name(s) of the Senators to be your Senators, and if so, just click the “SEND” button.
If it does not properly resolve your Senators, click the “Not your Rep?” link in the lower left corner of the window. You can then enter your address, which SHOULD resolve to your Senator(s).
If it still cannot resolve your Senators, pick a residential address close to you from your phone book, then click “SEND”.
These two things will take maybe 10 minutes of your time, and may well make all the difference in ANY of these bills moving. The fact remains that S.281 looks like it will move; and the others may move.
You can either help stop these bills, or not do anything and let others step up and defend our rights. Once you have acted, forward the link to this page to your friends, family and acquaintances. This is our fight to lose.
President & Executive Director – VT Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs, Inc.
www vtfsc com