Outdoor News

June 2016
Edited by V. Paul Reynolds

June is bustin’ out all over, and like they say, June is “troutin’and bassin’ time.” With more than 5,000 lakes and ponds, thousands of miles of rivers and streams and 400 remote trout ponds scattered throughout the Pine Tree State’s sprawling wilderness, there is room enough for all of us to find solitude and sustenance for the soul - and maybe even some fish. So get the garden in early, and get after those wonderful brookies and feisty bass.

Be sure to read this issue of the Journal thoroughly. It’s chocker block full of fishing’ tips and places to go. Don’t forget to buy a fishing license -you can do that online now - register your boat, grease the hubs on your boat trailer, bring a kid along and wear a life jacket.

CAPTION FOR PHOTO ABOVE: 2015 NH Commission Award of Excellence (presented on April 20, 2016) to Denny Corriveau, also known as the “Wild Cheff”.

Club News

If your club or outdoor organization has news or photos that warrant publication in the Northwoods Sporting Journal, send them to: Club News, NWSJ, P.O. Box 195, W. Enfield, ME 04493, or e-mail news to: info@sportingjournal.com

Vermont - Walleye Fishing Begins

The best walleye fishing in New England will begin soon in several Vermont rivers and lakes, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. The department is reminding anglers that walleye fishing season starts in much of the state on the first Saturday in May and that regulations vary, depending on the water you are fishing.

There is no open season on sauger, a close cousin to the walleye. Once more abundant in southern Lake Champlain, sauger may still appear there rarely. If caught while fishing for other fish, sauger must be immediately released.

In all waters of Vermont except Lake Carmi, Chittenden Reservoir and the Connecticut River, walleye have an 18” minimum length requirement and three-fish daily limit. The open season is from Saturday, May 7 to March 15, 2017.

Lake Carmi has a slot limit for walleye because of the lake’s high productivity and high rate of walleye harvest. The minimum length is 15 inches, all walleye between 17 and 19 inches must be released. The daily limit is five walleye, but only one may be over 19 inches long. The season is open May 7 through March 15.

Chittenden Reservoir has special walleye regulations in order to produce large walleye that can help control its over-abundant yellow perch population and provide anglers with an opportunity to harvest a trophy walleye. The minimum length is 22 inches, the daily limit is two, and the season is open June 1 through March 15.

Connecticut River walleye fishing rules are set by New Hampshire. No walleye between 16 to 18 inches may be kept and the daily limit is four fish, of which only one may be longer than 18 inches.

Excellent walleye fishing opportunities occur each spring in the lakes mentioned above as well as in Lake Champlain and its tributaries: the Missisquoi River, Lamoille River, Winooski River, and Otter Creek. The Northeast Kingdom also offers walleye fishing opportunities in Salem Lake, Island Pond, Clyde Pond, and the Clyde River. Vermont’s state record walleye weighed 14.55 lbs. and was caught in Lake Champlain by Richard Levesque of Swanton in 2010.

New Hampshire - NH Fish and Game Commission 2015 Awards of Excellence

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission recently honored several individuals with 2015 Commission Awards of Excellence for outstanding efforts in the conservation field in support of the NH Fish and Game Department’s mission.

"Each of these individuals has contributed in important ways to the work of New Hampshire’s wildlife agency," said Commission Chairman Ted Tichy.

The 2015 Commission Award of Excellence (presented on April 20, 2016): Denny Corriveau, also known as the “Wild Cheff” was honored with the Commission’s Communications Award of Excellence. A master game chef who presents seminars on healthy eating and cooking wild game and fish, Corriveau has been featured on New Hampshire Fish and Game’s “Wild Side” TV show and has appeared on the Food Network, the Sportsman Channel, and other television networks. His writing and recipes have been featured in New Hampshire Wildlife Journal, Massachusetts Wildlife, USA Today Hunt & Fish Magazine and more. He is also a board member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association.

“Denny’s message of eating healthy by eating wild is getting a new segment of the public interested in hunting and fishing. He is a true ambassador of the outdoors,” said Tichy Six students from the Monadnock Regional Middle High School – Kyle Allison, Madison Daniels, Dawson McLean, Emily Read, Joe Repucci, and Alana Sprague -- were honored with the Commission’s Youth Conservationist Award of Excellence.

The Monadnock students spent many hours over several months in 2015 studying the Ashuelot River watershed as part of an Extended Learning Opportunity project. As a part of exploring what makes a healthy watershed for fish and wildlife, they collected physical, chemical and biological samples, plus macro-invertebrate data, to assess water quality at various sites. They gained real-world experience in macroinvertebrate and water quality monitoring protocols, ArcGIS technology, data analysis and data sharing. Their results were posted online and shared with state and local decision makers.

“These kids have worked hard and set a great example,” said Tichy. “They have learned what resource agencies do to protect the environment, and what they can do to help that effort. They also learned how to tie flies and fish for their favorite species in the river!”

Tichy also recognized the contributions of volunteer project leader Mike Morrison. The Commission’s highest honor, the Ellis R. Hatch Junior Award of Excellence, was presented to Jim and Kris Riccardi of Newport, NH, a Let’s Go Fishing program teaching team.

“Jim and Kris are the ‘dynamic duo’ of the Let’s Go Fishing Program,” said Tichy.

Over the past 25 years, Jim Riccardi has introduced countless anglers to the sport of fly fishing – many of whom had never fished before. He helped pioneer Fish and Game’s current fly-fishing and fly-tying curriculums. Kris has been his partner in this work for almost that long. The Riccardis volunteer every year for three different weekend-long workshops, a five-week fly tying class, and more.

“Volunteers like the Riccardis are the backbone of Fish and Game’s fishing outreach,” said Tichy. “They pass along not only their passion for fishing, but an understanding of the natural world beyond the rod and reel.” Recently Proposed Freshwater Fisheries Rules Adopted, Effective Immediately

Recently proposed rules which impact some of New Hampshire’s freshwater fisheries rules have been approved and adopted, effective April 22, 2016. One of the most noteworthy changes to the freshwater fishing regulations involves all New Hampshire portions of the Magalloway River. The new rules also affect the number of traps allowed for use by licensed bait dealers.

The Magalloway River will now be restricted to artificial lures and flies only, with a single-point hook and catch-and-release for all brook trout, regardless of size. Recent collaborative telemetry studies with NH Fish and Game, Maine Department Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and Trout Unlimited, among others, have identified some of the New Hampshire portions of the Magalloway River as important areas for resident and migrating wild brook trout.

“Thanks to research coordinated by Fish and Game’s Coldwater Project Leader Dianne Timmins, stretches of the Magalloway River between Azischohos and Umbagog lakes have been identified as critical areas for wild brook trout,” said Jason Smith, Chief of the Inland Fisheries Division for the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. “These recent rule changes should provide this unique fishery with adequate protection to ensure that these fish will continue to be conserved and enjoyed for generations to come.”

A second change was to remove the 6-trap limit for licensed bait dealers. The 6-trap restriction was only intended to be applied to individuals for personal use. “Licensed bait dealers in New Hampshire have traditionally enjoyed the ability to use more than 6-traps to harvest bait fish,” Smith says. “Bait dealers provide a valuable service to anglers in New Hampshire during the winter ice fishing season, in particular.”

A third rule change includes moving the start of the harvest season for trout on the section of the Connecticut River from Murphy Dam in Pittsburg to the Main Street bridge in West Stewartstown, NH, to April 1. Previously it started on the fourth Saturday in April. “Trout stocking in this stretch generally occurs in early April, so the Department saw no reason to not allow anglers to harvest recently stocked trout during this time,” said Smith.

Maine - Missing Man Found

A lost Parkman man was located overnight by rescuers. Gene Wilbur, age 78, went for an ATV ride near his home on Route 150 in Parkman in the early sapring. After an ATV ride about a mile from his home, Gene set out to walk some of his property located near Packard Brook, a densely wooded area containing bogs and beaver flowages.

When Gene did not return home later in the afternoon as expected, Gene’s wife, family, and friends searched for Gene without success and called for help at 7:45 last evening. Several Maine game wardens, a canine team from Dover Police Department, and an Air National Guard helicopter with forward looking infrared (FLIR) assisted in the search. Of great concern to rescuers, Gene did have health issues and was not prepared to spend a night in the woods.

Rescuers located Gene’s abandoned ATV on a logging road on his property. At 10:30 PM, game wardens and the K9 team made voice contact with Gene in a very densely wooded portion of the bog. Upon reaching Gene, he was found to be responsive and in fair condition. Due to the difficult terrain, it took wardens nearly two hours to walk Gene just one quarter of a mile back out to route 150. Game Wardens Josh Polland (right) and Paul Mason are shown in the attached photo as they walked Gene out of the woods early this morning at 1:00 AM. Gene was brought to Dover Hospital for evaluation.

Maine Supreme Court Sides with Sportsmen

After nearly a year and a half of fighting in court, and more than $100,000 spent, sportsmen in Maine were victorious today against a lawsuit brought by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Today's victory was the latest in a long line of victories by the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council and the Sportsmen's Alliance in this case.

In early 2015, Maine Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler sided with sportsmen and dismissed a lawsuit aimed at silencing Maine's wildlife professionals on grounds that it was moot. Today's Supreme Judicial Court ruling upheld that decision, effectively ending the issue.

"Today's ruling just reaffirms our position and is a clear and decisive victory for sportsmen in Maine," said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation. "The people of Maine deserve to hear from the experts when it comes to these issues, and today's ruling rightfully upheld that position."

The case started in the final weeks of the 2014 Maine bear campaign over Question 1, which would have banned the most effective methods of controlling black bear numbers. HSUS, through their front group Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, sued the state of Maine alleging an improper level of engagement in the bear hunting campaign. The "state," in this case, was the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, whose vocal and public opposition to Question 1 didn't mesh with HSUS' wish to stop bear hunting in the state.

The original lawsuit sought to remove the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council's television advertisements from the airwaves because the ads in question featured department personnel talking about the dangers of Question 1.

"There is no doubt in my mind that they knew where the polling stood, and were simply grasping at every last straw in their attempt to foist their radical Washington D.C. values on the good people of Maine," said Heusinkveld. "They see the wildlife management professionals at the department as a distinct threat to their agenda, instead of the responsible fact-driven professionals that they are. I'm glad that the state's Supreme Judicial Court has sided once again with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and sportsmen and women in Maine."

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on April 14, 2016 affirmed a lower court decision that dismissed a lawsuit filed against the conduct of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) during a 2014 ballot issue concerning black bear hunting methods. A Cumberland County court had ruled in March of 2015 that the case was moot because the election was concluded.

Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, an organization created and financed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to ban black bear hunting using bait, dogs and traps, appealed the lower court decision, sought to re-argue the case alleging that IF&W had exceeded its authority by advocating against the ballot issue. The lower court was not supportive of this claim, and previously rejected a motion in 2014 to stop the use of IF&W personnel in advertising financed by the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council (MWCC), which opposed the ballot question.

Instead, the lower court, dismissed the case as moot, in response to a request by the state. Today’s decision completes litigation on the subject. “I’m very pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision,” exclaimed Don Kleiner, chairman of MWCC which was a defendant intervenor in the case. “We have said all along that IF&W did nothing more than their job in 2014, and today, the court has once again refused to find the department at fault.” MWCC requested the court allow its participation as a defendant intervenor to ensure the views of the sportsmen’s community were heard by the court. MWCC attorneys coordinated with the state’s attorneys throughout the case.

“I want to thank the many contributors to MWCC that financed the defense against this frivolous lawsuit,” Kleiner added. “With more than $100,000 invested in defending sportsmen and women in court, we could not have done it without the Maine Professional Guides Association, Maine Sporting Dog Association, Maine Trappers Association, the Sportsmen’s Alliance, the Grand Lake Stream Guides Association, and the Maine Forest Products Council.”

MWCC continues to work with Maine sportsmen and women, outfitters, sporting goods businesses, and organizations to prepare for the defense of hunting, fishing and trapping in Maine as HSUS continues to threaten further attacks.

Donations to MWCC can be sent to PO BOX 5540 Augusta, Maine 04330.

Don Kleiner may be contacted at dkleiner@maineguides.org

Vermont - Winooski Fish Lift Open

The fish lift at the Winooski One hydroelectric facility on the Winooski River is now operating for the spring season, and that means expanded fishing opportunities for anglers.

“The Winooski One fish lift typically opens in mid-March and operates through mid-May, with the purpose of allowing steelhead rainbow trout to make their natural spring migration, along with helping to support quality fishing opportunities for anglers,” said Brian Chipman, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

Steelhead that are collected by the lift are released into the 1.3-mile section of river above the Winooski Dam and below the next dam, also known as Gorge 18.

“Lifting steelhead above the Winooski Dam enables anglers to fish for them in a section of river that is legally open to angling,” said Nick Staats, fisheries biologist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

While the section of river between the Winooski Dam and Gorge 18 is open to fishing, between March 16 and May 31 fishing is not allowed on the section of river below the Winooski Dam downstream to the first railroad bridge.

This section is closed to fishing in order to protect spawning walleye and endangered lake sturgeon.

“The Winooski River provides important habitat for a range of Lake Champlain fish species throughout the year, and we try to protect fish at sensitive times,” Staats said.

In addition to steelhead, anglers also have the chance to catch any landlocked Atlantic salmon that may still be in the upper sections of the river as a result of last fall’s spawning run.

The Winooski River is stocked annually with 20,000, 7 to 8-inch steelhead, in addition to 30,000 yearling salmon.

The Winooski One fish lift is operated annually through a joint effort between Vermont Fish & Wildlife, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Burlington Electric Department and Green Mountain Power.

Maine - Fishing Report For April

Region A – Sebago Lakes Region

“The fishing in the southern part of the state is really exceptional for this time of year,” says IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.

Brautigam was recently out on Sebago talking with anglers who were fishing. Most of the boats had 2-4 landlocks, and were reporting excellent fishing. Three-year-old salmon on Sebago are running in the 16-18 inch size. Smelt runs on Sebago and throughout the region are earlier than usual.

“On Sebago, as soon as we got some nice weather, people were out there,” said Brautigam. “The water is 35 degrees, and people are picking up some pretty nice salmon, including some that are reaching 23 inches.”

Anglers trolling Sebago have also been getting some nice togue in the slot range from 23-33 inches. “Anglers are saying how much fun it has been to bring in a 5 to 8 pound togue trolling with fly gear,” said Brautigam.

There is also some excellent fishing on many other ponds, particularly waters that were stocked in anticipation of youth fishing events that later got cancelled due to poor ice conditions. “There wasn’t a lot of ice fishing activity this winter,” said Brautigam who suggested Crystal Lake and Lower Range Pond as destinations for some quality brook trout.

Flows for river fishing have been on the high side, and they still are a little on the muddy side. “Still a bit early for river fishing,” said Brautigam.

On Little Sebago, anglers are talking about the big rainbows they are catching.

“We’ve been stocking rainbows there since the late 2000’s, and the last few years we are getting more and more reports of good rainbow catches in the springtime,” said Brautigam. “Anglers are catching rainbows in the high teens with streamers.”

If you are looking for a little variety, anglers on Kennebunk pond in Lyman are catching brookies, rainbows and brown trout.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

If you want wet a line, you may want to head towards some of the coastal streams that are part of Region B.

“The coastal rivers like the St. George, Medomak and Pemaquid were heavily stocked this spring and have fish that range up to 16 inches. Inland, you should try the Nezinscot,” said IFW fisheries biologist Jason Seiders. “The fishing should be fantastic.

Another spot that is getting some good early season reviews is Lake St. George.

“The fish we saw in our trap net surveys were in the best condition we’ve seen in a decade,” said Seiders. “That, coupled with the lack of ice fishing pressure, has the lake fishing really well. Anglers are catching good numbers of salmon, with a lot of the fish in the three to four pound range.”

Smelts are the key to landlock health in Lake St. George, and the smelts in Lake St. George are shoreline spawners.

“Trolling near the shore is your best bet,” said Seiders, who added that the salmon are looking like footballs.

If you are looking to bass fish this spring, one spot you may want to try is the Great Meadows Stream, which flows from North Pond into Great Pond. This used to be closed to watercraft due to a milfoil infestation but it is now open to paddle craft. You can put in at a hand carry launch at the Route 225 bridge. The current there is slow, so you can also paddle back to where you put in.

“There is tremendous bass fishing there, particularly as you get close to the mouth of the stream,” said Seiders. “It’s also a beautiful area to paddle with lots of shorebirds and waterfowl, and it’s a great area for some really large fish.”

Region C -- Downeast

With the short ice fishing season this past winter, springtime Downeast should bring a lot of opportunities.

“Early season should be terrific,” said IFW fisheries biologist Greg Burr. “With the light fishing pressure we had this year, there should be some very good early season fishing.”

Burr said that there have been a few anglers out, but they are “not catching a whole lot. That should start to turn as soon as we get a little warmer.”

Most of the lakes in the region are now ice-free and open. West Grand Lake went out last Saturday, one of the earliest ice outs ever. Grand Lake Stream was also fishing well early, but the recent rains have bumped up the flows to 1200 cfs which is not conducive to river fishing.

As far as where to go salmon fishing this spring, Burr thinks that West Grand, Beech Hill, Branch, Donnell, Green, Tunk and Long Pond should all have some very good salmon fishing this spring.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes

Spring is here in the southern part of the region, but as you go further north, it is still winter, with ice covering most of the lakes and ponds.

Ice is out on Porter, Crowell, and Norcross, and there have been a few people fishing,” said IFW fisheries biologist Bobby Van Riper. “There also were some anglers out on Temple Stream which we will be stocking next week.”

Recent winds and rain should open up some other ponds soon, if not already.

“Ice on many of our ponds hasn’t been safe since the middle of March, and now it’s beginning to break up,” said Van Riper, “Clearwater will be open soon if it is not already.”

Stocking in the area hasn’t really begun yet, but there are still some ponds that have quite a few holdover fish from the lighter than normal fishing pressure this past winter. However, be aware that these fish are fairly sluggish due to water temps that are still in the 30s and low 40s.

Region E – Moosehead Region

Thoughts of an early spring have disappeared in the Moosehead region.

“There was a lot of anticipation in March about getting some extra open water fishing due to the warm winter, but those thoughts have been put on ice in the Moosehead Lake area,” said IFW fisheries biologist Tim Obrey. “Right now, many of the lakes and ponds south of Dexter are ice free, but we still have winter-like conditions to the north and west.”

The general rule of thumb in this region is that Sebec Lake will be ice free about 7-10 days after the Piscataquis River opens up, and then another 7-10 days for Moosehead to be ice free.

“Based on this theory the ice would be out of Maine’s largest lake around the 11th of April,” said Obrey, “Unfortunately the theory doesn’t account for having the river re-freeze like some of it did earlier this week.”

Obrey said it won’t be much longer, especially with the heavy rain we just had, as it will start to eat away at the remaining ice on our lakes. He also said that Brookfield plans very high flows on the East Outlet and Moose River in the near future which will make them unfishable for a while, but will also open large areas near the mouths of the rivers.

“The recent rains will also fill lakes and ponds which will pull the ice away from shore and create some good areas for anglers to drop a line,” said Obrey, “This is a great time to hit some of the smaller ponds and lakes.”

“The water is still very cold and the trout, salmon, and togue will be cruising the shoreline. Any place where a brook or stream enters a lake should have some open water after this weekend. The brooks and streams themselves will be very high, but they are usually very cold this time of year and not as productive as lakes and ponds. We’ll have to wait until water temperatures rise and flows settle before the stream fishing improves.”

Region F – Penobscot Region

If you look at lakes and ponds in the Penobscot region, it still looks like winter with most lakes and ponds still frozen. However, there a few places you can fish.

“Cold Stream Pond went out last Thursday, and this week we saw a few guys fishing,” said IFW fisheries biologist Nels Kramer.

On East Musquash, the lake is half open, but there is still ice at the boat ramp so anglers haven’t had a chance to get out there. The recent rains and winds should take care of that if they haven’t already.

About the only anglers who seem to be out fishing right now are some of the younger kids taking advantage of the kid’s only waters.

“The kids have been catching some nice trout in the outlet of Cold Stream Pond,” said Kramer, “I’ve also got some reports of kids catching some good fish in the Burlington Fire Pond.”

Region G – Aroostook Region

If you are planning to go fishing in the northern part of Aroostook county, you are going to have to wait a bit longer.

“We had two mornings earlier this week where the temperature was below zero,” said IFW fisheries biologist Frank Frost, “and we still have full ice cover on our lakes and ponds.”

Rivers and streams have opened up, but most are still too high to fish. It also may take a while for rivers to subside to a fishable level as there is still two feet of ice on lakes and ponds, and snowpack to the north and west.

About the only area that you can fish is in the Fish River below the falls. There are also some very minor ice openings in areas where tributaries flow into lakes.

With all this cold weather, when will the ice leave?

“Probably the first week of May, depending on the weather. For the last twenty years or so, that’s generally been the week of ice out,” said Frost.

Maine Audubon Seeks Anglers for Brook Trout Survey Project

Volunteers needed to fish remote ponds and coastal streams in search of wild brook trout

Maine Audubon, Trout Unlimited and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) are seeking volunteer anglers to survey remote Maine ponds and coastal streams for brook trout this fishing season. Information gathered by volunteers will be used to identify populations of previously undocumented wild brook trout across the state.

Brook trout require clean, cold water, extensive inter-connected stream networks and a lack of competing species to survive and thrive. Wild brook trout have significantly declined throughout their native range due to development, land use practices, the introduction of competing fish species and angler exploitation.

Although Maine still has the most extensive distribution and abundance of brook trout remaining in the United States, the quality and abundance of some of Maine’s brook trout populations have declined in recent years. In order to protect the last stronghold in the United States of these iconic fish, understanding the extent of the species’ current range is crucial.

“Identifying the remote ponds and coastal streams with wild brook trout will greatly assist MDIFW in planning our conservation and management strategies over the next several decades,” noted Merry Gallagher, MDIFW Fisheries Research Biologist.

Volunteer anglers are needed to survey hundreds of ponds in northern Maine and coastal streams ranging from Kittery to Lubec. Project partners will provide maps, data sheets and instructions on how to survey ponds and streams. Surveys can be completed any time before September 30, 2016. The prime time for coastal stream surveys is mid-April through June, while pond fishing can be productive in both the spring and fall.

“Volunteers should be enthusiastic about fishing for brook trout, be comfortable in remote settings and have a sense of adventure,” said Jeff Reardon of Trout Unlimited.

This year marks the sixth year of the Remote Pond Survey. To date, volunteers have surveyed 380 remote Maine ponds for which no data were previously available, and 166 of those ponds were recommended to MDIFW for further surveys after volunteers caught or observed brook trout in them. Fisheries biologists subsequently confirmed wild brook trout in 57 new ponds. As a result of this volunteer-driven survey effort, Maine has added 21 new ponds to the list of State Heritage Fish Waters, which affords certain protections to help maintain healthy, viable populations of wild brook trout. More are likely to be listed in the future.

The Coastal Stream Survey was initiated in 2014 to collect baseline data about which coastal streams sustain wild brook trout populations. Wild brook trout that live in coastal streams may migrate between fresh and saltwater, a life history strategy called diadromy. In theory, any coastal stream with access to the ocean where wild brook trout are present has the potential to harbor a population of these sea-run brook trout, or “salters”. To date, volunteers have surveyed 76 coastal streams and confirmed the presence of wild brook trout in over half of those streams.

“The success of this project is entirely dependent on volunteer participation,” noted Emily Bastian, Trout Project Coordinator at Maine Audubon. “This is an exciting opportunity for people who care about conservation and love to fish to make a meaningful contribution to the conservation of wild brook trout, a significant and unique ecological, economic and cultural resource for Maine.”

To sign up to volunteer, please contact Emily Bastian at (207) 781-2330 x207 or ebastian@maineaudubon.org. For more information about the Brook Trout Survey Project, please visit maineaudubon.org/brooktrout.

Vermont Moose Hunting Applications Are Available

Vermont moose hunting permit applications are now available on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).

Printed applications will be available from Vermont license agents in early May.

A total of 135 regular moose season permits and 25 archery moose season permits will be issued for Vermont’s 2016 October moose hunt. The regular season will be October 15-20, and the archery season is October 1-7.

The number of permits are reduced from last year in ten Wildlife Management Units, and permits will be for bulls-only in all WMUs except B, C and E1.

The 160 permits being issued represent a 40 percent decrease from the number of permits issued last year. Hunters are expected to harvest close to 70 moose.

“We recommended a reduction in permit numbers and a continuation of bulls-only permits in most of the units this year based on biological data, and our population estimates indicating moose densities remain below management goals in many areas,” said wildlife biologist Cedric Alexander, Vermont’s moose project leader. “The intent of the proposal to allow population growth in most of Vermont.”

Alexander estimates Vermont has over 2,000 moose statewide with the greatest concentration in the Northeast Kingdom.

“We continue to take a very conservative approach given recent regional and national trends of moose populations and health,” added Alexander. “Moose biologists from the southern tier of moose range across North America are increasingly concerned about the effects of warming temperatures on moose health. Moose can easily become stressed by warmer weather causing them to feed less and early spring snow melt that results in higher winter tick loads the following year.”

Lottery applications are $10 for residents and $25 for nonresidents. The deadline to apply is June 15. Winners of the permit lottery will purchase resident hunting permits for $100 and nonresident hunting permits for $350. Hunters also will have the option to bid on five moose hunting permits in an auction to be announced later. Hunters who have received a permit within the past five years are not eligible to apply for a permit or buy a bonus point.

Vermont - Deer Ages Available on F&W Website

Hunters who provided the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department with a tooth from their deer can now find out how old their deer was by visiting the department’s website.

A total of 2,672 teeth were received from successful rifle season hunters. When added to the 1,937 deer examined by biologists during the youth and rifle seasons, the department was able to get accurate ages for 4,609 deer.

“We are thankful to the thousands of hunters who were willing to support our deer management efforts by providing us with a tooth from their deer,” said Deer Project Leader Nick Fortin. “We are particularly grateful to the handful of dedicated reporting stations that collected a tooth from every deer they reported. This effort would not have been as successful without their assistance.”

Now, the department would like more information on antler size in older bucks. “Relatively few mature bucks are harvested each year, so it’s important that we collect antler data from as many of these deer as possible,” said Fortin. “This information helps us evaluate concerns related to antler development and the current antler point restriction.”

If your deer was three years old or older and it wasn’t examined by a biologist at the reporting station, Fish & Wildlife would like to measure its antlers. To get your antlers measured, bring them to a Fish & Wildlife district office during the month of April. Or, you can send a picture (or two) to AntlerPics@vermont.gov. Pictures must clearly show all antler points. Detailed instructions are available on the Fish & Wildlife’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).

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