Hunters spend $292 million in Vermont

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Hunters spend $292 million in Vermont

Fri, 11/08/2013 - 2:58am -- tim

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reports that hunters contribute significantly to the state’s economy and spend more than $292 million in Vermont annually, according to a recent survey by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Census Bureau.
‘More than $39 million is spent on travel, such as dining, lodging, transportation, and similar expenses,’ says Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry. ‘Another $190 million is spent on equipment, and more than $62 million is spent on other items.’
‘Hunting is economically important not just because of its total economic impact,’ said Berry, ‘but also because so much of it occurs after foliage season and before skiing, and the spending takes place throughout the state, including in our most rural areas.’

VTF&W photo by John Hall.
Hunters spend $292 million annually in Vermont, including in our more rural areas, and they do so after foliage tourism ends and before skiing starts.

In 2012, more than 74,000 people purchased Vermont hunting licenses, including 64,589 residents and 9,428 nonresidents. Deer are the most important species sought by hunters in Vermont, with close to 90 percent of license buyers planning to pursue deer according to the Fish & Wildlife Department.
The federal survey also shows that Vermont ranks first among the lower 48 states in participation of its residents in wildlife-related recreation, including hunting, fishing and wildlife watching, with 62 percent of our residents enjoying these resources. Residents and nonresidents spend $744 million annually in Vermont in pursuit of these activities.
‘Vermont isn’t Vermont without wildlife and fish. These resources are important to all of us recreationally, socially and economically,’ said Berry. ‘They also contribute greatly to our quality of life. As hunters continue to enjoy excellent opportunities here in the state, it’s good to know that local communities benefit as well.’
2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation

Vermont Moose Hunters Had a Successful Season
Vermont moose hunters had a successful hunting season according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. An archery moose hunt was held October 1-7, and the regular moose hunting season was October 19-24.
‘A preliminary count shows that by November 6, the department had received official reports of 23 moose being taken by 50 hunters in the archery season, and 197 moose taken by 362 hunters in the regular season,’ said Cedric Alexander, Vermont’s moose project leader. A few additional reports may still be sent in from other reporting agents.
‘Vermont’s moose population is being managed scientifically, according to a plan developed on sound wildlife biology and input from the public,’ said Alexander. ‘The overall hunter success rate was up slightly from last year, due, in part, to colder weather stimulating moose activity near the end of the season.’
‘The number of ticks found on moose brought in to the Island Pond check station was higher than at any other check station. The tick data will be analyzed further and compared to results from New Hampshire and Maine.’
This was Vermont’s 21st moose hunting season in modern times, the first occurring in 1993 when 30 permits were issued and 25 moose were taken by hunters.
A final report on Vermont’s moose hunting season will be available in January when all of the 2013 data have been received and reviewed.
Exotic Fish Species Found in North Montpelier Pond
An East Montpelier man discovered something unusual while fishing outside of Montpelier last week. An exotic fish species known as a clown knifefish, native to Southeast Asia, was found dead near the boat ramp.
The angler took a photo of the fish and contacted Shawn Good, fisheries biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, to identify it.
"This was likely someone's pet," said Good. "The clown knifefish is a popular species when they are young and small, but they can often outgrow the confinement of hobby aquariums.’
Although the specimen discovered in North Montpelier Pond was only 17 inches long, the species is capable of growing to nearly 40 inches and has the potential to be a voracious predator of other fish. They cannot survive in temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so this one quickly perished in the cold water.
‘Unfortunately, many aquarium owners believe they are helping their pet by releasing it into a nearby waterbody,’ said Good. ‘In reality, the illegal release of aquarium fish is a common source of invasive species introductions.’
There have been dozens of known introductions of invasive species into North American waterways from people releasing aquarium species, including fish, plants and invertebrates. These infestations can devastate native aquatic ecosystems, introduce disease, disrupt recreational and commercial fisheries, and cost millions of dollars for control and management.
‘If this introduction had been a fish species that is able to survive Vermont’s cold water temperatures such as a snakehead, we may have had to take drastic measures to reclaim the waterbody,’ said Good. ‘When this happens, we are forced to eliminate all of the fish in the pond and then rebuild the pond’s fish stock with native species.’
Good advises owners not to release unwanted aquarium fish and plants into the wild, but instead to give them away to another aquarium owner or a pet shop. ‘If no other options are available, you can dispose of the fish by placing it in a container of water and putting it into the freezer, as cold water is a natural anesthetic to tropical fish.’
Vermont fish are a public trust and protected by law. Releasing aquarium fish and many other fish species into Vermont waters is illegal and punishable by a fine of up to $500. Sightings of exotic species should be reported immediately to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department at 802-828-1000.
Rifle Deer Season Starts Saturday, November 16
Hunters are gearing up for the start of Vermont’s statewide traditionally popular 16-day rifle deer season that begins November 16 and ends Sunday, December 1.
A hunter may take one buck during this season with at least one antler having two or more points one inch or longer. A point must be one inch or longer from base to tip. The main beam counts as a point, regardless of length. Spike-antlered deer, mostly yearlings, are protected during this season.
‘Vermont’s pre-hunt deer population is estimated at 115,000-145,000 animals this year with the greatest numbers of deer found in the southwest, east-central, and northwestern regions of the state,’ said Deer Project Leader Adam Murkowski. ‘Mild winter weather during the last two winters coupled with a healthy and robust deer population mean herd growth is expected in many regions of the state this year.’
Planning Your Hunt
The 2012 Vermont Deer Harvest Report, available from the Fish & Wildlife Department’s web site ( has a wealth of information to help plan a hunt, including the number of deer taken in each town. Click on ‘Hunting and Trapping’ and ‘Big Game’ to download a copy of the report.
Vermont’s regular hunting licenses, including a November rifle season buck tag and a late season bear tag (for Nov. 16-24), still cost only $22 for residents and $100 for nonresidents. Hunters under 18 years of age get a break at $8 for residents and $25 for nonresidents. Licenses are available on Fish & Wildlife’s web site and from license agents statewide.
Hunters are reminded of a new law prohibiting shooting a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow while on or within 25 feet of the traveled portion of a public highway.
Last year was the safest year ever for Vermont hunters. There were no hunting-related shootings in any of Vermont’s hunting seasons. So far, 2013 is also accident-free, and the Fish & Wildlife Department is urging hunters to keep this safety record going by choosing to wear hunter orange.
‘2012 was a fantastic milestone for Vermont’s 70,000 licensed hunters,’ said Chris Saunders, Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s hunter education coordinator. ‘However, we can’t rest on our laurels. Every year should be accident-free, and wearing at least a hunter orange hat and vest can go a long way to ensuring that.’
Contact the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department for more information. Telephone 802-828-1000 or Email
Hunters who get a deer on opening weekend of rifle season can help Vermont’s deer management program by reporting their deer at one of 7 biological check stations
listed below that will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on November 16 and 17:
Marty’s Sports & Gunsmithing, Inc. ‘ Bennington
Jericho General Store ‘ Jericho
St. Marie’s, Inc. ‘ Swanton
Wright’s Enterprises ‘ Newport
Keith’s Country Store, Inc. ‘ Pittsford
R&L Archery ‘ Barre
Paradise Farm Sugarhouse ‘ Brattleboro
Fish & Wildlife 11.6.2013