At the risk of extending this exchange about the recent disturbing
encounter between birder and hunter at Dead Creek WMA, allow me to offer a
few brief points:
1) My extensive encounters with hunters at Dead Creek and other WMAs in
Vermont is overwhelmingly positive. When I'm birding, I go out of my way to
talk to hunters, ask them what they've been seeing. (There is apparently at
least one bad apple over there now.) As many of us know, the drawdowns at
Dead Creek are designed to IMPROVE habitat for waterfowl by encouraging
germination of aquatic emergent plants. It appears that the current
drawdown has to do with construction work being done there now.
2) We need to build stronger coalitions with hunters. We'll most certainly
disagree with them from time to time, but overall we share many of the same
goals. A conservationist-hunter alliance would have powerful political
clout like few other coalitions.
3) I'm involved in a fledgling effort to increase state funding for
non-game programs at the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, whose
budget (derived largely from hunting license fees) and priorities are
dominated by game species. You'll most certainly be hearing about this
effort in coming months.
4) I agree with Mark LaBarr. Dana Rohleder's unfortunate encounter should
most certainly be reported to the refuge manager.
Vermont Bird Tours
113 Bartlett Road
Plainfield, VT 05667
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Phone: (802) 454-4640
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