BY GARY W. MOORE
Fish & amp; Wildlife Board Is Sportsmen's Voice
Governor Dean recently appointed two new members to the Vermont Fish & amp; Wildlife Board to replace outgoing board members whose terms had expired. The appointments gave me cause to think how lucky we are to have a board that is geographically balanced and continually changing.
I reported last month that Byron Fish of Charleston will represent Essex and Orleans Counties. Fish is retired from North Country Union High School where he taught math and computer science. He is a member of the Vermont Fish & amp; Wildlife Conservation Group in Derby and the Derby Fish & amp; Game Club.
I just learned that John Barrows of Stockbridge will represent Rutland and Addison Counties. He recently retired from the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & amp; Recreation where he worked as a forest resource protection technician. Barrows is an official scorer for the Vermont Trophy Program, and is a former hunter education instructor.
I have witnessed problems in many states where the governing board or commission is very political, often stacked by a governor with people with a certain agenda, and where some long serving members exert undue influence over the operations of the department.
The Vermont Fish & amp; Wildlife Board has seven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Geographical balance is achieved because each member represents two of Vermont's fourteen counties.
The members serve a six year term and can not be reappointed as the following six years a board member must come from the county that was not represented. For example, in the county pairings the last six years the board member came from Essex County and thus the new member had to be from Orleans and the Addison seat had to go to Rutland.
The appointments are staggered so that there is continuity while allowing for new blood. Every two years new members are appointed in a sequence of two, two and three.
As board members can not be reappointed, they do not feel the need to be lackeys for a governor or some powerful legislator. They are free to do what they believe is best for the resource and sportsmen should welcome that independence.
The Fish & amp; Wildlife Board passes regulations governing the taking of fish and game in Vermont. The members set seasons, bag limits and methods of taking, providing input from their constituents. They do not have budgetary or hiring oversight and they do not decide where fish will be stocked.
Years ago when the legislature set in statute how the board would be constituted and how it would operate a great deal of foresight was used. The system Vermont has works well. It allows the department and the fish and wildlife it is responsible for to be managed by professionals while giving a citizen board the authority to set regulations.
Fish and wildlife will never be free of politics, but in Vermont we are fortunate that the influence is quite limited.
Bits and Pieces
Vermont provides a quick and easy way for Vermont residents to obtain a Boating Safety Education Course. The course can be taken online. Simply check out the web site at http://boatsafe.com/Vermont and proceed at your own pace.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board will meet Wednesday beginning at 7 p.m. at the Pavilion in Montpelier. The agenda includes the third and final vote on the moose season and a discussion regarding the possible extension of the rabbit season.
Take a bird walk sponsored by the Fairbanks Museum and NEK Audubon Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday. Call Charlie Browne for details at 802-748-2372.
The public is invited to attend.
Linda was getting worried that our humming birds had not come back. When I got home from Boston Friday night she couldn't wait to tell me that a male humming bird had been at the feeder.
Fiddleheads are a natural delicacy that can be found only for a few short weeks in the spring. Pickers tend to guard the location of their picking spots with all the secrecy of the CIA. Thus it is with great appreciation that Linda and I have been eating fresh fiddleheads.
A good friend told us the location of a spot he picks and encouraged us to pick some for ourselves. We did as the season was about ending, and picked a pound of delicious fiddleheads.
We certainly had a delightful weekend weather wise. I attended the VTC graduation in Randolph Center on Saturday and the LSC graduation in Lyndon on Sunday. Too little time was left to go fishing or turkey hunting so I worked in the office and around the house.
Gary W. Moore may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at Box 454, Bradford, VT 05033.