Wildlife in Danger During Hound Training Season

To the Editor:

While Vermont residents are likely familiar with deer and turkey hunting seasons, many are unaware of the hound “training” season that starts on June 1st, putting bears, bobcats, foxes, raccoons, and other wildlife at risk. This activity is especially egregious, since this is the time of year when wild animals are birthing and nursing their dependent young.

Packs of radio-collared hounds may pursue a lone black bear for miles while their owner is miles away in their truck with only their handheld GPS device. Bears exited their dens in poor condition this year due to a shortage of food, so forcing these vulnerable animals to flee from packs of hounds all in the name of “recreation” is not only unethical, but also unsportsmanlike. Since bears are being “hounded” through the woods – their homes – during the height of summer, many will suffer from hyperthermia, since bears are not long distance runners. Sows may be separated from their frightened cubs and the frenzied hounds may trespass private property, placing people’s pets and livestock in danger.

Unfortunately, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (DFW) condones this barbaric practice in order to serve special interests over public interests. It is simply out of step with 21st century wildlife values. Because the DFW is becoming more irrelevant to Vermont’s wildlife governance, the legislature has become the functional platform for addressing wildlife management.

I urge citizens to contact their representatives to end this practice.

To learn more about what you can do to help Vermont’s wildlife, visit Vtwildlifecoalition.org.

Walter Medwid,

Derby, Vt.

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