I say this every year at this time. With the close of the deer hunting seasons and the beginning of the snowmobile and cross country skiing seasons, now is the time to thank those whose land you hunt fish, hike, ski or snowmobile on. A simple thank you note in the mail, stopping by to say thank you, or a small gift will go along way to ensuring access to the land next year.
If you did take a deer on someone’s land, an offer of a package of steak is one way of letting them know you appreciate them letting you use the land on which they pay the mortgage, taxes and upkeep.
New Hampshire Fish and Game says, “We all have a responsibility to develop and maintain lasting relationships with generous landowners to ensure that future generations can experience safe and open recreational opportunities through access to private lands.”
The Department urges us to, “Treat the landowner as you would like to be treated and treat their land as you would like yours to be treated. Demonstrate kindness, responsibility, and respect for private lands. And remember to instill good sportsmanship in the next generation, too. Teaching youth how to respectfully interact with landowners will help keep the tradition of open access in New Hampshire an enduring tradition.”
These are things we should do year-round.
Groton Women Fined For Harassing Hunters
Groton residents Donna Babic and Betty Eastman were found guilty of interfering with hunters on November 22, in Caledonia Superior Court. They were fined $262 and will lose their license privileges for fishing, hunting and trapping for a year.
Topsham resident Theodore Shumway and two companions were hunting black bear with hounds in the 26,000-acre Groton State Forest near Noyes Pond on October 9, 2021. A bear led the hounds onto private property before climbing a tree. The hunters entered the woods from Buzzy’s Road and retrieved the hounds, leaving the bear in the tree.
On returning to his truck with leashed hounds, Shumway encountered Donna Babic and Betty Eastman releasing air from the tires of his truck. Following an argument between the parties, one of the two women allowed a German shepherd out of their vehicle. The loose German shepherd attacked and injured one of the leashed hounds, which required veterinary care.
Vermont State Troopers responded to an emergency call from Mr. Shumway to defuse the situation. A subsequent investigation by a Vermont State Game Warden found the licensed and permitted bear hunters to be acting lawfully and cited Babic and Eastman with violations of Title 10 VSA 4708, Interfering with Hunting, Fishing or Trapping.
“Vermonters don’t always agree on wildlife management, especially when it comes to big game,” said Colonel Jason Batchelder, Fish and Wildlife’s Chief Game Warden. “Even so, I would ask that Vermonters respect one another’s constitutional right to hunt. Intentionally interfering with legal hunters in any fashion will result in court action, especially in a potentially dangerous fashion as we saw in this case.”
The Fish and Wildlife Department supports public engagement with wildlife management through appropriate channels, including town government, the legislature, and the Fish and Wildlife Board.
Bits and Pieces
Vermont hunting, fishing and trapping licenses for 2022 and license gift certificates are available on the Fish and Wildlife Department’s website, www.vtfishandwildlife.com.
A gift certificate link is on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s website home page and in the license section. The person who receives the certificate must go to the website to redeem it and purchase their licenses.
Existing permanent, lifetime or five-year licenses can be updated online on January 1.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will hold two biennial hearings in December, giving the general public an opportunity to offer input on any aspect of Department operations. The two sessions will be held on Tuesday, December 28 at 6:30 p.m. at New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Headquarters, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord and the second on Wednesday, December 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Region 1 Office on Route 3, 629B Main Street, Lancaster.
Pursuant to RSA 206:11, biennial hearings are held in odd-numbered years to provide the public with an opportunity to comment on and suggest changes to fishing and hunting rules, wildlife management strategies, and other Fish and Game functions. Members of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission, Executive Director Mason, and other Fish and Game staff will be present at the hearings to answer questions from the public.
The Department will not make any proposals for changes to hunting or fishing rules at the biennial hearings. Such changes will be handled as part of the game management rulemaking process scheduled to begin following the 2022 hunting seasons. Biennial hearings are broader in scope, allowing the public to comment on any aspect of the Department’s operations, without the urgency of specific species management proposals.
Educators who want to involve their students in all grade levels with schoolyard wildlife habitat can apply for funding for help.
New Hampshire’s Schoolyard Action Grant applications are being accepted through January 28, 2022. Technical assistance and Grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded to the top applications. For more information and a grant application, please visit: https://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/education/grants.html.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service New England Field Office, New Hampshire Project Learning Tree, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, and New Hampshire Audubon have partnered to support Granite State schools
through the New Hampshire Partnership for Schoolyard Action Grants. This partnership was created to make it easier for educators to apply for a grant to enhance their schoolyards to support nature-based studies. The common grant application works for all four of the partner organizations and greatly simplifies the application process.
Wildlife officials urge the public to report the information on waterfowl bands whether on birds they shot during legal seasons or can view with a spotting scope. Report online at www.reportband.gov or by sending your information to Bird Banding Lab, 12100 Beach Forest Road, Laurel, MD 20708.
New Hampshire Fish and Game wildlife biologists have completed the annual effort of attaching hundreds of metal bands to ducks throughout the Granite State. The pre-season banding effort is conducted in U.S. states and Canadian provinces throughout the Atlantic Flyway in August and September. This undertaking provides survival-rate data, which are used in conjunction with breeding-plot data and HIP (National Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program survey data for the statistical model that is then used to determine the annual season regulations and bag limits in the spring.
New Hampshire Fish and Game’s Landowner Relations Program works in partnership with landowners, hunters, and anglers by proactively addressing problems landowners experience while providing access to their land to others. To learn more about the program, including Operation Land Share, please visit www.wildnh.com/landshare.
Mark Breen reports in the Fairbanks Museum’s Skywatch Almanac that on December 25, 1980: “Bitter cold modern Christmas; St. Johnsbury –22 at 8 AM, -15 degrees at 4 PM; West Burke –35 on the morning of the 26th.”
COVID is killing our friends and family members. We need to do all we can to stop the senseless suffering and deaths. Get vaccinated, if not for you, for your neighbors, friends and loved ones.
Those who have underlying health issues, often the elderly, are most at risk as are those who are immunocompromised.
Vermont has a high vaccination rate, one of the best in the country, but we can and must do better.
At last week’s press conference Governor Phil Scott said it is the five percent of unvaccinated adults in the state that are the problem. They are overloading our hospitals.
Data shows that 5 percent of adults who are still not vaccinated account for 75 percent of hospitalizations and up to 90 percent of those in intensive care.
Commissioner Mike Pieciak says Vermont data shows that those not fully vaccinated and boosted are 30 times more likely to end up in the hospital and 34 times more likely to die of COVID.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis was very blunt when he declared “it’s your fault” if you’re unvaccinated and hospitalized.
Hospitals are facing serious issues involving the lack of ICU beds and overworked and exhausted staff. People in need of surgery and other life-saving procedures are waiting for an ICU bed because they are occupied by COVID patients.
Many elective surgeries are being canceled or postponed, including roughly 250 procedures at the University of Vermont Medical Center. I Dartmouth Hitchcock but know it is a lot and on Thursday they warned of more to come. The hospital said because of the high number of COVID-19 patients, it is seeing a shortage of staff and beds. So surgeons may decide to postpone.
Smaller rural hospitals are finding it hard to find places to transfer patients needing specialized care and some are being sent far from the area making it difficult for families as well as the patient.
“If you’re still unvaccinated, let me be clear — you’ll be infected sooner or later, it’s just a matter of time,” Scott said.
Don’t be selfish. Think of others and get vaccinated. No one wants to be responsible for the death of another.
Syndicated columnist Gary W. Moore may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at Box 454, Bradford, VT 05033.