I recently became aware that Vermont’s Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge allows both the hounding of bears, bobcats, coyotes and other wildlife, as well as the use of leghold and body crushing Conibear kill traps. Hounding and trapping conflict with what should be the purpose of Refuge lands: to conserve wildlife in the midst of our planet facing its sixth mass extinction.
Hounding and trapping results in injuring or killing not only the targeted victims, but non-targeted animals as well. Hunting and fishing are also permitted on the Refuge, and some may even argue that it is difficult...
Many of us in Vermont are not looking forward to the bear hunt that begins on September 1st and runs through mid November. It’s one of the longest in the country. Vermont allows bears to be pierced with arrows, shot from trees, hunted with packs of hounds, just to name a few horrors. Females with cubs, and even the cubs themselves, may be hunted and killed. Besides these obvious concerns, there is new research that looks at the activity of bear hunters, especially those with hounds, and how they impact overall bear behavior and health. These studies are largely ignored by fish and wildlife...
I would like to reply to some of the assertions made by Alana Stevenson in her letter to the editor in the March 4 Addison Independent (“Hound hunting for the few at expense of many”). I am not a hound hunter. I am, however, a game warden retired from a Western state and who has had considerable contact with hounds and hound hunters.
I can’t really address the problems of hound hunting and private land, as we had large expanses of U.S. Forest Service land and most hound hunting was done thereon. Vermont is different with the land largely being in private ownership. Although I did have a hound...
There is a bill in the House, H. 172, that will ban bear hounding and I ask that everyone support it. There is also a bill, H. 316, that I hope can be expanded to include control of all dogs used for hounding, not just bear hounds, but hunting dogs who chase and attack foxes, raccoons, bobcats and coyotes, too. I am hoping legislators in both the House and the Senate will step up to the plate.
Hounding is when a bunch of dogs are purposely let loose to chase and attack wild animals. They are unsupervised and are usually miles away from the hound-hunters, who often hang out and sit in their...
Senator Chris Bray’s legislative bill to control bear hounds shows he has no understanding of what hunting with hounds entails. The hounds go where the bear goes, the houndsmen have no ability to control where the bear takes the hounds, regardless of property lines or no hunting signs.
Furthermore, it is impossible to limit the distance between the hounds and the houndsmen. The houndsmen do their best to keep up with the hounds but it is usually impossible to do so when the hounds are in hot pursuit. It is totally impossible for the houndsmen to keep the hounds in sight because the bear runs...
MONTPELIER — Five months after a pair of hikers and their puppy were attacked by bear-hunting hounds in the Green Mountain National Forest in Goshen, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy has taken up a wide-ranging Fish & Wildlife omnibus bill that includes, among many other things, language intended to clarify bear-hound regulations.
S.321, an “act related to miscellaneous fish and wildlife issues,” in its current iteration runs to 42 pages. It contains a brief section that would define “control of dogs,” protect property owners from unwanted trespassing by bear hounds...
The negative language that has been added to S.321 threatens both the hunting community and the integrity of the Fish and Wildlife Department. Senator Chris Bray stated on the record that he doesn’t believe these are attacks on hunting. If this concerns you, seek him out and speak to him about it.
The Fish and Wildlife Department spends the majority of its sportsman-generated dollars on non-game programs, yet this bill creates a study committee that is made up of legislators. We could end up with some Fish and Wildlife Board members whom neither have a hunting, fishing or trapping license,...
I am writing concerning the ongoing coverage of the outrageous incident of bear hounds attacking an out-of-state couple and their dog in Ripton. This story, from the standpoint of a civilized society, is alarming on so many levels.
As stated in the Independent, the law reads, “A person shall not take black bear with the aid of dogs unless the person is in control of the dog or dogs.” The operative word here being control. It goes on to define Control of Dogs to include handling and restraining.
How is it possible to handle and restrain one’s dog pack when they are miles away? Every bear hound...
Editor’s note: This story is second in a series. The first, "Bear-hunting hounds attack hikers and pup," was published on October 31, 2019.
VERMONT — Members of the bear-hound hunting community, along with state officials, have expressed shock over an Oct. 19 incident on the Catamount Trail in Ripton, in which five bear-hounds attacked a couple and their puppy.
Such an incident has never happened before, say supporters, who characterize their sport as having a positive culture with strict practices and high standards.
Brandon resident Wayne Newton, whose bear-hounds were involved with the...
MERYL SIEGMAN’S HANDS show some of the puncture wounds she suffered while shielding her puppy from an attack by bear-hunting hounds in the Green Mountain National Forest near the Ripton-Goshen border earlier this month.
Photo courtesy of Meryl Siegman and Ron Scapp
RIPTON — On Saturday, Oct. 19, around mid-day, a pack of bear hunting dogs attacked two hikers and their puppy on the Catamount Trail in the Green Mountain National Forest near the Ripton-Goshen border.
Former Ripton resident Meryl Siegman, 65, and her husband, Ron Scapp, 64, who have been hiking in the area for more than 30 years, had completed roughly one-quarter of their intended walk when they heard barking, they told the Independent.
“Almost instantaneously we were swarmed by five dogs,” Siegman said.
Scapp described them as “big hound dogs, in the 60- to 80-pound range, wearing...