Conservation Camps Tradition Under Attack
Rep. Patrick Brennan
"Yes on H.589"
The Green Mountain Animal Defenders have mounted a campaign to
defeat the bill H.589. This bill is a omnibus fish and wildlife bill that
addresses many issues of importance to Vermont's outdoor sporting/
This anti-hunting, anti-trapping group is adamantly opposing a section
in H.589 that would create a new Vermont conservation license plate.
The Fish & Wildlife Department is currently developing three conservation
license plate images: a brook trout representing the watershed grant
program, a loon representing non-game programs, and a white-tailed deer
to help fund the Green Mountain Conservation Camps.
VT F&W has run the two conservation camps for decades. The Kehoe
Camp in Bomoseen and the Buck Lake Camp in Woodbury. Generations
of youngsters have attended these camps and enjoyed a great educational
program. They learn outdoors skills and hunting/firearms handling & safety.
Now, as Vermonters would have a chance to have a license plate with a
deer and at the same time fund the two conservation camps, this group
has jumped to attack this legislation because they oppose youngsters
being taught hunting and trapping in the elective course curriculum at
the Kehoe and Woodbury Conservation Camps.
The GMAD web site addressing this campaign against H.589 is below.
There was also a provision in H.589 for decreasing the VA disability rating
for disabled veterans to receive a free hunting and fishing license. Now,
this recognition of our veterans is also under attack by the GMAD.
If you want to show your support for a new Vermont white-tailed deer
conservation license plate, please call 802-828-2228 and leave the polite
message for Rep. Patrick Brennan "Yes on H.589" Pat is the House of
Representative leader of the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus.
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Reserve Your Spot for Humane Lobby Day 2014Vermont's animal advocates will soon fill the halls of the Vermont State House in Montpelier for Humane Lobby Day 2014 on February 25th.
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"The Fish & Wildlife's Conservation Camps' curriculum includes instruction on fishing, hunting and trapping..."
These plates mean something to those making a donation to have them. Those funds should be used toward true conservation, as intended.
"This is misleading to the general public, who believes that their purchase is being used for non-consumptive purposes."
"Examples include the recently injured owl rehabilitated in Shelburne after being caught in leghold trap; dogs like Kane, who was recently trapped and killed in Newbury; and endangered species, such as marten and lynx."
A victim of trapping.
Conservation License Plates Are Intended to Fund Non-Game and Watershed Projects, NOT Trapping Courses!
The intent and purpose of our state's Conservation License Plate is to fund non-game and watershed projects and is embraced by many Vermonters who support those programs in an effort to protect wildlife.
The ProblemH.589, an Act related to hunting, fishing & trapping, would allow the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department to redirect a portion of these motor-vehicle plates’ proceeds to their Conservation Camp Fund (when, as they contend, there is a surplus in the non-game and watershed accounts).
The Conservation Camps' curriculum includes instruction on fishing, hunting and trapping practices and is in direct conflict with the plates' stated purpose of funding non-game and watershed programs.This is misleading to the general public, who believes that their purchase is being used for non-consumptive purposes. If the Fish & Wildlife Department (F&W) would like to collect funds to promote hunting, fishing or trapping initiatives, GMAD believes they should have to apply for a brand-new plate type and follow the proper process in place to do so.What You Can DoGMAD is very concerned because an amended version of H.589 (enter H.589 in the search bar) has passed out of House Fish & Wildlife committee. Now the bill is scheduled for a vote in the full House on Tuesday, 2/18, and it is critical that YOU let your House Representative(s) know about your concerns before this legislation proceeds any further.You can find your House Representatives' contact info here. Please contact them NOW, and ask them to reject the provision in H.589 that diverts funds from the conservation plates' non-game initiatives to instruction on hunting, fishing and trapping.Talking Points ~ Problems with the Bill as it Relates to Conservation PlatesWe have provided some talking (or e-mailing) points for you to share with your lawmakers. You may pick one or more of these, but what's most important is that your Representative knows of your concern.
- F&W should not be allowed to piggyback on an existing plate by creating a new plate design that directly conflicts the original intent of the funds: protecting non-game and watershed only.
- F&W should have to apply for a new plate if they want to fund a different program.
- While many may argue that hunting may be considered a form of conservation, trapping is the antithesis of conservation, as it indiscriminately maims and kills non-target species. Examples include the recently injured owl rehabilitated in Shelburne after being caught in leghold trap; dogs like Kane, who was recently trapped and killed in Newbury; and endangered species, such as marten and lynx.
- These decisions don't serve the public's best interests. It is a disservice to Vermonters who purchased these plates based on the very info currently displayed on F&W's website.
- It is unclear who would define when, and if, "surplus" funds are available. Environmental organizations and non-game animal organizations, such as GMAD, are aware of many unmet needs, so a true surplus is extremely unlikely.
If you have any questions, please contact us. We'd be happy to walk you through the issue and address any concerns you may have. Please keep us posted on any correspondence you send or receive about this bill.We cannot stress enough how important it is that this version of H.589 be amended or the bill be defeated in its current form. We owe it to our wildlife and to the health of Vermont’s watershed-preservation efforts!For the animals, THANK YOU!Sharon MacNair, President
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