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Vermont Considers Fish & Wildlife Board Changes

Vermont state senators have overwhelmingly advanced a bill (S.258) that would reform Vermont’s Fish & Wildlife Board to make it more fairly balanced in terms of the board members who hunt, fish and trap, and those who don’t.

The F&W board currently consists of 14 VT residents who are appointed by the governor, and who have the authority to approve or reject new hunting and fishing rules. The board seats have historically been held by people who hunt, fish, and trap. Non-hunting and -fishing residents currently have no representation on the board, despite the fact that only about 10% of Vermonters hold a hunting license.

If passed, the bill would strip the board of its rulemaking authority and make it an advisory body to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. While the board could weigh in on proposed hunting, fishing and trapping regulations, the commissioner of the Fish & Wildlife Department would have final say. In addition, the bill would require adding two seats to the board: one member who would be appointed by the House and the other by the Senate.