STOWE, Vermont—There have been efforts spearheaded by wildlife advocacy groups to ban the wanton waste of wildlife in Vermont that began in January 2019 with a bill sponsored by Representative Curt McCormack. Wanton waste can be defined as hunting or trapping a wild animal and not using any of the meat, fur or other body parts and simply discarding the carcass. Unlike other states, Vermont has no wanton waste prohibitions on game or furbearer species.
Protect Our Wildlife's President, Brenna Galdenzi, shared, "The catalyst for this effort to ban wanton waste was a letter sent to the Fish & Wildlife Board by a retired Vermont game warden in April 2018 where he documented his concerns as to the amount of wasteful killing he witnessed over the years from muskrats, to deer, to coyotes." That letter can be viewed here. The Fish & Wildlife Board never took up his petition.
Representative Amy Sheldon, Chair of the House Natural Resources Fish & Wildlife Committee, convened a working group in 2019 with the purpose of stakeholder groups working together on agreeable bill language to ban wanton waste. The group consisted of Fish & Wildlife Commissioner, Louis Porter, a sportsmen's lobbyist, and Barry Londeree from the Humane Society of the United States, Vermont. Londeree shared, "There seemed to be agreement that if someone hunts or traps a game or furbearer species in-season, that the animal should be utilized for its meat, fur, or for taxidermy to the extent possible, with an exception granted for the killing wildlife in defense of property. Permitting an animal to simply be discarded would negate the entire purpose of a use requirement." There are a number of other exemptions as well that can be found in the most recent version of the bill here.
Holly Tippett, POW cofounder and Board member said, "Not surprisingly, when it came down to the wire and the Commissioner was asked if he supported the bill language in preparation for a Committee vote, the obfuscation began and he offered bill language that would strip the legislation of any meaningful protections for wildlife." Galdenzi said, "Commissioner Porter's bill language would only require retrieval and disposal of wildlife, with no requirement to utilize the animal in any way, which defeats the entire spirit of this legislative effort." Protect Our Wildlife sent an email to the House Natural Resources Fish & Wildlife Committee on May 13, 2021 sharing the following, "Sadly, this Commissioner has also refused to support the ban on coyote killing contests, a regulated coyote hunting season, signage & trap setbacks on public lands where leghold and kill traps are set etc." Galdenzi said, "This should have been an opportunity for wildlife advocates and the VT Fish & Wildlife Department to work together."
To learn more about wanton waste and how to get involved with efforts to work on this legislation in the 2022 session, people can visit this link: https://www.protectourwildlifevt.org/wanton-waste