MONTPELIER — The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says meetings about the state’s deer and moose herds will be held soon.
Discussion scheduled for next month will include results from the 2013 season and prospects for this year’s deer and moose season. The department will also give an update on the deer management review.
Attendees are welcome to bring their experience with the herds and recommendations about hunting regulations.
Public hearings are scheduled for March 25 in Springfield, March 26 in Orleans and March 27 in Middlebury. Two more hearings will be held in May.
The March 27 meeting will be live streamed at VPT.org
NEWPORT — A Vermont man who accidentally shot his friend while hunting bear in 2011 has received a deferred sentence after pleading no contest to aggravated assault.
The Caledonian-Record reports (http://bit.ly/15pgg3d) Conrad Masse of Craftsbury will see the felony expunged from his record if he stays out of trouble for the next 18 months. The maximum sentence is 15 years in jail.
The 78-year-old Masse shot a bear, but also shot Wayne Goff as they hunted in Albany. The bullet entered Goff’s body near his waistline on the right side, traveled through his body, and exited just above his left buttock.
Masse’s lawyer said as part of the plea agreement, Masse will cooperate with insurance companies in resolving a matter in civil court. He said Goff has made a nearly full recovery.
BENNINGTON — Vermont’s Department of Fish and Wildlife says no hunters were injured or killed while in the woods last year, the first time in four decades.
Chris Saunders of the department said 2010 had formerly been the lowest on record, with only two incidents.
Saunders said the three main injury types are when a hunter shoots someone else thinking they are game, shoots someone else while shooting at game, or shoots him-or herself or another when the gun fires unintentionally.
The Bennington Banner reports 1981 was the worst year for hunting injuries with a total of 27 incidents, one of them being fatal. The highest number of fatalities came in 1973, with four incidents out of a total of 18.
MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin says the rest of the country should look to Vermont on how to manage firearms, but he’ll leave it to Congress to debate access to military-style assault weapons.
Shumlin says Vermont has a strong hunting culture and strong support for the right to own and use firearms. But he tells The Burlington Free Press (http://bfpne.ws/TsW8UE), “People don’t use machines of war to shoot whitetail deer.”
The issue of access to assault weapons has come to the fore following several recent mass shootings, including the massacre of elementary school students and staff in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14.
The National Rifle Association — which opposes most firearms regulations — has supported Shumlin, and contributed to his re-election campaign this year.
BENNINGTON — The amount of posted land in Vermont has gone up in recent years.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife says the numbers have increased since 1971, from 100,000 acres to 230,000 last year.
Unless a person takes measures to enclose or “post” their property, anyone who is properly licensed can go onto their property and hunt, fish, or trap there.
Once a person posts their property, hunters, anglers, and trappers must get permission from the landowner to conduct those activities.
The Bennington Banner reports (http://bit.ly/Uc6Kug) the department launched a service through its website that connects willing landowners with hunters. This was done in response to complaints from landowners with deer damage to their property and from hunters saying with all the posted land there are fewer places to hunt.
Deer permits to come by mail
BARRE — Antlerless deer hunting permits for the Dec. 1-9 muzzleloader season will be mailed to recipients in the form of a postcard in early November, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.
The department cautions hunters to put the postcard in a safe place until December. The Fish and Wildlife Board approved the number of December muzzleloader permits at 12,425 for 15 of the state’s 24 wildlife management units. Hunters who will receive the permits are listed on the department’s website, vtfishandwildlife.com.