Department of Fish and Wildlife

A deer head mounted on a wall next to a door that says Fish, Wildlife And Water Resources
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

This year the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department proposed significant changes to hunting laws. The new proposal includes reducing the annual buck limit to one, and increasing the number of antlerless deer that can be harvested.

In March and April, the department presented the proposal at meetings across Vermont. Erica Heilman drove to Orleans to sit in on one of these meetings.

A white-tailed deer photographed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We're looking at the proposed changes to deer hunting in Vermont by 2020.
Scott Bauer / USDA

Hunting rules usually change due to shifts in the animal population hunters are harvesting. But in 2020, Vermont’s deer hunting rules are changing for a different reason: a long decline in the number of hunters. That's leading the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to propose changes from bag limits to antler point restrictions to season structure. We're looking at the proposed changes.

Look for four inches of clear, black ice — enough to support a person walking — before enjoying ice fishing, officials from the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife say.
smiltena / iStock

Mid-February is prime time for ice fishing in Vermont, but a recent tragedy is focusing attention on the risks of the winter sport. 

Four adults stand with snowshoes on.
John Dillon / VPR

The state’s largest wetlands area stretches 15 miles along the Otter Creek in Addison and Rutland counties. Local groups have started talking to the state about how to provide greater protection for the Otter Creek wetlands, as the Trump administration seeks to roll back national wetland protection rules. 

Gov. Phil Scott has proposed closing the Salisbury Fish Culture Station, seen here, to save money in next year's budget. But angling industry experts say the closure could severely reduce the number of fish available for stocking.
Department of Fish & Wildlife, courtesy

Vermont's angling community is fighting a proposal to close one of the Department of Fish & Wildlife's five fish hatcheries.

People stand on frozen Lake Champlain.
Bayla Metzger / VPR

More than 500 people walked onto frozen Lake Champlain in North Hero for the Ice Fishing Festival on Saturday. During the annual event, held by Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, residents are allowed to fish without a license.

A bobcat is seen in this game camera photograph in Brandon in December 2017.
Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, via Associated Press

A bobcat attack Wednesday in the Upper Valley sent two people to the hospital, but Vermont Fish and Wildlife officials say they were able to kill the animal.

Two lamprey out of water
bit245 / iStock

Rivers on the New York side of Lake Champlain will be treated with chemical pesticides this fall in an effort to control parasitic sea lamprey.

A survey from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department assesses Vermonter's opinions on a variety of issues. We're talking about the results.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has just released a new comprehensive survey that examines how Vermonters look at issues including fishing, hunting, trapping and wildlife preservation. We’re looking at these results and what they mean for the future of the state's wildlife.

Drew Price holds up the 30-inch pike-pickerel hybrid he caught recently in Lake Champlain. In landing the fish, he became the first person in Vermont to complete the Master Angler Sweep, which involves catching trophy-sized specimens of 33 fish species.
Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, courtesy

Fishing enthusiast Drew Price, of Colchester, has become the first person in Vermont to complete the daunting "Master Angler Sweep."

John Dillon / VPR

A Nature Conservancy project in northern Vermont will store carbon to meet California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. The group says proceeds from the sale of these “carbon credits” will pay for future land protection projects.

A shot of Buck Lake in Woodbury Vermont on a blue sky day.
Tom Rogers / Vermont Fish & Wildlife, courtesy

A state-run summer camp is underway in Woodbury, where up to 60 kids a week experience a hands-on, outdoor learning environment.

Fish and Wildlife technician Taylor Booth, left, and biologist Chet Mackenzie measure a male sturgeon caught in the Winooski River.
John Dillon / VPR

An ancient fish still swims in Lake Champlain. Biologists and anglers are seeing more giant, long-lived lake sturgeon here, even as an environmental group calls for greater protection for the species around the country.

Warden Arnold Magoon, shown here on duty before his death in 1978, will be honored Saturday by the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, Provided

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Vermont game warden Arnold Magoon, who was killed in the line of duty.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department will honor Magoon on Saturday by placing a memorial on his family's property in Brandon.

A male brook trout in his spawning colors. Trout Unlimited wants the state to reduce the catch limit to 12 a day to six.

As Vermont’s trout season opens, an environmental group is calling on the state to reduce the number of brook trout that can be taken.

Moose are falling victim to winter ticks, whose population is booming because of climate change. The state says some very limited hunting of the big animals should still be allowed.
Sandy Macys / AP

The state is proposing to drastically reduce the number of permits to hunt moose as the population continues to suffer from a parasite that has grown more abundant with climate change.

A coyote walks in snowy wooded area.
LeFion / iStock

The ban on “holding or participating" in coyote-killing tournaments was included in a major fish and wildlife bill that passed the Vermont House this week.

This catamount is on display at the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier.
Matthew Johnson / Vermont Historical Society

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says there is no evidence that the catamount is still roaming in the Northeast, and the federal agency has officially removed the large cat from the federal endangered species list.

Moose in Vermont and across New England are dwindling due to more deaths from parasites like winter ticks, which are also linked to poor calving rates and low survivorship among new calves.
George Bosworth / Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department

As Vermont's moose population continues to decline, state wildlife biologists say a warming climate is behind an explosion in winter ticks and "skyrocketing" levels of brain parasites, both of which are keeping moose mortality high and calving rates low.