Hunting, trapping classes postponed
Amid concerns over COVID-19, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has postponed all Hunter, Bowhunter and Trapper Education courses for the well-being of students, volunteer instructors and all Vermonters. In the meantime, Vermonters can do online work for hunter education, bowhunter education, or trapper education.
"Now more than ever we want to encourage Vermonters to enjoy the outdoors and harvest local food," said Hunter Education Program Coordinator Nicole Meier. "Although classes are canceled for now, we will offer more courses later this year. With many of us confined to our homes, this is a great time to do the online or book work ahead of your class."
Students should watch the Vermont Fish and Wildlife website for more information about when classes will resume. Here is a link to information about classes and the online homework: https://vtfishandwildlife.com/hunt/hunter-education. Vermonters who are not Hunter Education certified but would like to go hunting with a mentor can purchase a mentor license online.
Fish & Wildlife suggests removing bird feeders by April 1
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says warm spring weather and melting snows will cause bears to come out of their winter dens in search of food. The department recommends taking down bird feeders by April 1 to avoid attracting bears.
"Apples, beechnuts, acorns, and berries were mostly plentiful last fall enabling bears to enter their winter dens in good condition," said Forrest Hammond, Vermont's bear biologist, "but our recent warmer temperatures will stimulate them to emerge and seek any food sources they can smell." Bears are very fond of suet and bird seed, especially black oil sunflower seed, which they can smell from a long distance.
Bringing feeders in at night doesn't work, because bears will still feed on seed that is spilled on the ground. Bird feeders are just one of the things that can attract hungry bears. Other sources of food that bears find appealing are pet food, barbecue grills, garbage, household trash containers, open dumpsters, campsites with accessible food, and food wastes.
Purposely feeding a bear is not just bad for the bear, it causes problems for your neighbors, and it's also illegal. Fish and Wildlife also offers the following tips to avoid bear problems: Keep chickens and honeybees secure within an electric fence or other bear-proof enclosure; never feed bears, deliberately or accidentally; feed your pets indoors; if you compost learn to do it without causing odors that attract wildlife; store trash in a secure place (trash cans alone are not enough).
"We are asking anyone who has a problem with a bear to report the incident in a form that we have on our website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com) under Living with Wildlife," said Hammond. "There is a section in the form where you can ask us to call you to provide advice."
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