The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding Vermonters to be on the alert for activities that may represent poaching or the illegal take of game animals.
“While we work with communities throughout the year to protect animal populations, acts of poaching typically ramp up in November as deer hunting season approaches,” said Major Dennis Reinhardt of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “We are asking people to contact their local warden right away if they see anything that might indicate poaching is taking place to improve our ability to catch poachers before they leave the scene.”
Vermonters should be on the alert for people shining headlights or spotlights into woods and fields after dark, or driving vehicles or ATVs in fields after dark. Gun shots after dark should also be called in immediately.
Other things to watch out for include unexpected tree stands or ATV tracks on private property, piles of “bait” such as apples, corn, or salt that aren’t the result of agricultural practices, or game animals found shot along roads.
Hunting is permitted in Vermont on all public and private property that is not enclosed by posted signs and registered annually with the town clerk. However, hunters are only allowed to access private lands on foot, and may not use ATVs or snowmobiles.
“We’ve found that many landowners are confused about ATVs and think they have to post their land against hunting in order to keep these vehicles off their property,” said Major Reinhardt. “In fact off-road vehicles are never permitted on private property without the landowner’s permission.
“Hunting is a great tradition in Vermont, and most participants are ethical hunters. To protect the resource for everyone, we work to ensure that all poachers are apprehended and appreciate the public’s assistance with this goal.”
Vermonters can contact their local warden through state police dispatch, at the warden’s home number available on the department website at www.vtfishandwildlife.com, or through the Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-75ALERT (1-800-752-5378).