It's only human nature to keep records of outstanding achievements, and hunting is no exception. In 2008 the Vermont Big Game Trophy Club became the official record keeper of the top deer, moose, bear and wild turkeys in the state. Each year the club holds a Trophy Show & Awards Banquet that showcases some of the biggest big game animals ever taken in Vermont. While Vermont is seldom thought of as a top trophy-producing state, a visit to this event will open your eyes to some of the remarkable big game animals that roams the woods and fields of Green Mountain state.
The Pine Mountain Wildlife Management Area is a very unique property. Not only for the variety of habitat but the fact that it encompasses 4 towns and two counties within the state. Pine Mountain itself along with most of the nearly 2300-acre wildlife management area is located in the town of Topsham. However substantial portions are also located in the towns of Newbury, Ryegate and Groton, and the WMA straddles the Caledonia and Orange County lines. The size and diversity of wildlife and habitat types makes Pine Mountain an attractive place to visit for a variety of reasons. It also features several access points, making it easy for visitors to enjoy the WMA year round.
Since prehistoric times, man has had a fascination with antlers. Deer and moose annually shed their antlers in the winter only to grow larger ones in the spring and summer. Every shed antler is unique, and every one holds a story about the animal that produced it and how it was found. Hunting for shed moose antlers in particular has become a popular activity in Vermont, although it can often seem like exersize in futility. Even where moose are abundant, sheds are far and few between. But some shed hunters have begun using dogs to help find these north-woods treasures.
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Since 2007, Vermont fisheries biologist Lenny Gerardi has been keeping records of fish that make their way up the Clyde River in Newport during the spring and fall spawning runs. Great Bay Hydro built a fish ladder at the power station below the Clyde Pond Dam as part of its re-licensing agreement. The ladder leads to a fish trap that is accessible to biologists, and it is a critical component of the Clyde River Salmon Restoration Program.
Mud Creek is a small, sluggish stream that flows from the Canadian border south to Lake Champlain. The WMA consists primarily of a mix of emergent marsh and forested swamp, which provide habitat for a variety of waterfowl, including black ducks, wood ducks, mallards and teal, as well as other wetland birds. Below the marsh, from the dam downstream to the lake, Mud Creek also offers great paddling opportunities as well as fishing. In the fall Mud Creek offers good duck hunting, especially on its main marsh, which is regulated as a controlled hunting area. From September 1st to December 31st it is open only to waterfowl hunters with a valid permit.
When it comes to learning about your hunting area and simply enjoying wildlife, there is no substitute for time spent outdoors. But game cameras are the next best thing. These motion-sensing cameras monitor what’s going on in the woods 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you’re looking for the buck of a lifetime or simply a better understanding of the wildlife in your backyard, game cameras provide a fun, easy way to learn more about the critters that roam your favorite neck of the woods.
Ask any trout or salmon angler on Lake Champlain about the status of the fishery and they’ll all tell you it’s getting better. For decades the parasitic sea lamprey have had a tremendously negative impact on the lakes trout and salmon population. To turn the tide on these voracious creatures fisheries biologists from Vermont, New York and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have been working together on a sea lamprey control program since the early 90’s. While the application of lampracides is all that makes the press, fisheries biologists from Vermont, New York, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service work on controlling these pests year round.
There is nothing easy about managing our natural resources. Fortunately for Vermonter’s we have a number of experienced wildlife and fisheries biologists that are extremely dedicated to the task. One of the things that make these folks so special is that for most of them, their work is much more than just a job it’s their passion.