LUDLOW, Vt. – Vermont Fish and Wildlife Game Wardens Tim Carey and Kyle Isherwood addressed the Ludlow Rotary Club at their Oct. 4 meeting at DJ’s Restaurant. As conservation law enforcement officers, they are responsible for enforcing State hunting, fishing, and trapping regulations. They check for valid licenses and provide harvest reports to the Department. They are trained state police officers, training alongside them at the Police Academy.
They serve as search and rescue teams, including working with trained dogs in those efforts. Several years ago, they were involved in a Cavendish search for a missing person that lasted four days at Knapp Ponds. They explained the search procedure, which includes finding basic clues based on where the person was last seen, and then setting up a grid circle search in half-mile radius increments. After searching the first half-mile radius, they move out to the next half-mile, continuing until the person is found. Of course, the concern is that a mobile person might move back into a searched area. The dogs are of huge importance in an area where visibility is compromised, requiring the dogs to follow the scent.
The duties of the job change with the seasons. Summer time focuses on bear nuisances, fall, on hunting issues, winter can include mountain rescues, and spring often focuses on fishing and boating safety. With bear issues, Carey and Isherwood find people are the problem more often than the bear. Since they serve to protect wildlife as well as humans, education on proper storage is often required. Bears need to eat a year’s worth of food in six months. If a bear can feast on a dumpster, chicken food, or bird feeders, it is a much more efficient source of their needed calories. Bears learn quickly, so UVM students are working with trash haulers to develop bear proof containers for distribution, especially in bear habitats.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife encourages ethical hunting. Baiting with apples or salt is not allowed. Additionally, shooting from motor vehicles is prohibited, nor can you have a loaded long gun in your vehicle, or hunt a half-hour after sunset. Often people get tunnel vision when they see a deer or bear, resulting in accidents and violations.
Carey and Isherwood talked about successfully rescuing the moose on the railroad tracks across the Black River in Cavendish a few years ago. It involved many organizations, took four to five hours, and included calling the railroad to stop the oncoming train.
Vermont has about 40 game wardens in total, including 30 field wardens and six command officers, plus four others. Training requirements are rigorous and time consuming.
Anyone interested in learning more about joining Rotary is invited to contact Kevin Barnes, Membership Chairman at 802-228-8877, to receive an invitation to a meeting.