On November 6, 2019

Hunting dogs: Finding a solution won’t be easy

By Angelo Lynn

The story of two hikers and their small dog being attacked by a pack of hunting hound dogs while hiking in the Green Mountain National Forest near the Goshen-Ripton border is as shocking as it is frightening. Frightening because the dogs surrounded and attacked the couple for much of the half hour they were under siege. Shocking because the story is such an outlier. As Game Warden Dale Whitlock said, “I’ve been a game warden since 1996 and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

As repercussions from this incident sugar out, what’s key to keep in mind is that no one is suggesting this incident should pit hunters against hikers. We all understand that hunters and hikers, and others who use the trails, should have equal access to public lands.

What will be at issue is the legal responsibility to maintain control over one’s hunting dogs, and how officials can assure the safety of others against any similar attack.

Readers should know that state regulations allow hunting dogs, usually hounds used in the pursuit of bear, to run free from the direct control of their owners. The hounds, which are equipped with GPS dog colors, typically circle the prey and keep the prey contained (up a tree or otherwise) until the hunters arrive.

The hikers involved in this particular incident are familiar with the area, have hiked in that part of the national forest for 35 years, and have come upon hunting dogs before without incident. In retelling their story, they were bold to make clear they have no argument with hunting or hunters, but also emphasize that neither should they or any other hikers or users of public lands be terrorized by dogs trained to surround their prey and attack.

Few would argue with that premise. Finding a solution, however, is likely to be much more complex.

Angelo Lynn is the editor and publisher of the Addison County Independent, a sister publication to the Mountain Times.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

The magical mythical equalized pupil

May 15, 2024
By Tom Evslin Editor’s note: Tom Evslin, of Stowe, is a retired high-tech entrepreneur. He served as transportation secretary for Gov. Richard Snelling and stimulus czar for Gov. Jim Douglas. The Vermont Legislature is playing an expensive shell game — and planning worse. The “equalized pupil” is the shell under which the pea is hidden.…

Tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to protect the Connecticut River

May 15, 2024
Dear Editor, It has been 12 years since the relicensing process began for five hydroelectric facilities on the Connecticut River, and until May 22, there is an opportunity to comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  The last time these hydro facilities were licensed was in 1979, and once the new licenses are issued,…

UVM, don’t punish student protesters

May 15, 2024
Dear Editor, As a pastor, I feel it is my professional and moral responsibility to speak to the crisis of conscience facing our nation and state. As of this writing, the civilian death toll in Gaza stands at around 34,654 according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health. A third of these casualties are children. I do…

H.289: Good intentions on renewables but one big flaw

May 8, 2024
By David Bittersdorf Editor’s note: Dave Blittersdorf is the president of All Earth Renewables in Bristol. The Vermont General Assembly — in attempt to move the state to 100% renewable energy — is making changes to how the state’s utilities buy energy. Within the next couple of weeks, the Senate Natural Resources Committee will consider…