On June 5, 2024

Starting June 1, bobcats, foxes, bears, others are in danger

Dear Editor,

Every year, beginning on June 1, bears, bobcats, foxes, and other wildlife are pursued by packs of hounds, potentially over miles of land, during Vermont’s hound “training” season. Since this is also the time of year when wildlife is tending to their young, this “training” may lead to orphaned animals, as well as vulnerable wildlife suffering serious injuries or even death during these pursuits.

“Bobcat kits are born in early June which makes the timing of this abusive activity even more egregious,” said Jennifer Lovett, Protect Our Wildlife (POW) board member and biologist.

According to Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s regulations, a person with a hunting license may train a dog to hunt and pursue the following animals during these times:

  • Bear: June 1 to Sept. 15, sunrise to sunset
  • Raccoon: June 1 through the day before the opening day of raccoon hunting season, any time of day or night
  • Fox and bobcat: June 1 to March 15, except during regular deer season 
  • Coyotes: June 1 to Sept. 15 

“This is allowed on both private and public lands, and while posting your property does not necessarily keep uncontrolled hounds off, it may offer you legal protections,” shared Lori Kettler, attorney, and POW advisory board member.

“It is a disgrace that these animals aren’t even allowed time to raise their young without being harassed and put in harm’s way,” said Brenna Galdenzi, POW president.  “When the wild animal cannot escape the attacking hounds, fights often ensue, placing both the hounds and the wild animals in danger.”

Hounding has been referred to as a form of legalized animal fighting. For some species that are hunted, there are no limits on the number of hounds that may be used, placing the wild animal at an even greater disadvantage. Dogs that are used by hounders include large, tenacious breeds like foxhounds, plott hounds and coonhounds.

There have been recent legislative efforts to ban certain forms of hounding arising from animal welfare and public safety concerns, as well as violations of landowner rights. 

For more information on hounding and what your rights are visit: protectourwildlifevt.org/hunting-with-hounds. 

Brenna Galdenzi on behalf of the Protect Our Wildlife (POW) board

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