Lynn Levine is a long-time forester who lives in Dummerston. Forest management is a big part of her job.
But lately, she says she has become discouraged as she watches more and more deer gobbling down more and more twigs off ash, sugar maple, and oak saplings in the woodlots she manages.
Levine, who also is on the Dummerston Conservation Commission, was at Dummerston’s Town Meeting on March 6 with an information table to outline the damage that is being done to woodlands by Vermont’s deer population.
On average, one deer eats 10 to 15 pounds of twigs from saplings a day. Those twigs are important, Levine said, for without them, a sapling’s growth is stunted and it cannot fully grow into a tree.
According to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, 15,949 deer were killed during the state’s deer hunting seasons last year. That’s the third-highest harvest since 2002, which Fish & Wildlife attributes to mild winters in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Fish & Wildlife officials believe Vermont can safely accommodate about 15,000 to 20,000 deer, or about 10 to 15 deer per square mile. But Levine maintains that still is too many deer in our woods to ravage woodlots, as well as trees, shrubs, and plantings in people’s yards.
Why so many deer? Levine says it’s because there are too many does. Vermont is the only state that does not have a rifle season for hunting does. Reduce the number of does, and you’ll have a more managable herd.
That can only be done with hunting. But fewer people are hunting, and more land is posted. Levine says she doesn’t know how to get more people interested in deer hunting, but she said landowners and hunters can do more to open up land to hunting.
She suggests an “ask permission first” policy for hunters, and for landowners to make it clear that responsible hunters are welcome on their property.
Moose hunting changes eyed
• Speaking of deer and hunting, the abundance of deer in Vermont may also be affecting the moose population.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve been hearing reports of the moose herd in northern New England being decimated by an abundance of winter ticks.
In many cases, tens of thousands of ticks can attach themselves to a single moose and literally suck out all of its blood, leading to the death of the moose.
Another killer is brainworms, a parasite which do not affect deer but are deadly to moose.
The Fish & Wildlife Department is considering reducing the number of permits for this fall’s moose hunting season to 14. That’s compared to 80 in 2017 and 141 in 2016. Hunting would also be limited to the far northeastern corner of Vermont.
The Fish & Game Board held hearings last week in Montpelier, Orleans, and Windsor to discuss the changes before the board votes on them on April 25.
If you want to weigh in, there is still time. Email your thoughts on moose and deer herd management to ANR.FWPublicComment@vermont.gov.
Local basketball stars are honored
With the 2017-18 high school basketball season complete, last week was time for the Marble Valley League (MVL) to hand out the accolades to the boys and girls who played.
• For the MVL’s girls’ teams, Brattleboro had three selections in the A division. Hailey Derosia made the first team, while Rachel Rooney and Megan Ayotte were second-team selections.
In the C Division, Taylor Goodell and Halle Dickinson of Bellows Falls were first-team selections, as were Mariah Hazard of Leland & Gray and Hannah Buffum of Green Mountain.
Four more BF players — Madison Streeter, Molly Potter, Abbe Cravinho, and Michelle Marchica — were named to the second team, and their coach, Todd Wells, was named the C Division Coach of the Year. In his first season coaching the Terriers, they finished with a 16-5 record.
• As for the MVL’s boys’ teams, Brattleboro’s Tyler Millerick was a second-team selection in the A Division.
In the C Division, Shane Clark and Ryan Kelley of Bellows Falls, Logan Park and Dylan Howe of Twin Valley, and Ryan McSally and James Anderson of Green Mountain were all first-team selections.
On the second team were BF’s Joe Terry, Twin Valley’s Jack McHale, Leland & Gray’s Nathan Clausen, and Green Mountain’s Even Church.
The C Division’s Coach of the Year was Ryan Stoodley, who led the Terriers to an 8-13 record.
• The Vermont Basketball Coaches Association (VBCA) selected Brattleboro’s Hailey Derosia to the girls’ Division I-II “Dream Dozen” team, and Green Mountain’s Hannah Buffum and Paige Karl made the girls’ Division III-IV team.
They were the only local players named to the VBCA’s lists of the top 12 players, grouped by division, who will be returning to the court for the 2018-19 season.
• The Dream Dozen were introduced during the VBCA’s annual North-South All-Star Game, which was played on March 24 at Windsor High School.
Three local seniors made the girls’ Division III-IV South team —Kelsi Bostrom and Mariah Hazard for Leland & Gray and Twin Valley’s Taylor Courchesne. BF’s Shane Clark made the boys’ Division I-II South team.
Vermont Sports Hall of Fame banquet tickets on sale
• Tickets are on sale for the 2018 Vermont Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Celebration, which will be held April 21 at Trader Duke’s Hotel, 1117 Williston Rd., South Burlington.
The event starts with a reception at 5:30 p.m. with the induction ceremony following dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the event are $75 per person and tables for 10 are available. To arrange for tickets, go to www.vermontsportshall.com or email the VSHOF at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sixth class of inductees include: four-time Olympic cross-country skier Tim Caldwell, stock car driver Robbie Crouch, World Cup mogul ski champion Hilary Engisch Klein, legendary St. Johnsbury Academy track and field coach Ray Frey, collegiate and high school basketball standouts Matt Johnson, Larry Killick and Jen Niebling; longtime Essex High coach/athletic director Melba Masse, a pioneer of girls sports in the state; University of Vermont football great Bobby Mitchell, sportswriter David Morse, and UVM/NHL hockey great Martin St. Louis.
Senior bowling roundup
• Week 11 of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League saw Team 10 (44-11) rolling along in first place, while Team 4 (38-17) saw its second place lead dwindle after a 1-4 week. Team 2 (35-20) also had a 1-4 week, but they’re still in third. Team 5 (33-22) is in fourth, followed by Team 8 (32-23) Team 7 (27-28), Team 9 (23-29), Team 3 (25-30), Team 6 (24.5-30.5), Team 11 (16-34), and Team 1 (15.5-39.5).
Anne Wyman had the women’s high handicap game (237) and series (664), while Gary Montgomery had the men’s high handicap game (282) and Ken Chamberlin had the high handicap series (699). Team 1 had the high team handicap game (898) and series (2,438).
In scratch scoring, Montgomery (654) was the only person with a 600-plus series. He also rolled a 267 game.
Josie Rigby (566) continued her stay in the 500 club; once again, the only woman to do so. Six men had a 500-plus scratch series: Jerry Dunham (575), Marty Adams (505), Warren Corriveau Sr, (512), Fred Ashworth (569), Robert Rigby (597), and Fred Bump (548).