It’s only the second week that Wolf Patrol has been monitoring coyote hunting with hounds in Vermont and it’s also the second week that we’ve documented potentially illegal activity by the same group of Addison County hounders. Last week it was a hound hunter attempting to shoot a coyote from a public road, and this week it was trespassing on private lands where coyote hunters did not have permission to hunt.
Last week, the hound hunters themselves claimed to have permission to hunt on the lands that we filmed them on, despite local residents who have experienced trespassing from the same group having invited us to patrol their property in the first place. On Saturday March 5, 2022 we caught them redhanded on lands that they did not have permission to hunt on. That is because hound hunters have no control over their dogs which can roam wherever the coyote leads them. This time it was on another private landowners orchard where their dog chased the offending hound off of their property in pursuit of a coyote that this time got away. Nonetheless, this was a clear case of trespass, where hound hunters were not welcome where they were hunting.
Wolf Patrol also reported the questionable activity we witnessed last week to the region’s Vermont Fish & Wildlife conservation officer (warden) and they confirmed that it is indeed illegal to discharge a firearm from anything but a “Class 4” road. When our monitors found the hound hunters last week, just as their dogs were chasing a coyote through private lands, we filmed one of the hound hunters standing in the middle of Basin Harbor Road (not Class 4) with a scoped bolt action rifle, prepared to shoot any coyote his dog chased out of the nearby farmland. The warden also informed Wolf Patrol that it was illegal to carry a loaded firearm while hunting in any vehicle, which we suspect was also the case as this hound hunter kept his rifle tucked next to his right leg on the driver’s side of the truck he was hunting from.
In addition, this party of hound hunters tried to run Wolf Patrol’s monitors off the road by driving in the middle of the public highway making us take evasive action to avoid a head on collision, flipping us off, honking at us, and otherwise doing their best to intimidate us. A Vermont Fish & Wildlife warden was in the area, alerted to the possible illegal activity by hounders by Wolf Patrol. The warden spoke to the offending hounders, but it was the landowner who was told that hound hunters have the right to hunt on any lands not posted properly according to Vermont state law.
This is why Wolf Patrol is asking Vermont residents to contact their state representatives and the Senate Natural Resources Committee to let them know that we support the passage of Senate bill 281 that would ban the hunting of coyotes with hounds. Make no mistake, coyote hunting with hounds is more akin to dog fighting than it is to any kind of hunting for food or sustenance. It is also the source of multiple conflicts with private landowners, not only in Addison County, but across the entire Green Mountain State.
The coyote hunters we have documented twice now rarely leave their trucks except when it’s to retrieve their loose dogs or shoot a fleeing coyote from the road. This isn’t an attack on all hunting, it’s a campaign against the kind of hunting that gives all ethical hunters in Vermont a bad name because of the inherent cruelty involved with using dogs, trucks, snowmobiles and radios to run down another dog.
Please email Vermont’s Senate Natural Resources Committee today to let them know that you do not support legalized dog-fighting in Vermont!
Support Senate Bill 281!
Senator Chris Bray firstname.lastname@example.org (802) 453-3444
Senator Rich Westman email@example.com (802) 644-2297
Senator Mark MacDonald firstname.lastname@example.org (802) 272-1101
Senator Brian Campion email@example.com (802) 375-4376
Senator Richard McCormack firstname.lastname@example.org (802) 793-6417
Senator Becca Balint email@example.com (802) 257-4162