Vermont Public Opinion On Wildlife Species Management
Public support for five habitat protection/conservation efforts ranged from 74-92%, with the greatest support (92%) measured for having the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department work with town or regional planning commissions to design plans that conserve important habitats. Second, 87% were in support of protecting habitat by providing financial incentives to property owners who conserve habitat.
48% of VT residents would like to see the deer population remain about the same while 32% would like to see an increase (for increased hunting opportunities or to improve chances of seeing a deer), and 5% would like to see a decrease (to reduce human-wildlife conflicts such as vehicle collisions). Two-thirds agree that the 2005 law making it illegal for the public to feed wild deer helps in preventing the spread of disease.
More than half (54%) want to see the moose population remain steady, 19% prefer an increase, and 10% prefer a decrease. For black bears, 57% prefer a steady population, 16% prefer an increase, and 7% prefer a decrease. With respect to wild turkeys, 60% prefer a steady population, 15% prefer an increase, and 10% prefer a decrease. (Same reasons given for increase/decrease as above.)
The human-wildlife conflicts measured over the past 5 years include vehicle damage mostly by deer (14%) and personal property mostly by deer and also by black bears (21%). The large majority of Vermont residents (70%) are tolerant of bears on or near their property, with most of them being very tolerant. Only 18% are not tolerant.
With respect to hunting, 41% have hunted at some time, 23% have hunted within the past 5 years and 18% have hunted within the last year. The most hunted species were deer (55%), wild turkey (23%), black bear (17%) and ruffed grouse (16%). 42% of hunters have applied for a VT moose hunting permit within the past 5 years. Among deer hunters, the rifle season is the most popular (88% hunted deer during the rifle season), distantly followed by the muzzleloader season (43%) and archery season (33%).