Saturday, December 15, 2007

Pity The Majestic Turkey For This Winter He Will Suffer

So its mid-December in Vermont and already the snowpack is building. Every inch of frozen water that falls from the sky will test the ability of Vermont's wild turkey population to survive. Looking down the barrel of three months winter severity index, I've seen many in farmers fields. They brave the snow and exposure to pick at the undigested kernels that come out in the cow manure thats spread underneath.

They will have a long winter of digging ahead, whether in the forests for nuts, or fields for corn. Every inch that falls is an inch farther for a turkey from its source of food. The snow also makes them more suceptible to predators. They can't run well in deep snow, and need the running room to take off. Flight whether to a nearby roost or just to a new location, is how they escape.

So it looks like a long winter ahead for the turkeys. Hopefully a few find some feeders put out by kind folks. Beware the few that often find themselves wandering into roadways. This will be a winter that requires as many turkeys to survive as possible, in order to rebuild the population. Many will die in the snow.

Letter Found In Local Paper To The Point

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Dear Editor,
This week I had the unfortunate event of being stuck in traffic on the Sandbar on the way to work. It's a rather beautiful place to get stuck, with the snow falling on recently frozen ice. Steam rising off the open lake right through the falling snow up into the clouds. An occasional gull, crow or diving duck would cross over the bridge in flight. All except for the line of cars front and back as far as the eye could see.

It got me thinking again about the many traffic chokepoints throughout Route 2 in the Islands. Places where there is no way around, like the Sandbar, the Drawbridge, City Beach/Birdland, the NH-Alburgh bridge, the ILM-Alburgh bridge. Accidents and traffic in these places impede the ability of first responders to provide mutual aid to other towns, and ambulances in getting to Burlington. Besides that a great number of us work in Chitttenden County, and that Sandbar is the lifeblood of Grand Isle Counties economy.

A few weeks ago my concern about the drawbridge and lack of public information led me to draft a letter to the Governor. He forwarded it to the Transportation Secretary who in turn forwarded it to the Project Manager of the drawbridge who finally answered. I was surprised that the state had considered running a ferry while the bridge was being repaired. Even more so that they considered closing the bridge, the very heart of our county, for the duration of the repairs.

A new legislative session is upon us, let our representation know that transportation in the Champlain Islands needs to be at the top of their agendas. Too many decisions are being made that directly affect us, without any public involvement. That it was considered to even temporarily divide our county into north and south should be a wake up call. Complain, please! To Representatives Johnson and Trombley, and Senator Mazza who chairs transportation. The Governor, the Lt. Governor, the Transportation Secretary, your neighbor, the local selectboard, and anyone who'll listen. Obviously unless we make noise we'll just be forgotten and the State will do whatever it wants, without input from Islanders.

Best Regards,
Jason M. Brisson
North Hero, Vt.

Thank You Mr. Brisson for the permission to post this on the site. Hopefully it will help bring awareness to this obviously important issue!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Queer Deer Taken In Vermont

Breaking news from the tiny town of Isle La Motte in Grand Isle County, Vermont. Hermaphrodite deer shot during annual rifle season, two point rack in velvet. For those not in the know, that's an antlered doe. Deer had two points on one side, a main beam with an inch and a half kicker.

No joke here, if I hadn't seen it myself I'd never believed it. It was the queerest of creatures I've ever seen. An antlered doe, and chances are I'll never see one again. Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Biologists estimate that out of twelve thousand deer in the Green Mountain State shot annually, only two are antlered does.

The lucky hunter was Joe St. Lawrence of Isle La Motte. He had been hunting in a treestand in a area with other relatives nearby. He saw the deer at 30 yards and realizing the long kicker on the main beam made it a legal deer, decided to shoot. Upon firing his gun an eight and a six pointer jumped up from nearby as well and ran.

Unable to find the deer on a primary search, Joe returned with relatives to look again. They found the deer, and to their astonishment saw velvet on the antler. It wasn't until a relative suggested that Joe to lift the leg that they realized the roughly 160 pound buck was really a doe. It had full female genitalia, and a dramatic overbite.

The deer also had a back leg that appeared to have been broken, as if hit by a car, and then healed straight. It made for an odd track that when combined with a curved hoove made a deep sliding groove. Joe recognized it immediately as a deer he had seen the tracks of in the area the preceding couple years.

Its interesting the odds of shooting a monster buck in Vermont are better than shooting an antlered doe.