VT Zone Boundary Changes

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VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby HJF » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:19 pm

From Bill Crenshaw and going to the F&W board. There is a map also, but I can not get it to post......


Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
Waterfowl Zone Boundary Change - 2011



BACKGROUND: Guidelines for state waterfowl zone boundaries are regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and published annually in the Federal Register. Under current guidelines, Vermont is allowed three zones (Lake Champlain Zone, Vermont Interior Zone and Connecticut River Zone), and a 60-day season with one split (two segments) for each zone. Every five years states are allowed to propose minor changes in zone boundaries. This year (2011) is one of those years (the next opportunity will be 2016). States considering zone boundary changes must notify the USFWS of their intentions by May 1, 2011.

PROPOSED REGULATION - CHANGE (or NEW): Change the boundary between the Lake Champlain and Vermont Interior Zones to remove the Missisquoi Delta in the town of Swanton (and the Mud Creek Controlled Hunting Area in the town of Alburgh) from the Lake Champlain Zone and add this area to the Vermont Interior Zone.

The current description of the Lake Champlain Zone would change from “….U.S. 7 to the Canadian border.” , to “ … U.S. 7 to VT 78 at Swanton; VT 78 to VT 36; VT 36 to Maquam Bay on Lake Champlain; along and around the shoreline of Maquam Bay and Hogg Island to VT 78 at the West Swanton Bridge; VT 78 to VT 2 in Alburgh; VT 2 to the Richelieu River; along the east shore of the Richelieu River to the Canadian border.”

EXPLANATION:*The Missisquoi Delta is one of the most heavily hunted waterfowl areas in the state. The shallow marshes encompassing most of the bay (including all of the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge) typically freeze by late November. The Lake Champlain Zone hunting season usually has a short segment in early October, followed by a split of one to two weeks, with the second segment reopening in late October, and continuing through mid-December. The purpose of this season structure is to provide opportunity for late season hunting for diving ducks (e.g., common goldeneyes) on Lake Champlain. By contrast, the Vermont Interior Zone usually opens in early October and runs straight until the first week in December. Missisquoi Delta hunters lose ice-free hunting days during the October split which they cannot recover in December because of frozen marshes and lack of ducks. The Missisquoi Delta has more in common with the Vermont Interior Zone than it does with the Lake Champlain Zone.

The proposed regulation would result in Missisquoi Delta waterfowl hunters having more opportunity to hunt during October when the marshes are open and ducks available. The Mud Creek Controlled Hunting Area is similar to the Missisquoi Delta and can be easily included in the new boundary change.

PROPOSED TIMING AND OUTREACH: The first Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board vote will take place on February 16, 2011, with a second vote in March and final vote in April. The issue of changing the waterfowl zone boundaries has been discussed at public waterfowl meetings held annually in August for the past five years. Over this period, there has been growing support for this change expressed by both Missisquoi Delta and late season hunters alike. A public meeting to give hunters one more opportunity to discuss and share views will be scheduled at the earliest date allowed by the rule making process, probably early April. The USFWS will be notified by the Department of the proposed regulation change by May 1.
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby Wyatt1 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:46 pm

It makes perfect sense. Hopefully all the powers that be are also in agreement. Now there will be one less thing for people to bitch about at the state waterfowl meeting in August.
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby pete/pmr » Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:46 am

In a way I like the idea,for the northern hunters,but in another way how will that effect the hunting down south of them,will they push more birds south sooner? I am just wondering,I hope they do push them south quicker,means better hunting for us,but I am just wondering if it will cause alot of slow days hunting up there after they start hammering these birds up there,and will the birds end up leaving and loosing out on the feeding needed before the winter migration,because they will have to leave known food sources to find new ones further south?Which benefits us because we will start to see more birds in our beaver ponds and marshes,but isn't it counter productive to the idea of more hunting days before the freeze up,the birds will be pushed out anyway! Just sooner!
2013 Season Totals

Canada Geese 105
Mallards 43
Woodies 31
Teal 16
widgeon 8
Blacks 11
Goldeneyes 25 "Take-em"
Buffleheads 4
Bluebills 1
snows 27
Band Count 5
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby HJF » Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:47 pm

Pete, the refuge up there is huge and most of it is off limits to hunting. They may suffer a "burnout" after the first few days, but in many cases the birds have found safe non-hunting areas to rest and feed in, and are not going south at the first sign of gunfire. We see most of their birds after they freeze out.

I would like to hear what the guys who hunt up there think, on another site some guys would like to see just the refuge area in the interior zone, as they hunt divers later in December but inside the new zone.

Here is a map of the new zone

Image
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby VtechSkybuster » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:01 am

We have a Stationary on the Northern side of Goose bay. I like the idea of giving us more time to hunt, but the split season here is nice because it forces us to go to the interior zone and hunt ponds and swamps. I also think its good to give the birds a rest out there. We hunt every day of the first opener and most of the guys around us do too an i think if guys could hunt throught that next week those birds might really get pounded. They get shy after the first few days of the first opener.
I also dont like that we wouldnt be able to hunt north of the Alburgh bridge when the interior closes. We hunt divers out there along with up near rock river in highgate and this would shut us down early. I hunted the last day of the interior at lake Carmi this past year and would have loved to have been able to hunt the next day because we did well and there were still plenty of birds there. I would hate to have that same thing happen in the Missiquoi.
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby pete/pmr » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:33 pm

HJF wrote:Pete, the refuge up there is huge and most of it is off limits to hunting. They may suffer a "burnout" after the first few days, but in many cases the birds have found safe non-hunting areas to rest and feed in, and are not going south at the first sign of gunfire. We see most of their birds after they freeze out.

I would like to hear what the guys who hunt up there think, on another site some guys would like to see just the refuge area in the interior zone, as they hunt divers later in December but inside the new zone.

Here is a map of the new zone

Image


I do hunt up there with my brother-in-law,and we hunt alot of the river between Highgate and Sheldon,on rte 70,I am not sure the roads up there,but we also hunt some beaver ponds and once we hunted on lake Carmi,but it was pretty busy there and we left early,but I only hunt up there for early season,duck and geese,we hunt geese in Grand Isle/alburg area,but anyway I only hunt up there for the very begining,because after that it is pretty well beat up!
2013 Season Totals

Canada Geese 105
Mallards 43
Woodies 31
Teal 16
widgeon 8
Blacks 11
Goldeneyes 25 "Take-em"
Buffleheads 4
Bluebills 1
snows 27
Band Count 5
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby Champney » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:31 pm

i think its the dumbest idea. i dont care cause i dont hunt up there but once the lake champlain zone closes every hunter in the state is going to go up there. it will be shot out in the 1st week and wont be good for the rest of the season.
its going to be only good for us southern hunters cause its going to push all the birds down really quick like last year. there has been more mallards on dead creek then missiqoui for 2 seasons now.
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby Wyatt1 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:47 pm

Most areas get shot up during the first few days of the season anyways. More than likely, the first part of the split is not going to be that productive of a period. That is the reason that the split was scheduled when it was. The idea was to let the areas rest for 7-10 days to let the birds build back up. The only catch to that is that the birds are not going to build back up in these areas unless weather patterns north of us push new birds into the area. We all know how unpredictable that can be. Some years after the split there are plenty of new birds, some years much less. Water conditions and food availability will also dictate how much the ducks will be using Missisquoi. As previously stated in this thread, there is SO much of that refuge that is off-limits to hunters that the ducks can utilize the area without being shot at every day. With a limited amount of days between the opener and freeze-up, why not make this area open for as many of those days as possible. I can certainly understand that the folks that hunt divers north of the proposed boundary would be disappointed. I guess that you cannot please everybody all the time, but there is certainly plenty of open lake to hunt south of the Alburg bridge.
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby Champney » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:29 pm

forgot the season will end earlier. my best hunts were the last 2 weeks of the season up north for mallards, blacks and divers in my canoe.
this states duck and goose hunting is getting worse every year anyways. too many hunters and not enough birds comming threw the lake. i hope it works out good for the northern hunters anyways. i'll be headed to marine boot camp in a week.
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby goldeneye13 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:48 pm

Been hunting the Northern part of the lake for the last 15 years. With the new limits looks like the diver season's going to close pretty early. Then the hunting pressure south of the bridge will just push those birds south pretty quickly. I guess that for the puddlers it's going to bee the same effect. If we are lucky we may be able to get better hunting on the canadian side for the late season. In my opinion that change is a bad idea. If it's accepted I may just take the canadian licence and hunt just accros the border. For you guys that hunt down south you should see birds arriving pretty early.


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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby pete/pmr » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:22 am

There are alot of hidden draw-backs/advantages, too this proposed plan,the more me discuss this the more it comes too light what effect these changes will have,but the over all question is,...Good change......Bad change? I am thinking it is not such a good idea,unless they open up some new waters within the refuge it might help to push these changes! So far all the feed back or the majority of the feed back on here is not really in favor of these changes! The hunting up north is already a hit or miss deal,and it is just crazy to mess with it now!
2013 Season Totals

Canada Geese 105
Mallards 43
Woodies 31
Teal 16
widgeon 8
Blacks 11
Goldeneyes 25 "Take-em"
Buffleheads 4
Bluebills 1
snows 27
Band Count 5
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby Vtwaterfowler » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:51 pm

So I have heard about this before but am not sure where I sure where I stand on it yet. There are both plusses and drawbacks to both. As for one thing, I like to hunt divers in Missisquoi bay. Does this mean that the season in the bay will end earlier?? As for an example, the season could possibly be closed before the bay is iced over??
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby Vtwaterfowler » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:54 pm

Pete/ PMR,
as of 2011 there is a new refuge manager, whether they are going to make changes to where hunting is allowed I do no know! The more and more I think about it, I like things just the way they are!
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby Champney » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:19 pm

yeah if it passes it will close before it frezzes. it will close first days of december. all the divers and mallards will sit up there like a giant refuge untill the lake frezzes.
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby pete/pmr » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:58 am

You see what I mean about the changes,they try to make it a sweet deal or enticing to the first glance then when you start really looking at it,next thing you know it is a change that is in reality a trade off! You are gambling with your lake hunt now,or other areas you hunted in the late season,and remember these changes are only allowed every so many years so if these changes pass,and it turns out to be a bust,and your seasons are jacked,you have to wait until it comes around again to be able to change it back! Granted it could turn out great,but even with the way it is now you have good years and bad years,but atleast you are able to get some good shooting in before it is froze over,if it is like Champney says you will loose 2-3 weeks of hunting open water before the freeze! I do not know if the trade is worth it,will the birds be there to hunt in the early season,and are those first few weeks really worth passing up weeks in the late season?
2013 Season Totals

Canada Geese 105
Mallards 43
Woodies 31
Teal 16
widgeon 8
Blacks 11
Goldeneyes 25 "Take-em"
Buffleheads 4
Bluebills 1
snows 27
Band Count 5
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby wingset » Sun May 01, 2011 6:13 am

This proposal sounds pretty contradictory to me...

"EXPLANATION:*The Missisquoi Delta is one of the most heavily hunted waterfowl areas in the state."

The original reason for having a split hunting season was to reduce over hunting (burn-out) in heavily hunted areas. Tom Myers propsed this many years ago, and MNWR was the poster child for this.

Why is it not such a good idea anymore???
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby chambo32 » Sun May 01, 2011 7:45 pm

I am in favor of this change.

As for losing the ability to hunt divers in that area which usually closes around the 8th of December vs 18th. My experience on the water has shown that there is mostly blue bills in Mississiquoi Bay until Thanksgiving when at the same time the majority of the puddlers head south as the swamps freeze. Most of the Goldeneye I see are south of the Refuge and the majority of them show up around thanksgiving time. Leaving plenty of time and space to hunt them.

I feel the numbers of birds on the refuge are not related to hunting pressure but food, water level weather patterns. There is a lot of space that is off limits to hunting where the birds can avoid pressure.

The areas that most people hunt on the refuge have extremely high density of hunters during the first few days of each opener, but after that there is a lot less.

The one opener will have the same high density of hunters and then after that the numbers of hunter will level out and fluctuate based on the number of birds, weather, etc. That week and a half opportunity along with the option for people to hunt inland I feel will balance out. But the best thing is there is an extra 10 days to hunt the refuge.

Does anyone know if there is research/data to validate/refute hunting pressure causing birds to migrate in a situation like Mississquoi. Personally I feel that there are too many other variables in migration pattern, food and weather to say with certainty the number of birds is related to hunting pressure from the open areas on the refuge.
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby wingset » Mon May 02, 2011 5:58 am

My experience hunting MNWR shows that conditions other than hunting pressure cause the birds to leave the refuge. That being said, hunting pressure has everything to do with the birds vacating the public hunting areas. It's not uncommon to hunt all day rarely seeing a single duck cruise the marsh; only to see countless thousands flip-flopping between Cranberry and Patrick Marsh.

Missisquoi hunters bide their time until freeze up, in order to have a chance at these ducks during the couple of days of freeze up.

More times than not, these "golden days" are going to occur after the season closes under the new proposal.
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby HJF » Thu May 05, 2011 4:27 am

Was the meeting on Monday or Tuesday? Did anybody go?
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Re: VT Zone Boundary Changes

Postby pete/pmr » Mon May 16, 2011 11:47 am

Got this today and posted it in a new thread!

Waterfowl Hunters,



On Wednesday, May 18th, the VT Fish and Wildlife Board will make a second vote on the proposed rule to change the waterfowl zone boundaries between the Lake Champlain and Interior Zone. After this vote, the proposal goes to the Legislative Committee for Administrative Rules for their review. After that, the Board will vote on it a third time, but are reluctant to make major changes from the second vote because the proposed rule has already gone through LCAR.



If you want to comment on this rule, and haven’t already, you should do so today or tomorrow. Below is the link to the list of Board Members with their email and telephone numbers. I am guessing that they might prefer an email.



http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/about_board.cfm



You can also contact the entire board at once by using the address: fwboard@list.state.vt.us.



Some of you have emailed your comments to me. I have kept track of them and will provide a summary tally at the meeting on Wednesday.



Attached is a copy of the last news release on the proposed rule, which was issued on March 30th.



Thanks,



Bill



William J. Crenshaw
Wildlife Biologist
Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife
111 West Street
Essex Junction, VT 05452
802-879-5699
2013 Season Totals

Canada Geese 105
Mallards 43
Woodies 31
Teal 16
widgeon 8
Blacks 11
Goldeneyes 25 "Take-em"
Buffleheads 4
Bluebills 1
snows 27
Band Count 5
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