Home Vermont Judge rules coyote hunting with dogs in public interest 

Judge rules coyote hunting with dogs in public interest 

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by Chris Bradley 

On June 1, 2022, Governor Scott signed Act 165, which codified S.281 into law, with S.281 being an act relating to hunting coyotes with dogs.

When originally presented, S.281 was an outright ban on using dogs to hunt coyotes. After going through the legislative process however, that ban was turned into a bill that would atempt to regulate that activity through rules, which then passed the Senate Natural Resources Commitee unanimously.

Since it was enacted, the Fish & Wildlife Board, the Fish & Wildlife department, a dedicated working group and interested citizens all worked very hard to figure out how to implement Act 165, when it was clear that the intent was NOT to ban the activity but instead to create rules that would regulate and control that activity.

After all was said and done, and after receiving advice from the Fish & Wildlife Department, the F&W Board did their job and promulgated rules on coyote hounding with dogs.

Upon review of the Legislative Committee on Rules (LCAR) however, LCAR stated several concerns whereby they objected to several aspects of the Rules which they felt did not meet legislative intent.

Subsequent to Act 165 becoming law, several groups banded together to sue the F&W Department/Board over their belief that legislative intent was not adhered to, and in addition to suing over the Act itself, they additonally sought a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to have the state stop coyote hunting with dogs until the main case was decided.

On February 21, the Washington County Superior Court judge rendered his decision on the TRO, with that decision being a complete denial. His ruling can be found here.

In writing the decision it appears that the judge felt, given the evidence before him, that:

• The F&W Department did nothing unlawful,

• Based on the information the court had, the Board will likely be able to demonstrate that the definition of “control” did meet legislative  intent,

• LCAR’s opinion that the temporary moratorium on coyote hounding is still in effect is not consistent with Act 165’s language or the VT Administrative Procedures Act, and

• Coyote hunting is in fact consistent with legislative intent and public interest.

This court decision should and must have a significant impact on further discussions about S.258.

The author is president and executive director of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

The post Judge rules coyote hunting with dogs in public interest  first appeared on Vermont Daily Chronicle.

The post Judge rules coyote hunting with dogs in public interest  appeared first on Vermont Daily Chronicle.

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