Log Cabin Chronicles

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Bethany Dunbar reports for the Barton Chronicle, arguably the finest community newspaper in Vermont.]


Don't kill Vermont's Bull the Moose

Barton, Vermont

Canned hunts - hunting non-native species inside a fenced area for a fee - seems on the face of it to be unfair to the animals. Yet so much depends on the actual establishment and how it is run.

Doug Nelson clearly has developed a base of support for his operation in Irasburg, Vermont, over the last fourteen years. Many of his neighbors testified loudly and clearly on his behalf in Montpelier before the Fish and Wildlife Board last week.

One thing seems certain: The wording of the Fish and Wildlife Board's draft plan leaves way too much power in the hands of the commissioner to shut down a place if he just doesn't like it, or if he just doesn't like the idea.

Mr. Nelson's attorney suggested some alternate language that would allow for shutting the place down if there was a "clear and convincing evidence of a present danger" of disease affecting wildlife. That suggestion seems to be a good start.

We have no problem with allowing Mr. Nelson's operation to continue, as long as rules can be written to protect Vermont's wildlife. Canned hunts might not be for everyone, but Mr. Nelson seems to be running a quality operation with a minimum of problems. All elk over eighteen months old killed or that die inside the compound are tested for diseases.

This is more stringent protection than any provisions made for domestic beef in this country and should be adequate.

Meanwhile, one fellow who clearly needs some kind of grandfather clause is Bull the Moose.

Bull is a pet raised by David Lawrence inside the confines of the Nelson farm - not in the same pen where canned hunts take place. He is completely friendly and charming. Abandoned at birth, he needs to be left alone to enjoy jelly doughnuts and Budweiser with his caretaker.

It does not seem right or even necessary to kill off all the wild animals inside the 700-acre fence. Whatever the Fish and Wildlife officials do, their decision must include amnesty for Bull.


Copyright © 2006 Bethany Dunbar/Barton Chronicle/03.07