A Special Message from the Commissioner
Well-founded concerns about where our food comes from, and what was put on the land to raise it, have launched Vermont to the forefront of the local farm movement. These issues aren’t new. Vermonters have believed for generations that the best food for us, and for our surroundings, comes from our own farms and fields.
As with local farming, hunting near home provides many of the same personal and landscape benefits. It provides highly nutritious food and ensures a strong landscape that sustains us. Hunting also fosters accountability for how food is produced, and a clear, unvarnished insight into how the animals that become our meat live and die.
And yet, even though pursuing game is deeply engrained in our culture, hunting and angling have not enjoyed the same recent surge in interest and support as local farming. Perhaps that’s because pursuing and harvesting game requires a bigger commitment than shopping at a farmer’s market. It’s easy to pick up a CSA share. Learning to hoist a rifle and track game takes hours of training and mentoring. And a growing proportion of Vermont’s citizens are new to a rural life, rather than born to it.
To ensure our tradition of getting food from a healthy wild landscape continues, we can learn from our farming neighbors by welcoming our new localvores into hunting. By bringing them along, we can broaden our community and create new connections between people and the land.
Louis Porter, Commissioner