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Welcome to 2021-22 Vermont Fishing

Last year was one of profound change.

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred on much of that change, including in hunting, fishing and trapping. We adjusted how we check in some big game harvests, how we take hunter education classes and how we participate in everything from hunting regulations to legislation. It also prompted significant increases in the number of Vermonters participating in hunting, and especially fishing.

Change is difficult, and certainly many of the changes we continue to wrestle with were challenging. But they also brought new opportunities for growth and learning.

It also brought a painful loss for those of us in Vermont’s interconnected community of hunters, anglers, and lovers of wildlife and wild land. Steve Wright, one of our state’s conservation legends, died in January.

Steve and I were not terribly close, but we were friends. And we had ties that connected us beyond our jobs as Commissioner of this wonderful department. Both of us had connections to Sterling College – he as a long-time teacher and president, I as a student. Steve was from Georgia, and found his way to Vermont, while my father grew up in Alabama and came to Vermont for similar reasons.

But what always impressed me most about Steve was not his high-profile jobs, or even his immense skill as an angler and hunter. It was that his dedication to protecting the land and the living things on it did not diminish one bit with his retirement, or with health and other struggles. We did not always agree on some of the issues, but I truly benefitted from his polite, but very firm, commitment to his principles. Vermont did as well.

So here’s looking forward to a less tumultuous year, and one in which we both advocate for the landscape we believe in, and take the opportunity to enjoy it. It is what Steve would have done.

Louis Porter, Commissioner, Vermont Fish & Wildlife