Proposal to Limit the Killing of Crows for "Sport"
What is Wanton Waste?
A prohibition against “wanton waste” of wildlife is one of the fundamental tenets of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, a model defined by hunters about a century ago. However, the NAMWC is only a guiding philosophy for management, and is not legally binding. Each state creates its own regulations regarding what actions violate the wanton waste rule.
“Wanton waste means, 'to intentionally waste something negligently or inappropriately.' This term is used in relation to hunting. Most states have laws to the effect that a person may not wantonly waste or destroy a usable part of a protected wild animal unless authorized. No person shall waste a wild bird or wild animal that has been wounded or killed while hunting. Any act that results in wanton or needless waste of the animal or otherwise intentionally allows it or an edible portion thereof to be wantonly or needlessly wasted or fails to dispose it in a reasonable and sanitary manner amounts to an offense that is punishable.”
UPDATE on the VWC proposal to the VT Fish & Wildlife Board requesting an end to the killing of crows for sport.
OCT 6, 2017 — Vermont Wildlife Coalition regretfully reports that on Sept. 20, the Fish and Wildlife Board voted UNANIMOUSLY to deny our crow petition. The Board based its decision on a two year old study of crows in which they admitted that they wanted to make sure they accommodated crow hunters. Their final analysis was that there was no threat to the crow population and that their mission is to manage wildlife and wildlife seasons and bag limits. In their own words, "To not do this would be irresponsible and harmful to the species and habitat around the state."
VWC's response is that the Board's decision is another example of its automatic support for the wishes of "special interests," and clearly shows an unwillingness to stop the wasteful killing of crows for recreation purposes. Such "wanton waste," killing without intent to utilize the animal, violates the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation which hunters helped to originate and which the Fish & Wildlife Department to this day publically references to justify policy.
The VWC will again bring this petition to the Fish and Wildlife Board in a year's time. Stay tuned!
WHAT CAN YOU DO:
1. Please write your legislators and let them know that you do not approve of Vermont's wildlife being used for "target practice," and want to stop Vermont wildlife policies that encourage wanton waste.
To find your legislator, click legislator.vermont.gov/people
2. Please sign up for VWC updates and alerts.
Petition As Submitted to Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board
To Kevin Lawrence, Chair
The Vermont Wildlife Coalition is requesting that the members of the Fish and Wildlife Board vote to end the public policy and regulations allowing the killing of crows for “sport.” Our request to you is based upon the following facts:
1. The crow is recognized as a species with complex social behaviors and high intelligence, and it brings diverse ecological values to the landscape.
2. While its population is stable and may be growing in areas, this is no rationale for a valuable native species to be treated as vermin.
3. Current public policy and regulations on the killing of crows as established by the Fish and Wildlife Board, violates several core principles of the North American Wildlife Conservation model, specifically:
a. Conflicts with Principle #1 - Wildlife is Held in Public Trust. Clearly, the board’s membership is narrow, biased and without regard for disparate public views and values, as per the spirit of the public trust doctrine.
b. Conflicts with Principle #3 – Democratic Rule of Law. The exclusion of diverse stakeholders in determining regulations and public policy violates the spirit and letter of the democratic rule of law.
c. Conflicts with Principle #5 – Non-Frivolous Use. The rationale the Department and the Board have embraced in part, is the following, “The proposed season will provide additional hunting opportunity while other species’ seasons are closed.“ (source: DFW’s Mark Scott commentary on crow seasons). The effect of this ultimately low standard is that crows are killed for the sake of providing live targets for shooting practice. The Board’s adoption of this wanton waste standard and the Department’s support for allowing the wanton waste of wildlife, is simply a disconnect from ethical standards of modern wildlife management.
4. Where there may be isolated impacts on agricultural areas by crows, specific resources may be brought into play to address those specific instances. A broad state-wide policy allowing the killing of crows has little impact on specific sites where crows may be impacting agriculture. Specific management solutions for specific sites are appropriate public policies.
Public policy that allows for the unlimited killing of a valuable native species has important public consequences. It is our belief that public policy that sanctions unsportsmanlike behavior towards one species of native wildlife will translate into similar behavior towards other species of wildlife. Governance bodies have a duty to establish policies that recognize the importance and value of all wildlife species. Allowing the sport killing of a species because their population numbers are secure, is a very low standard for governance bodies that should be striving for the highest standards. This harkens back to a time in our history where cultural values towards wildlife were far different than they are in 21st century Vermont-think the shooting of bison from trains as target practice.
Finally, it is likely that the leadership of the Department has informed members of the Board that the Association of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies (Vermont is a member), a national organization representing the contemporary fish and wildlife industry, has called for wildlife agencies to transform in order to engage more diverse audiences in wildlife conservation efforts. Recognizing the approaching crises with regard to species preservation and wildlife conservation funding, the Association advocates for building bridges with the public. Far from building bridges, Vermont’s crow sport killing policy, we believe, has no public value, and in fact, would meet strong disapproval from an informed public.
The Vermont Wildlife Coalition respectfully asks the Board to end the killing of crows for sport.