Almost half of today's students graduating with a wildlife degree have never hunted and have a minimal understanding of the impact that hunters provide to wildlife management and other conservation programs. In 2005 the Wildlife Management Institute and Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation began the Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow program as a way to introduce students to the culture and concepts of hunting. For the last two years the Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow program has held their program at Camp Kehoe on Lake Bomoseen in Castleton, Vermont.
The Town of Lake Elmore calls itself 'The Beauty Spot of Vermont." And Elmore State Park is a perfect place to enjoy the scenery and activities in the area. The park had its beginning in 1936 when the town of Elmore and local citizens made a gift of 30 acres on Lake Elmore to the state of Vermont. With modest means, a picnic and beach area were created. Today, with more than 700 acres, Elmore State Park has become a very enjoyable recreation facility. Elmore State Park is staffed by the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), in an educational partnership with the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
Young hunters and their adult mentors have a variety of special seasons to choose from, but the oldest youth hunt just might be the best. Youth waterfowl weekend in late September may not be as popular as the special seasons for deer and turkey, but it offers youngsters an unparalleled opportunity to experience some of Vermont's finest public marshes at a time of year when duck numbers are high. It's a great chance to introduce a young person to a life-long sport that fosters a deep appreciation for wetlands and wildlife.
Vermont is home to some of the best skiing in Vermont and with that, the state has become home to a growing population of ski bums. People that just can't spend enough time on the slopes during the winter season. Believe it or not this same phenomenon is happening on Vermont's trout streams. We caught up with a couple of young trout bums during the last days of the season on the Middlebury River. These two fishing guides may fish for a living but they also live to fish.
Canoes are perfect for fishing Vermont's countless small ponds. Native Americans developed these simple, versatile vessels over the course of thousands of years and they are well suited to exploring everything from tiny creeks to the shores of Lake Champlain. Today's canoes are lightweight, low maintenance and relatively inexpensive, and they open up a world of hidden waters that are either off-limits or inaccessible to larger boats. We visit Emerald Lake State Park as well as another local pond for some exciting bass fishing.
As winter slowly loosens its icy grip on Lake Champlain, activity on and around the lake is almost nonexistent. But under its slushy surface, it is a different story. As spring approaches, multitudes of fish are gearing up for the spawning season, and many of the lake's bays and marshy setbacks teem with life. For the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, it's the perfect opportunity to begin gathering data for its northern pike management project.
We visit a hidden gem within the great Vermont State Park system, Alburg Dunes State Park. This 625-acre property became a state park in 1996. It is named for the sand dunes near the center and western end of the south-facing natural sand beach. This beach is amongst the longest beaches on Lake Champlain.
One of the best places to fish for brook trout are beaver ponds. A good beaver pond can hold Vermont's favorite fish in numbers and sizes rarely seen in streams, and a hidden beaver pond teeming with plump, colorful brookies is a treasured discovery. One of the best places to look for a productive beaver pond is Vermont's rugged Northeast Kingdom, especially in the fall, when the orange bellies and red fins of spawning brookies are a perfect compliment to the bright fall foliage. And thanks to the efforts of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Conservation Group, finding a good beaver pond is easier than ever.