Outdoor Notes

Hikes with the Green Mountain Club this weekend
The Burlington section of the Green Mountain Club has weekend outings scheduled for October. All events are free and open to the public. For more information visit greenmountainclub.org or contact hike leaders.
Hikes this weekend

Saturday: Sterling Pond, Stowe Pretty easy hike from Rt. 108 to Sterling Pond. Dogs welcome, but limit of 6 (please email or call). Meet at 9 a.m. at Richmond Park & Ride. Heavy rain cancels. Easy hike, slow pace, 2.8 miles, 900’ elevation gain. Free. Contact Pam Gillis, gillis1986@gmail.com.

Sunday: Mt. Mansfield Meet at Underhill State Park. Difficult hike, 6 miles, 2,500’ elevation gain. Free. Contact Adam Heckle, theheckle123@gmail.com or 233-8091.

UVM Master Gardener Program hosts winter gardening class
Just because summer is ending doesn’t mean that gardeners need to forgo thinking about gardening until the next growing season.

On Oct. 21, the University of Vermont Extension Master Gardener program will sponsor Gardening in the Off Season, a day-long event at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier. The program runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is hosted by the Central Vermont Master Gardener Chapter.

The registration fee by Oct. 13 is $75 and includes lunch, refreshments and materials; cost is $85 after that date. Extension Master Gardeners from any state may attend for a discounted rate of $50 or $60 for late registration. To register visit go.uvm.edu/uvmemg-offseason-gardening.

Vermont’s ruffed grouse and woodcock seasons are open
The hunting seasons for ruffed grouse and woodcock are open now through Dec. 31, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

State fish and wildlife officials say the key to hunting success is to find suitable habitat for these upland game birds. Woodcock are often found in alders along brooks and near beaver ponds as well as in new-growth small timber where old fields are reverting to forest.  Ruffed grouse also frequent the same habitat, and they are particularly fond of the apples they find under wild apple trees.

Regulations require woodcock hunters to make sure their shotgun is capable of holding no more than three shells, and they must register for the federal Harvest Information Program on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website vtfishandwildlife.com or by calling toll-free 1-877-306-7091.

For more information on hunting in Vermont, be sure to get a copy of the 2017 Hunting & Trapping Guide available from license agents statewide and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.  Hunting licenses are available from the website and from agents throughout the state.

Several state wildlife management areas (WMAs) in the Northeast Kingdom and other sections of the state offer excellent public hunting opportunities.  Descriptions and maps of the WMAs are provided on Fish & Wildlife’s website. Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom offers large expanses of huntable land and plenty of excellent grouse and woodcock habitat.  Northeast Kingdom Chamber of Commerce information online is at nekchamber.com or call 748-3678.

Vermont’s archery deer season starts this Saturday
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says hunters are looking forward to Vermont’s archery deer hunting season, Saturday through Nov. 3 and again Dec. 2-10.

A hunter may take up to two deer in Vermont’s two-part archery season with the purchase of two archery licenses.  No more than one of the deer taken during archery season may be a legal buck. Antlerless deer hunting is allowed statewide this year during archery season.

In Vermont, a hunter may take up to three deer in a calendar year in any combination of seasons.  Of these, only two may be legal bucks, and only one buck may be taken in each season.  A “legal buck” is a deer with at least one antler having two or more points one inch or longer.  All three deer in the annual bag limit may be antlerless deer.

Hunting licenses may be purchased online and all season regulations are available at vtfishandwildlife.com.

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