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There is a little break between seasons in high school sports as we
look forward to Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

Recently I’ve been giving you the bios of the inductees into the
Vermont Sports Hall of Fame. I will continue to do so in the coming
weeks as I still have a few more to go.

I have reminded people that there is a lot more to local and
Vermont sports than just when your sons, daughters, grandsons and
granddaughters are playing. There is a wonderful history of teams and
players too and the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame, the VPA Hall of Fame
and individual school Halls of Fame recognize that fact.

Don’t get me wrong I think it’s natural to be more excited
when members of your family are playing. I just think that there are a
lot of fans who are interested and should be interested in the history
of the sports as well and I would hope that fans still at least pay
some attention well after family members have graduated.

I recently was reminded of how much the local media both print
and broadcast have meant to all the athletes too. I have always
appreciated the advertisers who will support the local broadcasts. You
don’t know how important you are not only bringing a broadcast to the
fans now, but the memories they provide for the athletes.

Here is just one example:

I broadcast the 1989 Division 2 boys basketball state championship
basketball game at the Barre Auditorium between Mill River and
Windsor. Mill River won the championship as people know and recently I
watched the DVD for the first time which had the WSYB play by play
dubbed to the video. I borrowed the DVD from Craig Hahn who was a key
member of that team and is currently a salesman at WSYB. I mentioned
on facebook that I watched it for the first time in 25 years and you
wouldn’t believe the responses I got. Comments from members of that
team who are scattered all over the country. All of them knowing that
it was the time of their lives. The game would’ve still been played
and Mill River would’ve still won without the radio coverage, but if
it were not for local advertisers supporting the broadcast, that part
of the memory would not exist. Think about that the next time a member
of the WSYB or Northeast Sports Network sales staff asks for your
advertising support. The value goes way beyond what you may think!

Dave Kinsman who at the time was the boys basketball coach at
MSJ and is now an assistant with the Castleton womens basketball team
did the color on the WSYB broadcast and he was great!

The Harvard-Yale football game was played this past Saturday
and it always brings back so many memories for me. I went to the game
just about every year as a kid, but I have only been to a couple of
the games over the last 30 years or so and I didn’t get to see this
game on TV either.

The game this year was played on November 22nd and those of
us old enough always remember where they were when they heard the news
of the JFK assassination on November 22nd, 1963. Our family was
heading to New Haven, Conn. on that Friday to see the game which was
to be played the next day. We always stayed over night when the game
was played in New Haven and we were on the trip when we stopped for
lunch and heard the wait staff talking about what had happened and got
back in the car and heard the awful news in detail on the radio.They
postponed the game until the following weekend and we went to New
Haven again.

Another memory for me was the 1980 Harvard-Yale game which
was played at Harvard. Yale won the game and one of the starting
defensive backs for Yale was Rutland native and MSJ grad Mike
Muscatello who was a senior. Muscatello was a key member of that great
1976 MSJ team that I think I’ve mentioned once or twice. Mike also
caught a touchdown pass in Vermont’s victory in the 1977 Shrine Game.

I also saw Mike play earlier in 1980 when Yale played at
Dartmouth. That same night was the MSJ-Rutland game and Muscatello
attended the game. I remember talking to him at the post game
reception at the K of C later that night.

By the way the Shrine Game in 2015 as you know will be
played at Castleton’s Spartan Stadium and the kick-off will be at 5:30 PM. The parade will be at 3PM.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

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Don Chioffi

Here we are right in the middle of our Vermont Rifle Season for deer and what do you think is the hot topic of discussion for the Vermont fish and Wildlife Board? Well, rifle hunters, if you haven't as yet had enough of the absolute selfish attitude of our kindred "brothers of the bow", hold on to your socks. A couple of obviously addicted archery enthusiasts, the Schmidts, have started a petition to extend (yet again) the Vermont Archery season to include September and December. Yes, you heard me right. Not content to have the longest running season in the entire state for big game, they want more---and more----and more, and apparently there is no end to their greed and arrogance in this regard. I don't know about all of you, but I have about had it with the Archers.

The petitioner, Schmidt, has sent a slobbering letter to the Chair of the F&W Board, outlining his desires to see the season extended because, he says, we are "out of touch with other states in our length of bow seasons". I do not even know where to start since there is so much outright misleading information in his proposal, not to mention garbage statistical reference.

First of all, let's look at the reality. Our Bow season runs from October 4 through the 26th which is 23 days. That is the longest season during which to enjoy the sport of Deer hunting, and for Archery Deer hunters it is an exclusive season with no competition from any other types of Deer hunters. Now comes the Rifle Season of 16 days, but that is not an exclusive season to rifle hunters since the Archers may also hunt Deer in this season as well---now they are up to 39 days in which they are allowed to pursue deer with their bows. After a brief week of respite we have our Muzzleloader Season from December 6th through the 14th---but wait a minute---that is not an exclusive season either. The archery enthusiasts lobbied heavily to be included in this one too, adding another 9 days and making their "opportunity quotient" now up to 48 days in which they are allowed to pursue and harvest deer, and with multiple tags allowed, an archery hunter can put three deer in the freezer and have, by far, the longest running continuous season for big game in the entire state. I repeat--Muzzleloader hunters do not have a season exclusive to them, nor do Rifle hunters have one which is totally their own, either. Yet archers have the longest season of all, 48 days, 23 days of which are----EXCLUSIVELY to themselves. This does not even include the Bear Season, during which the Archery hunters are also allowed to hunt.

So my question is very simple. In terms of the basic fairness of access to hunting opportunities in one's chosen sport, why is it that we are allowing Archery enthusiasts to feel that they should be allowed to discriminate against all the rest of the sportspeople? There certainly is no good answer, nor is there a fair answer to this question? These folks feel that they are the elitists of the sporting world and that we all should bow to them (try that pun on for size). Well, I 'm now going to give you the factual reasons why we should stop this one right in its tracks----phhhhhtuk!!

Schmidt signs his letter Ph. D, so I guess that means we all should just fall right along in line with him, you know, peons and non-academics that we are. He states that his intention is not to increase the bag limits for deer, but only the length of the seasons. What he does not state is how many more deer---total---will be taken by any increase in the season length. Elitists like this always point to the wonderful quiet nature of this sport, the sustainability factor, the localvore factor, and a whole lot of other sweet sounding, environmentally friendly bits of phooey, while never dealing with the finite number of deer that we have in this state and the tremendous pressure that we are already putting them under with our seasons as they are presently structured.

I believe that is the Archery season is extended any further that Muzzleloader hunters might as well pack it in and put away their boomsticks, because the outer limits of the permits will surely be reached in archery seasons alone. Remember that we are not talking about the primitive longbows anymore. With compounds and crossbows that shoot with high enough feet per second speeds to prevent any deer from "jumping the string", the success ratios are much higher than in the past, and pretty sure for kills within a 40 yard radius. Gradually bow kills will far exceed any need for doe permitting, and I am absolutely sure that in some of the Archers' minds, that is perfectly OK. I am also sure that there are an increasing number of "quiet hunter types" that would be perfectly happy if the rifle seasons and muzzleloader seasons were abolished entirely since all control needed may be achieved by pervasive Archery seasons.

Just what importance should some random petitioner have with the F&W Board anyway? Since when do we govern a scarce resource and a sporting opportunity by petition? This is ridiculous on its face. Let's just start a petition for Bow Hunting 24-7-365 and be done with it once and for all.

The state, in its attempt to get a statewide view that would be statistically accurate, did a $30,000 phone survey last year that they touted as the best and most accurate indicator of what the hunting public of this state felt about many issues. On that survey, over 47% of all deer hunters OPPOSED any extended seasons for Archery. 64% OPPOSED using crossbows in any season other than Archery season. Interestingly, only 30% of all deer hunters hunted in Archery Season, but 63% of all hunters favor allowing older hunters to use crossbows without special permitting. Since 1217 sportspeople completed the survey, that means that close to 600 OPPOSE any extension of Archery Seasons. Of course we do not know what percentage of the total license holders in the state (90,000) feel that way, but if the Department is correct and the survey cross section data is representative, then we should assume that 47% of those 90,000 would respond similarly. I would bet that is significantly higher than any names on any petition.

I will not even dignify their claims of "such a small number of Archery days in comparison to other states". What kind of academic boneheads would compare states that have one DMU, for instance, that is as large as our entire State, or make such ridiculous comparisons without stating the deer populations of those states, or their climates, or their habitat? And what kind of ethical hunter wants to put our deer herd under that pressure for the whole month of December? After Muzzleloader Season, I think deer fat reserves and their predator response has had just about enough pressure, don't you?

In summary, I do not believe it is either fair or responsible to allow any one segment of our hunting population in this state to either have or feel that they should have such control of our resource or the opportunities to access it that they would feel our Board should give their petition any more weight than what it really is-----a simple example of the selfish minority of the bow hunting crowd whose attitude of "me,me,me, and more for me, me, me and to hell with the rest of the sportspeople of the state.

I contacted the author of the Rutland Herald article and offered all of the above facts which were relevant to the issue in order to present a balanced view to the readership. Since they have obviously refused to print the whole story, other than this article one has only the one-sided view of a few enthusiasts who advocate only for themselves without any concern for the adverse impacts of their wishes.

Based on the numbers of deer that we are seeing in Rifle Season, I truly believe that our numbers will be down and that the herd is nowhere near as large as we think it is. I also believe that the Doe Permit numbers in K are way too high for this year's population. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and--- until next week, good sports.

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