Hunters Anglers Trappers Association of Vermont
Hunters, Anglers and Trappers Association of Vermont
P.O. Box 655, Colchester, Vt 05446
HAT Frequently Asked Questions
Vermont Sportsmenís Professional Voice
1) Why do VT Sportsmen need HAT and what is the difference between your organization and
other groups like the Federation?
In the last decade, it has become apparent that the sporting community truly needs a paid, professional lobbying group to protect its interests against well-organized opposition groups; and to raise public awareness regarding its importance to the Vermont economy and Vermont way of life.
In response to the Champion issue, sporting interests banded together with outdoor guides, agricultural groups, maple sugar makers, and forest products groups to form the Vt. Traditions Coalition. This group hired a full-time lobbyist to lead the Champion fight thanks in part to donations from many forward-thinking sportsmen and sporting groups. This coalition will continue to exercise its collective power. However, sporting interests need an independent paid professional voice. HAT is that group.
The Vt. Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs makes outstanding contributions to public education, hunter safety, youth hunting and fishing organizations, and acts, through volunteer efforts, as a liaison to the Department of Fish & Wildlife. HAT will fill the niche for paid, professional year-round advocacy, policy development, and public outreach.
Through e-mail networks, periodic newsletters and meetings, media publicity, speaking appearances before sporting clubs & sporting groups, participation in forums and strategy sessions with our membership and associated groups, and through encouraging members and groups to actively share their concerns and suggestions with HAT's staff, officers, and directors.
3) Who are the members of HAT?
We started with a nucleus of sporting community leaders, activists, and volunteers to set up the infrastructure of the organization such as Articles of Incorporation, By Laws, Mission Statement, administrative structure, etc. We are now implementing our general membership campaign. Membership enrollment has been very satisfying thus far. For those members who wish to take leadership or activist roles, you have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor and really help make a difference.
First, build a strong organizational infrastructure that provides solid fund raising and membership recruitment mechanisms, efficient and fair administrative procedures, and an effective communications network to our membership and to the public. Second, support the Vt. Traditions Coalition lobbying effort through financial support and placing active delegates from HAT on the Coalition's board to assist the VTC lobbying, media, and public outreach efforts as needed. Third, we will strive to build a strong presence with the Douglas administration, its Agency of Natural Resources, and its Fish and Wildlife Department. The change in administrations provides an outstanding opportunity for the sporting community to create an improved relationship with the Executive Branch, its Agency of Natural Resources, and its Fish & Wildlife Department. We have long desired for open, honest and member participated negotiations with all branches of state and local government.
5) Isn't the Champion Issue dead? What other issues need attention?
The Champion issue will be with us until public access, abundant game populations, traditional uses, the future of the camp culture, and the state's authority to manage public land is assured.
HAT will work to improve the Champion situation during this legislative session. Champion is the first step in a statewide campaign by exclusionary environmental interests to bring exclusionary land management and restrictive ecological preserves to every corner of the state. We will fight for traditional uses of Vermont's open spaces and waters. Elimination or severe restrictions on public access are already proposed for places such as the Willoughby State Forest, Martin Rd. Fishing Access in the Champlain Islands, the Green Mt. National Forest, and in the vast wooded areas surrounding many of Vermont's reservoirs. In addition, the Fish & Wildlife Dept. has virtually stopped harvesting trees on the 133,000 acres that comprise Vermont's Wildlife Management Areas; thereby turning these areas into "environmental preserves by neglect." It is scientifically established that game species need managed forests to thrive. In addition, there are issues between new homeowners and Fish & Game Club shooting ranges in their vicinity, and the need to work with private landowners to reduce the amount of posted land.
6) Is HAT affiliated with any other groups?
We are cooperating and will continue to cooperate with ALL groups that honestly promote our heritage issues. We expect to receive active support from sporting groups throughout the state as well as our kindred spirits from the farm, forest product, snowmobile, and outdoor guide communities. Many of these groups have already begun participating in the HAT effort. NRA is one of several gun rights groups that lead the effort to protect our constitutional right to bear arms. However, the NRA's mission does not include the wide range of sporting issues beyond gun rights that we must protect in order to ensure the future of our sports. We will work with ALL groups as issues develop.
HAT is focused on the issues that affect hunting, angling and trapping in the state of Vermont. We have worked hard to develop a diverse Board of Directors that represents as many of these interests as possible from all corners of the state. We are establishing committees and focus groups to further encompass the many interests of our members. Our main focus now is to develop a strong membership, well-researched policy and to back that up with an excellent penetration effort into the state house and its members. The work we do now will affect the future of the outdoor sports in Vermont for ourselves and our children.
8) How do I get more information about HAT?
You can contact us by writing to HAT P.O. Box 655, Colchester, Vt 05446