Consider it the eHarmony for hunters in Vermont. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department just launched a new online program to link hunters and landowners. The two groups can register on the site, either where they own land or where they'd like to hunt. And the landowners get to pick hunters they'd like to let use their land.
"Then that begins the conversation between a hunter and a landowner about the hunters' interests and the landowners' interests, and how they can find common ground to have this kind of a program work for both," explained Scott Darling of Vt. Fish and Wildlife.
They say it's partially about controlling deer populations, but it's also about fostering human relationships. As more land in the state is posted, wildlife officials try to find a way to bridge the gap between hunters, who say there isn't enough land to use, and the landowners, who say they don't want the liability of the hunters. Officials say this website is the way of doing that.
"Both parties have a lot to gain here-- hunters and landowners," Darling said. "Hunters can find new lands available for hunting and landowners who are experiencing problems with locally overabundant deer can connect with hunters to actually help solve that problem on their parcel of land."
Hunters like Bob Lutz, who registered for the site a few days ago, say it's a bold step for the state.
"I think it will work," Lutz said. "I think it will take time. I think landowners need to know there are responsible hunters out there that can really help and they can really build friendships with hunters."
But Darling sees two big hurdles. One is getting more landowners involved-- currently there are only 24 registered statewide. The other-- what exactly to call it.
"We haven't come up with a good name yet, but it is close to some kinda eHunty or something like that," Darling said.
Connecting hunters and landowners-- and still working on the name.
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