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Wildlife Division

The Wildlife Division is responsible for conserving and managing of all wildlife, plants, and their habitat throughout Vermont for the people of the state.

bear cub

Division staff are engaged in a variety of activities including:

  • Monitoring populations of rare, threatened and endangered plant and animal species;
  • Monitoring populations of species hunted and trapped;
  • Preparing harvest recommendations for wildlife species with open regulated hunting or trapping seasons;
  • Participating in the protection of critical wildlife habitat through regulatory processes such as Act 250;
  • Land acquisition and management of more than 130,000 acres on the department’s 100 Wildlife Management Areas;
  • Monitoring wildlife diseases and the importation of wildlife into Vermont;
  • Technical assistance, planning and outreach to wildlife observers, landowners, hunters, school children, municipal officials, and natural resources professionals regarding wildlife in Vermont; and
  • Conducting research in support of management actions and decisions.

Division staff coordinate with a variety of partner organizations to accomplish these broad responsibilities.

The diversity of job duties is immense and accomplished with 28 permanent wildlife scientists and approximately 10 seasonal employees. Part of this staff includes four fish and wildlife specialists: Joel Flewelling, Toni Mikula, Tony Smith and Ryan Smith. They all serve key roles in assisting both the wildlife and fisheries division in all biological efforts. The division also administers several different permits ranging from scientific collection to takings for threatened and endangered species. Jon Kart oversees this effort.

All staff are located in five district offices throughout the state and the central Montpelier Office. Each district office host administrative staff to provide front-line customer service to the public, as well as to assist biologists in their work.

Staff Locator
Use this link to look up the phone or email address of department personnel, by Name, Town, or Phone Number.

Meet the Wildlife Staff
Use this link to learn more about our wildlife staff or click on the individual's name.

Director of Wildlife:John Austin
Project Coordinator: Christopher Saunders
Secretary: Melissa Currier

Wildlife Diversity Program
Wildlife Management Program
Lands and Habitat Program

Wildlife Diversity Program

The Wildlife Diversity Program includes the Natural Heritage Inventory. The program is responsible for monitoring, managing, and conserving nongame wildlife (animals that are not fished or hunted). Special focus is given to the protection of endangered and threatened species, including listing, permitting, and the drafting and implementing recovery plans.

The Natural Heritage Inventory documents the diversity of native plants, animals and natural communities in the state. The Natural Heritage Inventory maintains a robust spatial (GIS) database of species and natural community observations used in conservation and regulatory planning.

Program Manager: Rosalind (Roz) Renfrew 
Natural Heritage Information Manager: Everett Marshall
Assistant Natural Heritage Information Manager: Jodi Shippee
Natural Communities Ecologist: Bob Zaino
Botanist: Grace Glynn 
Zoologist: Mark Ferguson
Wildlife Biologist/Snake Project Leader: Luke Groff
Wildlife Biologist/Nongame Bird Project Leader: Jill Kilborn
Wildlife Biologist/Small Mammals: Alyssa Bennett
Fish & Wildlife Specialist: Toni Mikula

Wildlife Management Program

The Wildlife Management Program conducts research in support of management actions and decisions on Vermont’s game species.

This program also prepares harvest recommendations for hunting on four big-game species – wild turkey, black bear, white-tailed deer and moose; six small game species – ruffed grouse, gray squirrel, snowshoe hare, cottontail rabbit, American woodcock, and common snipe; and three species of geese and up to 25 species of ducks, along with trapping and hunting of 14 different furbearers.

Program Manager: Dave Sausville
Moose Project Leader: Nick Fortin
Black Bear Project Leader: Jaclyn Comeau  
Migratory Game Bird Project Leader: Andrew Bouton
Furbearer Project Leader: Brehan Furfey 
Wild Turkey Project Leader: Chris Bernier
Deer Project Leader: Nick Fortin
Wildlife Specialists: Tyler BrownRyan Smith,

Lands and Habitat Program

The Lands and Habitat Program is responsible for the protection of critical wildlife habitat through regulatory processes such as Act 250 and Act 248 (Public Service Board).

Wildlife Division Contacts for Regulatory Review

The program also oversees the conservation/acquisition of land in addition to the management of more than 135,000 acres on 100 Wildlife Management Areas.

Program staff also work with other state and federal land managers, such as the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to provide expertise for the management and conservation of wildlife and ecosystems on those public lands. Program staff also provide technical assistance to private landowners for the benefit of wildlife habitat management, enhancement and restoration through federal Farm Bill Programs, Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal program, and other avenues. Additionally, the program oversees conservation planning assistance to Vermont municipalities, regional planning commissions, and other organizations.

Program Manager: Vacant
Private Land Section Chief: Paul Hamelin
Public Land Section Chief: Tim Appleton
Land Acquisition Coordinator: Will Duane 
Conservation Planning Biologist: Jens Hilke
Wildlife Biologist / Wildlife Habitat Protection & State Land Management: Noel Dodge, John Gobeille
Wildlife Biologist / Wildlife Habitat Protection: Andy Wood
State Lands Ecologist: Danielle Owczarski
Wildlife Biologist / Dead Creek Refuge Manager: Amy Alfieri
Wildlife Habitat Biologist: Dave Adams, Travis Hart,  Andrea Shortsleeve
Wildlife Specialists: Josh Blouin, Tony Smith