Vermont Seeking New Deer Project Leader

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Patrick Berry, newly appointed Commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, has made hiring of the Deer Project Leader one of his top priorities. This position is responsible for leading the Department's efforts to manage Vermont's deer herd and maximize quality hunting opportunities for the state's 79,000 licensed hunters. Recognizing the importance of deer hunting to Vermont's cultural heritage, and the high visibility of the State's Deer Project, the Department is launching a national search to fill the position.

"The work of the Deer Project Leader is integral to our Department's ability to successfully manage white-tailed deer," said Berry. "This biologist will analyze deer habitat and population data and work collaboratively with other staff to develop annual hunting season recommendations. It's one of my top priorities to fill this position as soon as possible."

After three years as the Deer Project Leader, wildlife biologist Dr. Shawn Haskell recently left the post for a promotional opportunity in his home state of Maine. Dr. Haskell will assist in the search to fill his former position.

Governor Shumlin was quick to weigh in on his support of deer hunting in Vermont. "I've been a life-long deer hunter," said Governor Shumlin, "and I'm concerned about the state's deer herd. In Vermont, deer are the most popular game species, and I'm excited to see Commissioner Berry and the Department put their energies into a national search to find the best qualified biologist they can."

The position will be primarily (75%) funded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration grant program established by federal law to state wildlife agencies.

"Our Department's ability to leverage federal funds is largely dependent upon the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, and that allows us to focus on deer management as a key element of our work," said Berry, who will be part of the hiring panel. "The successful management of deer populations has other implications in Vermont, including the health of Vermont forests, and opportunities for wildlife viewing. I look forward to working with my wildlife staff in hiring the new deer biologist for Vermont."

State Personnel lists the position as a Scientist III, with a starting pay at $20.78. The state is hoping to find a candidate with skills and experience in wildlife population modeling, white-tailed deer management, federal grant administration, and experience in developing proposed deer management recommendations. Deadline to apply through Vermont State Personnel is March 7, 2011.