Hunters, hikers take note: LaPlatte area welcomes deer hunters, limits hiking

Sections of the LaPlatte River Marsh Natural Area in Shelburne will be closed to the general public and open only to hunters during hunting season this year.

The property is overpopulated with deer, and The Nature Conservancy, which owns the land, is hoping that allowing hunters into area will help manage the deer population.

The area spans a swath of land near the mouth of the LaPlatte River into Shelburne Bay, between Harbor and Bay roads, west of Route 7.

The official trail on the northwest portion of the preserve with access on Bay Road will remain open to visitors and closed to hunters throughout hunting season.

Hunters will be allowed into the rest of the Nature Conservancy’s land from 3 p.m. to 10 a.m., Oct. 6 to Nov. 2; Nov. 10-25; and Dec. 1-9.

Visitors may still visit the restricted areas from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during hunting season.

The restricted areas will be posted clearly with signs, and hunters must receive special permission from The Nature Conservancy in order to hunt in those areas. Permits can be obtained by contacting Lynn McNamara at mcnamara@tnc.org or 229-4425 x116.

McNamara said she hopes people will understand what they are trying to accomplish and respect the limitations. A recent study by the University of Vermont found that because the deer population in the area is so high, the animals are resorting to eating tree seedlings that they usually don’t prefer, such as beech and white pine, which means forest regeneration is suffering.

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