MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking the state's successful bear hunters to submit a tooth to biologists so they can collect information about the bear population.
Vermont's early bear hunting season starts on Monday.
Teeth are used to determine the age of the bear.
Biologists use age and sex data to get an estimate of the number of bears in the state and to determine the status and health of the bear population.
Instructions for removing the tooth can be found on the back of an envelope that will be provided by big-game check stations.
State bear project leader Forrest Hammond says conditions should be good this year for bear hunting.
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Group claims responsibility for Vermont Gas visit
HINESBURG, Vt. (AP) -- An activist group claimed responsibility Saturday for a protest at the home of the Vermont Gas Systems president, saying it wanted to highlight the threat of eminent domain over the construction of a gas pipeline extension.
In an email to Vermont media outlets, Green Mountain EarthFirst claimed they "temporarily seized" the property of Vermont Gas President Don Gilbert on Friday night and served a "people's eminent domain notice."
Plans by Vermont Gas to extend a natural gas line from Burlington south to Middlebury and eventually to Rutland has sparked impassioned protests by some. A number of landowners along the line of the pipeline have refused to allow easements. The company is offering mediation and has said it hopes to avoid the use of eminent domain.
Hinesburg police Chief Frank Koss said about two dozen people entered Gilbert's property after dark Friday, including some who went onto the porch. He said they left the property after police arrived. They refused to identify themselves, but police recorded the license plate numbers of the vehicles that carried the protesters.
Koss said he felt the protesters crossed the line.
"To me, this confrontation with him on his own property at night, that's not freedom of speech," Koss said.
Vermont Gas spokesman Steve Wark said the protest at Gilbert's home was a continuation of what he calls extreme behavior over the last several months.
"Members of these groups continue to show they cannot be trusted to communicate their viewpoints peacefully, honestly or respectfully," Wark said. "It's unfortunate that they use extreme and disrespectful tactics to bully those who do not share their point of view.
Green Mountain Earthfirst said it does not support construction of any fossil fuel infrastructure.
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Vermont Fish & Wildlife offering deer hunt classes
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering seminars to help get people started in deer hunting.
The department is offering three, three-hour seminars in September that will deal with such topics as basic deer biology, hunting regulations, firearm selection, where to go and hunting tips.
All new hunters are required to take a hunter safety course.
The department says hunting is a way to put "wild, organic venison" on the table and that it's inextricably linked with Vermont's working landscape.
The seminars are being offered on Sept. 10 in Montpelier, Sept. 17 in Castleton and Sept. 24 in Burlington.
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Vermont officials: mosquito tips after West Nile
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- With new test results indicating that West Nile virus is present in every part of Vermont, state health officials are offering tips on avoiding bites from mosquitoes that can carry the disease.
They're urging people to limit their time outside at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
Wear shorts and long sleeves in high-risk areas and use insect repellants.
Get rid of standing water and areas where it can collect, like stopped-up rain gutters, wading pools and old tires.
Install or repair window screens to keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
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Ex-FBI director: Grateful for support after crash
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Former FBI Director Louis Freeh said Friday he was grateful for the care and support he has received since he was injured this week in a Vermont car crash.
Freeh issued a statement through the office of U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy after the Vermont senator visited Freeh in the hospital. The two have been friends for years.
In the statement, Freeh thanked a number of officials including Vice President Joe Biden and FBI Director James Comey. He also thanked FBI agents and employees.
"From the very first moments of the accident to the present, their devotion, vigilance and prayers have sustained me and my family," said the 64-year-old Freeh. "I have the greatest respect and affection for them and their families."
Freeh, of Wilmington, Delaware, did not describe his injuries or condition or discuss what caused the Monday crash in the town of Barnard. Following the midday accident on Vermont Route 12, he was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. The hospital hasn't provided any information about Freeh.
The Vermont State Police and the Department of Motor Vehicles said the accident report will be released once it is finalized. A preliminary investigation found no indication drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash.
Freeh was a federal judge in New York before serving as FBI director from 1993 to 2001. He previously served six years as a special agent. He founded his consulting firm, Freeh Group International Solutions LLC, in 2007.
In 2011, Penn State hired Freeh to examine the handling of child sex abuse complaints involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and to recommend changes aimed at preventing abuse.
Freeh issued a blistering report contending that legendary head football coach Joe Paterno and other top Penn State officials concealed what they knew about Sandusky's sexual abuse of children for more than a decade ago to avoid bad publicity.
Sandusky was convicted in June 2012 on 45 criminal counts.
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Vermont city offers $20k reward in 4 arson fires
BARRE, Vt. (AP) -- Barre police say a $20,000 reward is being offered for help finding the person or people responsible for a string of four arson fires reported in the Vermont city in the last month.
Barre police, fire and emergency medical services and the state police fire investigation unit are investigating the fires.
The first of the four fires was reported Aug. 3, another on Aug. 7 ad the third on Aug. 18.
The most recent fire was Monday when an arson fire did $200,000 damage to a building that housed a former bed and breakfast.
All the buildings were either vacant or used for storage.
No injuries have been reported.