Vermont Deer News

Irasburg couple fined for poaching deer February 3, 2016 Vermont, WCAX-TV 
...  well-worn deer trails from the woods to the Dions' backyard, with a sliding port and gun rest cut into the back of their home... baiting deer ...

Rockingham man pleads guilty to hunting offense January 26, 2016 Vermont, Brattleboro Reforme
... a wound on the deer was inconsistent with an arrow wound and believed that the deer was shot with a bullet. Brough did not have a muzzle-loader tag ... He will lose his right to hunt, fish and trap in Vermont for three years ...

State deer harvest shows healthy population January 14, 2016 Vermont, Addison County Independent
... “Compared to the previous three-year averages, harvest numbers increased slightly during the archery and rifle seasons, but decreased during the youth and muzzleloader seasons,” said deer project leader Nick Fortin. “The legal buck harvest of 8,294 was nearly identical to the previous three-year average of 8,286...

Taking aim at Vermont predators January 10, 2016 Rutland Herald
... has killed more than 500 coyotes since he started hunting them six years ago ...  the numbers don’t seem to die down despite his efforts ... deer hunters are reporting seeing more and more coyotes and people are coming out to see how they can bring down the coyote population...

Vermont 2015 deer harvest reflects stable buck population January 8, 2016 Brattleboro Reforme
...A decrease in the number of buck taken from higher elevations and the Northeast Kingdom could be attributed to tough winters, Fortin said. But early counts show a stable population In Southern Vermont, where the elevation is comparatively lower...

Vermont deer kill down in 2015 January 7, 2016 Burlington
... Preliminary figures ... 12,710 deer in all seasons this past fall... about 900 fewer than the year before ...

Taking deer out of season has consequences December 31, 2015 Vermont, Times-Argus 
... a $400 fine and serve nine to 10 days on a work crew after admitting he took a nine-point buck a week before hunting season...

What colors can deer see? December 24, 2015 Vermont, BurlingtonFreePress.com
... They can pick out short (blue) and middle (green) wavelength colors, but they’re less sensitive to long wavelength colors such as red and orange. “They’re essentially red-green color blind,” ...

November buck kill increases despite harsh winters December 19, 2015 Vermont, BurlingtonFreePress.com
... Despite back-to-back severe winters and unusually warm hunting conditions, the buck kill during the November rifle season is projected to finish 6 percent ahead of last year ... We expected the population to be down following the last two winters, and that the (November buck) harvest would also be down” by about 10 percent...

Addison County, Deer season was the best since 2002 December 3, 2015 Vermont, Addison County Independent
... The total of 444 deer weighed locally is the highest in 13 years and the most in the county since Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations changed in 2005, when a ban on shooting younger spikehorn bucks during rifle season went into effect...

Telling the truth about Vermont's energy policy November 15, 2015 Eagle Times 
...  David Blittersdorf, has stated he expects one-third of Vermont’s useable ridgelines (200 miles) would be capped with wind towers in this effort... This level of development will have negative impacts on bird and bat populations, and the habitats and migratory corridors of deer, bear and other wildlife ...

Deadline nears for homeowners to seek wildlife grants November 14, 2015 Vermont, Washington Times
... covers habitat work, from managing forests for game populations ... biologists may suggest cutting sections of forest to promote habitat for game species like grouse, woodcock, and deer ...

... “Vermont’s pre-hunt deer population is estimated at approximately 120,000 this year with the greatest numbers of deer found in the northwestern, and southwestern regions of the state,”  ... biologists are collecting middle incisor teeth from rifle season deer in order to evaluate regional differences in ages and antler characteristics of bucks as well as to help estimate population size, growth rate, health, and mortality rates. Each tooth will be cross-sectioned to accurately determine the deer's age, and the results will be posted on the Fish & Wildlife website next spring.  Hunters who don't make it to a biological reporting station are asked to obtain a tooth envelope from their regular reporting agent. Write your name, Conservation ID number and date of kill on it. Remove one of the middle incisor teeth, being careful to include the root. The root of the tooth is needed to age the deer. Place the tooth in the envelope and give it to the reporting agent...

State says coywolves are no myth November 8, 2015 Vermont, Times-Argus
...  it is a hybrid of wolf, coyote and dog ... They certainly are in Vermont ...  72-pound animal ...The DNA analysis at that time suggested that it was an Eastern wolf-coyote hybrid ... the wolf-like traits help the Eastern coyote be more efficient deer killers...

Speaker Combats Lyme Disease Spread November 4, 2015 Vermont, Middlebury Campus
... in Cranes Beach, Massachusetts. In this scenario, when the deer population was driven to zero, the nymphal tick population also decreased – but after a certain point, it began to increase again, almost reaching its initial size ... This has led Dr. Ostfeld to conclude that species other than the white tail deer influence the size of the tick population...

Fewer Hunters Means Fewer Dollars For Conservation November 4, 2015 Vermont, Vermont Public Radio
... Hunting license sales have been on a steady decline in Vermont over the last few decades, mirroring a trend seen in many states around the country. License fees account for a significant portion of the budget for Fish and Wildlife departments...

Hunters asked to help collect deer biological data November 4, 2015 Vermont, Addison Eagle
... Hunters who get a deer during the Nov. 14-29 rifle season are asked to provide an incisor tooth from their deer when they go to a reporting station... in order to evaluate regional differences in ages and antler characteristics of bucks as well as to help estimate population size, growth rate, health, and mortality rates... more information from Vermont Fish and Wildlife

Stowe, Wardens seeking killer of buck November 3, 2015 Vermont, Times-Argus
... a six-point, 180-pound buck ... found in a field near Maple Run Road early Sunday ... call Operation Game Thief at 800-75ALERT

Game wardens deploy robot deer to nab poachers November 3, 2015 Vermont, Times-Argus
... game wardens posted a message on their Facebook page describing their use of the animatronic whitetails to apprehend two alleged poachers... agents have access to about 20 or 25 whitetail deer decoys...

... The grim parcel may mark a new chapter in a fierce debate over wind and solar projects in the Northeast Kingdom. But opponents of renewable energy developments say they had nothing to do with it...

Two Morristown Men Charged in Deer Poaching Case October 29, 2015 Vermont Fish and Wildlife News
... Responding to tips that deer poaching was occurring at night in the area, Vermont State Game Wardens were operating a deer facsimile that evening in Morristown, near the Elmore town line. At about 10:40 p.m., Andrew Fecteau drove by the facsimile, turned around, drove back and stopped, letting his passenger, Thomas Chamberlin, lean out the window and shoot the facsimile while the vehicle headlights illuminated it...

Vermont Wardens Police the Wilderness October 28, 2015 Seven Days
... Vermont was the first state to enshrine the right to hunt and fish in its constitution. But by 1779, logging, sheep farming and other human activity had decimated the state's deer herd and other game species. That's the year the state passed its first "deer welfare" law ...

Vt. hunters asked to submit deer teeth October 27, 2015 Vermont, WCAX
...  hunters who get deer during the November 14-29 rifle season are asked to provide an incisor tooth from the deer when they go to a reporting station...  using the teeth to evaluate regional differences in ages ...

Deer parts in park disturbing, not uncommon October 23, 2015 Vermont, Times-Argus
... A Montpelier resident said she has come across deer body parts — limbs, bones and hooves — three times in Hubbard Park since August...  as in Hubbard Park, if the parts are fresh or there is a carcass, the best thing to do is contact the local game warden...

New England Deer Forecast October 21, 2015 Vermont, Game & Fish
... The abundance of apples, acorns and beech nuts is usually the measure for success each year...

Stations say deer hunt starts off strong October 7, 2015 Vermont, Times-Argus
... Despite a reduction in deer hunting permits because the state says the herd is depleted, reporting stations in the area say an average to above average number of deer have been weighed in as the archery season gets going... 

Vermont Fish & Wildlife deer project leader demonstrates how to remove a front tooth from your deer to turn it in for data collection. - October 6, 2015 Vermont


Vermont reminding hunters of deer and elk import rules October 4, 2015 CBS 6
... illegal to import or possess deer or elk, or parts of deer or elk, from states and Canadian provinces that have had chronic wasting disease ...

Maine, Vermont scale back on deer hunting permits as rough winter shrinks herd October 3, 2015 Maine, Portland Press Herald ...As archery deer hunting season opens this weekend in Vermont, the deer population is estimated to be down 11 to 15 percent from last year to a population of around 120,000 due to the winter. As a result, the number of hunting permits authorized has been reduced by 44 percent from 2014 – from 17,350 to 9,650...

Fishermen rescue stranded deer September 25, 2015 Vermont, WCAX-TV
... they came across a doe in distress in the water. The animal was struggling to free itself from an underwater tree branch. Its leg was stuck... managed to push the doe until the animal's leg was freed. The deer swam safely to shore... [video below]

... Deer and Moose refused to walk over the rocks placed underneath the bridge during construction. So, VTrans agreed to cover them with dirt. Grass is now growing, and deer are starting to use this pathway... 

Fortin to head state's deer hunting program August 17, 2015 Vermont, Addison County Independent 
... Fortin is currently conducting disease research for both the Washington and Idaho Departments of Fish and Wildlife...

Derby native Fortin tabbed as deer project leader August 8, 2015 Vermont, BurlingtonFreePress.com
... Nick Fortin confirmed Thursday that he has accepted the position of deer project leader with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department ... We have 58 native mammals, but there's no question that white-tailed deer are the driving force both socially and economically," he said...

Vermont ranked third worst state for deer hunting August 1, 2015 Burlington Free Press A Gannett Company
... The ranking [for white-tails] was based on high hunter densities; low overall harvest numbers; a high percentage of yearling bucks in the harvest, with a correspondingly low number of bucks age 3 and older; and what the editors at Wide Open Spaces deemed “consistently adverse weather.” ...

New rule changes raise eyebrows for Vermont hunters July 16,2015 Worcester Telegram & Gazette 
...  ban the use of deer urine as an attractant ... a response to the potential spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which currently plagues nearly two-dozen states. Not yet in New England, CWD would be a disaster for our whitetails...

New Deer Hunting Regulations Effective in 2016 July 9, 2015 Vermont, Vermont Fish and Wildlife
     In 2016, archery deer hunting season will be extended five days.  It will begin the first Saturday in October, run for 28 days, and then continue for nine days beginning the first Saturday after completion of the November rifle deer season. The archery season limit on deer will be reduced from three to two in 2016.  No more than two deer may be taken during the archery season only one of which may be a legal buck, not to exceed the annual limit of three for all deer seasons. 
     Also effective in 2016, no person may possess while hunting or use for the purposes of taking or attempting to take, attracting, surveillance or scouting deer—any product that contains any urine, blood, gland oil, feces, or other bodily fluids from a deer, elk or moose.
     
Herd grows at veterans home’s deer park June 25, 2015 Vermont, Rutland Herald
...   Five fawns born to a small herd of fallow deer are now living in a deer park on the grounds of the Vermont Veterans Home... For about 60 years, the home, the only state-run nursing facility for veterans in Vermont, has kept deer in a park, primarily for the residents to watch and visit...

Opinion: Wildlife, fish need good places June 9, 2015 Vermont, BurlingtonFreePress.com
... The Habitat Stamp is a voluntary donation of $10 or more that goes towards acquiring and improving habitat on state-owned Wildlife Management Areas. It is available on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website on our donations page ... A single parcel can simultaneously provide deer the cover they need to survive the winter, a shrub for a hermit thrush ...

Protecting Vermont's wildlife habitat June 1, 2015 Rutland Herald
... The Habitat Stamp is a voluntary donation of $10 or more that goes toward acquiring and improving habitat on state-owned wildlife management areas. It is available on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department website on our donations page ... provide deer the cover they need to survive the winter ...

     Vermont's muzzleloader season antlerless deer hunting permit applications are now available on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's website ..."The number of muzzleloader season antlerless deer permits was reduced from the 17,050 issued last year due to a decline in deer numbers caused by two severe winters in 2014 and 2015,"  ... "We expect the statewide deer population to be 115,000 to 120,000 prior to the start of the 2015 deer seasons," said Scott...

Fawns can be hiding in plain sight May 29, 2015 Vermont, Burlington Free Press
... A fawn spends most of its first weeks of life bedded down alone. The doe stays away from her newborn except to nurse it periodically, and to lead it to new bed sites. That way her scent does not attract predators to the area where the fawn is hiding...

... The ban, which would take effect in 2016 if it passes state legislation, takes aim on reducing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). A disease that has the potential to devastate the state’s deer herd.  Vermont currently has no confirmed cases of CWD ...

Can Bennington be an outdoor mecca? May 13, 2015 Vermont, Bennington Banner 
...  It proved to be a banner year for deer hunting in Bennington and Bennington County, with 4.34 deer per square mile, along with the recognition of the most deer harvested statewide...

... Hunters killed more than 13,000 deer in Vermont last year and a long, harsh winter may have taken even more of the state's herd.  "We suspect there's been some reduction and we've responded as we plan on doing by reducing the number of those antlerless permits out there," ...

F&W Board Votes on Proposed Deer Hunting Changes April 29, 2015 Vermont, F&W Newsd
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board held a second vote on proposed changes to Vermont deer hunting regulations at their April 22 meeting in Montpelier. The board continued to expand hunting opportunities in Vermont, while taking a more conservative approach than initially proposed following the state's second severe winter in a row.  The board voted to add five days to the end of the October portion of archery season. It voted to allow crossbows for hunters aged 50 and older whenever a regular bow and arrow can be used for big game hunting. And the board voted to reduce the archery and muzzleloader season limits from three to two deer...

...  ban the possession and use by hunters of natural lures based on deer urine or other fluids beginning in 2016. By doing so the board hopes to reduce the threat of chronic wasting disease entering the state, which has the potential to devastate Vermont’s deer herd... Dr. Cottrell outlined how quickly the disease can spread among deer populations ...

Vermont cutting in half antlerless deer hunting permits April 26, 2015 Brattleboro Reformer
... Fish and Wildlife Board voted to reduce the number of antlerless permits from 17,050 last year to 9,650 because of reductions in deer numbers caused by two severe winters in 2014 and 2015...

Northern New England states can provide good venues for hunting April 23, 2015 Vermont, Worcester Telegram
... Vermont's goal is to keep their herd stable, healthy and in balance with available habitat. The stability of harvest numbers is proportionate to the stability of a deer herd's population... hunters brought in about $260 million into the economy ...

Crossbows continue to dominate hearings April 5, 2015 Vermont, Times-Argus
... a good number of people attending a hearing in Castleton concerning that issue and others related to the coming deer seasons were clearly in favor of a limited proposal, one that favored crossbows for hunters over age 50...

... In a live call-in from the Vermont PBS studio, Fish & Wildlife experts discuss proposed changes to Vermont's deer herd management strategy.... [video]

... The board wants to reduce the number of moose permits from 280 to 225. Archery moose permits would fall from 50 to 40 and in parts of the state hunters could only hunt bulls.  "We're going to protect the females,

Hearings set on deer, moose hunt rules March 22, 2015 Vermont, Rutland Herald
... Deer hearings are set in Barre and Bennington beginning at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, with four more to follow... will also consider a change in season limits for deer in the archery and muzzleloader seasons. Those limits would be reduced from three to two deer...  a proposal to prohibit the possession and use of deer urine-based lures ...

White-tailed Deer Harvest Report for 2014 [PDF] March 20, 2015 Vermont, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
... Hunters harvested a total of 13,590 deer during the four Vermont deer seasons in 2014. The total buck harvest (7,954 deer) was 10 percent less than 2013 buck harvest (8,831 deer, Figure 1) and slightly less than the previous 3-year average (8,119 bucks)... Antlered bucks comprised 58 percent of the total harvest, while adult does made up 35 percent of the total harvest. Buck and doe fawns each added 3 and 4 percent to the 2014 harvest. Of the total deer harvest, 45 percent occurred during the rifle season, 23 percent during archery season, 12 percent during muzzleloader season, and 20 percent during youth season...

... Six hearings have been scheduled across the state during the week of March 23...

Deer meetings to be held without deer biologist March 7, 2015 Vermont, Burlington Free Press A Gannett Compan
... “There’s no question that managing deer is difficult because people are so passionate about it and they often hold such strong and conflicting opinions,”  ... Deer project leader Adam Murkowski has resigned ...

Vermont eyes deer urine ban, expand crossbow use February 25, 2015 Outdoor News
... Vermont is poised to prohibit the use of deer urine-based attractants by the 2016 hunting season, and to allow crossbows within the state’s archery season this fall...

Vt. shuts down ‘canned hunt’ facility February 22, 2015 Vermont, Rutland Herald 
...  photos were of a man ...with a heavy-antlered whitetail deer weighing more than 300 pounds that he shot ... in a fenced-in compound as it approached a feeding trough... The kill, of course, was nothing even close to what one would call “a hunt.” Instead, it was a case of a man posing as a hunter, in total camouflage...  the last “hunting preserve” left in the Green Mountain State will no longer be in operation by the end of this month...

Deer, moose hearings set for March February 19, 2015 Vermont, Bennington Banner
... Hunters, landowners and anyone else interested in Vermont's deer and moose should plan on attending one of the public hearings being held around the state in late March ... Comments also may be submitted on the website ...

Fish And Wildlife Board Considers Adding Crossbows To Archery Season February 17, 2015 Vermont, Vermont Public Radio
... As archery numbers decline, Scott said allowing crossbows could allow those numbers to pick up again... The Bowhunters Association supports the use of crossbows by people who are unable to use bows
 ...
For deer herd data, states count on hunters January 31, 2015 Vermont, Bennington Banner
... In Vermont, deer team leader Adam Murkowski reported 13,590 deer harvested — a drop from 2013 but in line with the three-year average. Antlerless deer made up 41 percent of the total harvest... Prior to this year's hunt, Vermont's deer herd was estimated to be 135,000 deer...

Vermont mulls pulling back crossbow restrictions for deer January 31, 2015 Vermont, Bennington Banner 
... The state may allow the use of crossbows to hunt deer whenever a normal bow and arrow would be permitted.  Right now one needs a special disability permit to use a crossbow in place of a bow, but at its Jan. 21 meeting the Fish and Wildlife Board voted to legalize the use of crossbows ...

Vermont Deer Hunters Had a Good Year January 19, 2015 The Caledonian Record
...  hunters took a total of 13,590 deer in the state: 3,143 during archery season, 1,652 during youth weekend, 6,140 in rifle season, and 2,655 in muzzleloader season...

An okay season for deer hunters January 18, 2015 Vermont, Burlington Free Press
... Hunters bagged 13,590 deer ...  a statewide deer herd that biologists believe has grown steadily since 2011 — to an estimated 135,000 last year — the harvest during the bucks-only rifle season was nonetheless down 9 percent from 2013, at 6,140...

Hunts show deer herd is healthy January 15, 2015 Vermont, Rutland Herald
... hunters took a total of 13,590 deer — an increase over the last three years’ averages...

Couple Pleads Not Guilty to Deer Poaching January 14, 2015 Vermont, NECN
... a search of their Irasburg home last year showed chest freezers and several plastic totes containing corn and apples, which they believed was used to bait deer. They also found a dead deer inside the house ...

Barton man fined, loses licenses after shooting at deer from vehicle January 10, 2015 Vermont, Newport Dispatch News
...  Bacon is said to have shot from a vehicle on a Craftsbury public road, and then fled as Vermont Fish & Wildlife wardens attempted to apprehend him, putting one warden in danger of serious injury...

... One would allow all hunters to use crossbows during the archery season regardless of age or disability. Another would do away with spikehorn restrictions for archery and muzzleloader seasons ...

Vermont data: An estimate of 120,000 deer prior to the 2015 hunting season. The severe winter of 2014-15 significantly reduced the deer population so Fish and Wildlife cut antlerless tags dramatically for 2015 from 17,050 to 9,650. No antlerless deer can be taken in two northeast units.  They estimated the deer population at about 135,000 pre-hunt in 2014 after three below average winters. About 130,000 in 2013 (115,000 to 145,000), up about 4 percent from 2012. According to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife department there were about 125,000 to 135,000 in 2012, higher than 2011 although the estimate that year was about 123,000 +/- 15,000 deer. The 2011 population was about 10 percent less than 2010. The goal of the department is 13 to 18 deer per square mile, or 102,000 - 141,000 deer. This is less than the population of the mid 1990's since "Many forest habitats were younger in the mid-1900's and could support more deer ..." Coyote predation has increased.  Average reported hunter success is about 19 percent.  There were about 66,000 deer hunters in 2012.
     A two-point antler restriction was enacted in 2005, having support of about  75% of hunters.  The rule limits legal bucks to those having at least one antler with two or more points, protecting yearlings.  About half have only single spiked antlers.  This rule was dropped for the archery and muzzle-loader season in 2014.  The Wildlife board decided to focus more on hunting opportunities than balanced age distribution.  About 40 percent of the deer taken in 2013 were antlerless, mostly does.  Hunting contributes about $260 million to the state economy. 
     Historically, by 1779 deer populations had been decimated by over hunting and habitat change, the state passed the first deer welfare law to regulate hunting.  Deer populations fell to very low levels by the late 1800s.  To promote herd growth, a buck only harvest was begun in 1897 and continue until 1963 when the herd reached a population peak of about 250,000.  The era of modern deer management began with a focus on balanced herd demographics, including doe harvest.  [Management History]  Moose were hunted to extinction in the late 1800's, returned to the state in 1950 from Maine where hunting was banned to save the species.[Management History]
     Vermont does not allow for rehabilitation of orphan fawns.  Although successful rehabilitation occurs in many states, Vermont's deer project leader has asserted that fawns need their mothers guidance to survive although many states have successful rehabilitation programs.
     Vermont has no captive deer farms. The last captive white-tailed deer herd in Vermont was destroyed in October, 2014.
     Slightly more than 6,000 black bears in 2012 and 2013.

Other useful links:
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

Tweets about Vermont Fish and Wildlife


Antler Point Restrictions: The antler restriction has worked. With the exception of the higher percentage of yearlings harvested in 2010 due to the previous mild winter, the age structure of the buck population has improved. It has worked because hunters have been counting antler points before they shoot. It was designed to increase age structure of the buck population, not increase overall deer numbers. We now have as many legal bucks in the state as we did before the antler restriction, but there are an additional 7,000–8,000 yearling and 2-year-old “spike-horns” out there that are pretty much guaranteed to survive the hunt.