Vermont Deer Population: An estimated 157,000 prior to the 2017 hunt, 145,000 deer prior to the 2016 hunt, up from about 120,000 deer prior to hunting in 2015, a result of the mild 2015-16 winter.  About 135,000 deer in 2014.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Vermont deer hunting data and news archive.

Vermont Deer News

Deer hearing sees small, quiet turnout May 20, 2017 Vermont, Rutland Herald
... only 10 people attending... . Based on all of the data, Fortin estimated the statewide deer population to be about 157,000...  the state’s deer population is on the increase, thanks in part to yet another mild winter... parts of the Northeast Kingdom endured a much harder winter..,

Court reverses man's conviction in deer poaching case May 17, 2017 Vermont, Bennington Banner
... The court "must find that all of the statements that a juror could have found to be false were made with the purpose of deflecting the investigation," the decision stated. The court "cannot conclude that all of the statements met that element of the offense...

Antlerless Deer Proposal Voted on by F&W Board April 27, 2017 Vermont, Vermont Fish and Wildlife
... “We are recommending an increase in muzzleloader season antlerless deer permits this year to account for the increase in the deer population following another mild winter in 2017,”  ... “We expect the statewide deer population to be about 157,000 prior to the start of the 2017 deer seasons,” ... 

Finder of big game, UVM student honored by NEOWA April 14, 2017 Vermont, Rutland Herald
... with his dogs, often in darkness, to locate deer and bear that hunters had shot but could not find ...  “I do it because I love working with dogs and tracking deer,”  ...

Vermont's largest solar project wins state approval March 30, 2017 Brattleboro Reformer
... regulators have approved a massive Windsor County solar array  ... Coolidge Solar also has taken steps, in consultation with the state Agency of Natural Resources, to mitigate harm to deer wintering areas and breeding birds...

Public Hearings Set for Deer, Moose February 28, 2017 Vermont, Vermont.gov
... The hearings will include results of Vermont's 2016 deer and moose seasons and prospects for hunting next fall as well as an opportunity for people to provide their observations and opinions regarding deer and moose... read the moose proposal

Vermont moose hunting permits could be cut down February 18, 2017 BurlingtonFreePress.com
... Wildlife officials in Vermont and New Hampshire are proposing sharp reductions in the number of moose hunting permits ... response to continued population declines thought to be caused largely by milder winters and infestations of small but deadly parasites...

...  Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says there are 6,000-9,000 coyotes in Vermont ... "... They sometimes take fawns in the spring, but as long we take that into account in our deer management, we don't think that coyotes have a long-term effect on deer numbers," [Fish and Wildlife biologist Kim Royar]

VT Fish and Wildlife begins moose study January 29, 2017 Vermont, suncommunitynews.com
... As seasons in recent years have warmed up, the winter ticks have been more able to survive and reproduce in the winter... The ticks cause collapse due to blood loss, but they can also cause the moose to rub off their protective layer of fur in the winter in irritation, which can lead to death by hypothermia...

Bow season had little impact on deer numbers January 15, 2017 Vermont, BurlingtonFreePress.com
... After the exceptionally mild winter of 2016, it’s no surprise that Vermont hunters bagged a lot more deer last fall than in recent years ... Despite a longer bow season and the legalization of crossbows for all hunters age 50 and older, the bow harvest was almost unchanged from 2015...

... The legal buck harvest of 9,968 was 19 percent more than the previous three-year average ... the total harvest of 16,160 ...  increased harvest was primarily due to the exceptionally mild winter of 2016, which allowed more deer to survive ...

 ... As recently as 2000, the state sold 98,500 hunting licenses. Last year, it was down to about 67,000...

Robotic Deer Decoy Nabs Man Shooting From Truck November 30, 2016 Vermont, NECN
... The department occasionally uses deer decoys with animated heads to catch people firing from public roads, which is illegal in Vermont...

Williamstown man suspected of stealing deer November 28, 2016 Vermont, BurlingtonFreePress.com
... bringing charges against a Williamstown man after they say the man stole a buck that had been killed and registered at a big game reporting station by another hunter ...
... “They all come from captive deer facilities, so deer farms. There are only a handful that produce the vast majority of these urine lures. Captive facilities like that are a hotbed for chronic wasting disease,” ...

Hunters being asked to help biologists with deer hunt November 7, 2016 Vermont, Washington Times
... Biologists are collecting middle incisor teeth from November season deer in order to evaluate regional differences in ages and antler characteristics of bucks...

Vermont Youth deer hunting weekend announced October 23, 2016 Plattsburgh Press Republican
... “Examining deer during the youth deer hunting weekend is our best opportunity to assess the deer herd because youth hunters are allowed to harvest any deer, including spike bucks,” ...

Mild winter leads to big herd for deer hunters October 2, 2016 Vermont, BurlingtonFreePress.com
... Thanks to the mildest winter since state wildlife officials began tracking daily snow depths and temperatures in 1970, biologists believe the deer herd going into the hunting seasons numbers about 145,000, which is 20,000 more than last year...

Winter ticks plague Vermont's moose herd September 29, 2016 Vermont, Addison County Independent
... This year the Department of Fish and Wildlife issued 40 percent fewer moose permits (160 in total) and again restricted hunting in all but two management areas to adult males, in an effort to bolster a herd hit hard by ... ticks...

Winners of muzzleloader doe permits announced September 21, 2016 Vermont, WCAX
... growing deer population that was helped by the mild winter... about 145,000 deer in the state by the time the season starts...

With deer season looming, crossbow sales booming September 17, 2016 Vermont, BurlingtonFreePress.com
... Effective this fall, about one half of Vermont’s deer hunters may for the first time use a crossbow during bow season without having to obtain a special permit. And according to several leading archery shops, many hunters are intent on doing just that. Crossbow sales are booming ...


News from Vt. Fish & Wildlife Department September 10, 2016 Vermont, Bennington Banner 
... In Vermont a hunter may take up to three deer in a calendar year in any combination of seasons (Archery, Youth Weekend, November Rifle Season, December Muzzleloader). Of these, only two may be legal bucks, and only one buck may be taken in each season. A "legal buck" is a deer with at least one antler having two or more points one inch or longer...

Public Meeting to be Held on Southern Vermont Wildlife Area August 10, 2016 vtdigger.org
... to discuss future management and use of a Bennington-area wildlife management area... acquired as mitigation for deer wintering areas that were impacted by the Bennington Bypass project... August 23, 2016 ...

Antlerless Deer Permit Application Deadline August 9, 2016 Vermont.gov - News Releases
... "The number of muzzleloader season antlerless deer permits was increased to account for the expected increase in the deer population following the exceptionally mild winter of 2016," said Nick Fortin, deer project leader for the Fish & Wildlife Department. "The permit allocation is intended to allow moderate population growth in most of the state while stabilizing or reducing deer densities in a few areas."  "We expect the statewide deer population to be about 145,000 prior to the start of the 2016 deer seasons," said Fortin.

... Non-invasive techniques significantly reduce induced stress levels and the risk of injury and/or death. They also require limited human-to-animal interaction... Average life span 4.5 years in the wild ... Resource preference: herbaceous plants, fruits, and fungi (summer) nuts, twigs and stems, leaves, and grasses (winter) ...

... former operator of a holiday-themed park that has been the subject of an animal cruelty investigation ...

White-tailed Deer Age Reportbfrom the 2015 Deer Harvest June 28, 2016 Vermont,  Vermont Fish and Wildlife
... Statewide, 26% of the rifle season harvest consisted of yearlings, 52% were 2 years old, 16% were 3 years old, and 6% were 4 years old or older (Figure 3). The oldest buck was 11 years old and was harvested in the town of Calais. This was the oldest buck ever documented in Vermont...

... Quick-thinking officers from Milton police helped save a fawn after its mother was hit by a car...  but the baby deer had to be put down... there aren't any licensed deer or moose rehabilitators in the state. Scott says studies have shown those animals don't fare as well...

Rescued fawn euthanized May 31, 2016 Vermont, Milton Independent
...  car had hit a deer  .. birthed two fawns, which were deceased... delivered the third fawn ...

Watch for deer and moose on roads May 29, 2016 Vermont, BurlingtonFreePress.com
... We are getting reports concerning deer and moose on paved roads around the state; they often come out to lick the salt off the pavement...

... New Hampshire’s deer population is still free of a form of mad cow disease that once seemed likely to arrive here, having moved as close as New York state, but to keep us safe the state is asking hunters to give up something useful: Urine-based lures..

... Fawns do not attempt to evade predators during their first few weeks, instead relying on camouflage and stillness to remain undetected ... Dogs often will kill fawns and other baby animals....

Vermont data:  Prior to the 2017 hunt, an estimated 157,000 deer.  An increase in antlerless deer permits recommended.  An estimate of 145,000 deer prior to the 2016 hunting season.  The exceptionally mild 2015-16 winter allowed the deer population to grow, more antlerless permits were issued in 2016 in anticipation of the higher population. About 120,000 deer prior to hunting in 2015. 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 taken in two northeast units.  In 2015, 78 percent of the bucks taken were two years old or yearlings.  The 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.  Hunter number have been on a decline for several decades.
     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.
     Coyotes, 6,000 to 9,000 in 2017
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.