Vermont Deer News
State Considers Key Changes To Deer Season June 28, 2014 Vermont, Vermont Public Radio
... The department is considering a change in the rifle season to reduce the number of bucks a hunter can shoot from two to one...  the department is still accepting comments about the future of the deer herd at its website...

Leave new fawns alone June 2, 2014 Vermont, Press Republican 
... During the first few weeks of life, fawns do not try to evade predators ... Instead, they rely on remaining undetected through camouflage and stillness... Deer and moose nurse their young at different times during the day and frequently leave their young alone for long periods of time...

Survey says: Deer Hunters support status quo May 31, 2014 Vermont, Burlington Free Press A Gannett Company 
... More than two-thirds of the hunters surveyed said they were satisfied with their hunting experience ... Support for the antler point restriction enacted in 2005 was even higher, with 75 percent being either very satisfied (53 percent) or somewhat satisfied .. 

Record deer case ends in $400 fine May 16, 2014 Vermont, Times-Argus
... accused of taking [out of season] one of the largest trophy-antlered whitetail bucks harvested in Vermont in more than 20 years was resolved this week when the man agreed to plead guilty and pay a fine of $400...

Deer hearing draws sparse crowd May 10, 2014 Vermont, Times-Argus
... in Castleton, but only a dozen people showed up... The board was looking for more input on the antlerless opportunities it will offer for this coming fall deer season. ... [see April 25 article below] ... Public input can still be offered by emailing comments to anr.fwpubliccomment@state.vt.us by May 26...

Milton men cited for deer poaching April 30, 2014 Vermont, SFGate
... Three Vermont men have been cited for deer poaching accusing them of taking at least 12 deer illegally...

Antlerless Deer Proposal Voted by F&W Board April 25, 2014 Vermont, Fish and Wildlive News
    The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board voted to accept the Fish & Wildlife Department’s recommendation for 2014 antlerless deer hunting, which was presented at the Board’s monthly meeting on April 23 in Montpelier. The annual recommendation is based on population growth estimates, biological data, deer sighting rates reported by hunters, and winter severity data, as well as input from game wardens, foresters and the public.
     “The consecutive mild winters of 2012 and 2013 and a moderate winter in 2014 combined with past antlerless harvests should result in continued herd growth in 2014,” said deer biologist Adam Murkowski. “We expect the statewide deer population to be at about 135,000 prior to the start of the 2014 deer seasons.”
     The 2014 Antlerless Permitting and Youth Season Recommendation is available on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com). The public can comment on the proposal by sending an email to ANR.FWPublicComment@state.vt.us by May 26.   The department will also hold two public hearings to review the antlerless proposal and take comments starting at 7 p.m. at: 
May 7 Castleton – Camp Kehoe, 636 Point of Pines Road, Castleton
May 8 Montpelier – Pavilion Auditorium, 109 State Street, Montpelier
     The Fish & Wildlife Board will vote again on the proposal in late May after the public comment period.

VT Fish & Wildlife Board Approves Antlerless Deer Hunting Proposals April 26, 2014 Vermont, My Champlain Valley FOX44 & ABC22
...   “We expect the statewide deer population to be at about 135,000 prior to the start of the 2014 deer seasons.” ... 

... hunters will be able to take antlerless deer again next season ... based on growth in the deer population thanks to relatively mild winters ... 

Vermont holds last 2 annual deer hearings April 12, 2014 Associated Press 
... The Castleton meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 7, at the Kehoe Conservation Camp and the Montpelier meeting will take place on Thursday, May 8, at the Pavilion Auditorium...

Bennington, White tails dwindle at Vermont deer park April 6, 2014 Brattleboro Reformer
... While the home owns the park, the deer there are wild and thus considered property of the state... which will not allow new white-tailed deer to be introduced to the roughly 1.58-acre fenced enclosure. Since the herd has been without a buck ... once the white tails are gone there will be conversations about what kind of deer to bring in ...

... The hearings will include results of Vermont's 2013 deer seasons and an overview of the department's recommendations to the Fish & Wildlife Board for antlerless deer hunting opportunities in the youth, archery and muzzleloader seasons next fall...

... The lingering winter weather is also affecting moose and deer, according to Scott. “Late March through April is a critical time for deer,” ...  If the snow cover doesn’t decrease in the next four to six weeks, we could see some impact on the deer herd.”  ...

Hunters in Vermont Took More than 14,000 Deer March 21, 2014 Vermont,  mychamplainvalley.com
... "We estimated there would be an increase in the deer population in 2013 due to two consecutive mild winters," said state deer biologist Adam Murkowski...

18 dead animals found at Santa's Land March 3, 2014 Vermont,  Berkshire Eagle
...  deputies found 16 dead deer, as well as a dead pheasant and a pot-bellied pig when they arrived at the theme park on Route 5 Saturday.  There were also four deer unaccounted for ... cited for animal cruelty...

CCCA talks on health of deer herds in Vermont February 20, 2014 Vermont, mountaintimes.info 
... The presentation of "Big Game - Health of the Deer Herd" will occur at the Gethsemane Church meeting hall on Depot Street in Proctorsville...

Vt. officials to hold hearings on deer, moose herd February 10, 2014 Vermont, Seattle Post Intelligencer
... The department will also give an update on the deer management review... The March 27 meeting will be live streamed at VPT.org ...

Man accused of taking deer illegally, lying to wardens February 3, 2014 Vermont,  Bennington Banner 
... of a complaint that a "spike horn" deer had been shot in Dorset. A spike horn is an antlered deer that does not meet the state's antler requirements that allow it to be shot during certain hunting seasons... changed his story a number of times, adding details each time ...

Vt. deer hunting results reflect stable, healthy population January 26, 2014 Vermont, PressRepublican.com
... Biological data from the check stations show that Vermont’s deer are healthier than in the past, with the average yearling buck weighing 10 pounds more than in the 1960s and four pounds more than the 1990s....

Deer hunters did well in 2013 January 18, 2014 Vermont, Burlington Free Press
... A total of 14,116 deer were bagged during all four hunting seasons, which is also up slightly from 2012. Bow season accounted for 3,291 deer ... About 40 percent of the total harvest annually consists of antlerless deer, which are mostly adult does. Antlerless hunting is the primary means of managing deer numbers in Vermont...

Valley News 
... , hunters took more than 14,100 deer in Vermont, 320 more than the average of the previous three autumns, and New Hampshire saw its biggest take since 2007... “The last three winters have been three of the mildest on record in New Hampshire since Fish and Game started recording winter severity data during the winter of 1964-65,” deer-project leader Dan Bergeron said recently. “This has helped increase deer survival and reproduction.” ...

Vt. 2013 deer hunting results show healthy herd January 15, 2014 Vermont,  Atlanta Journal Constitution 
... Biological data collected at deer check stations found average yearling buck weighed 10 pounds more than in the 1960s and four pounds more than the 1990s...

That long, brutal winter January 5, 2014 Vermont, Barre Montpelier Times Argus
...I witnessed, firsthand, what winter can do to deer. In the late winter of 1979-80 or 80-81, I came upon a scene that was most macabre: the skeletal remains of some 10 to 12 deer, bucks, does and young — spread out under a stand of large pines. It was a deer yard that was turned into a deer cemetery...

Pownal man to pay $700 for importing deer from NY December 28, 2013 Vermont,  Rutland Herald 
... “I asked him if he was aware of the regulations for importing deer from (New York) and he advised that he was not. I explained to him the regulations related to importing deer from (chronic wasting disease) states,” ...

Two one-in-a-million deer, deer life span December 21, 2013 Vermont, Burlington Free Press 
...  a buck that makes it to its third birthday is old. Those that make to age 4 or 5 are really old. Anything beyond that is ancient and, in Vermont at least, almost as rare as hen’s teeth.  Hunting is the main reason why, as numerous studies have shown that hunting is the principal source of mortality for bucks that have survived their first winter...

Newport man gets jail time for deer poaching December 16, 2013 Vermont,  BurlingtonFreePress.com
A Newport man is headed to jail for 30 days after his third big game conviction in five years  ... convicted of possessing a deer that was taken during a closed season, officials said...

Deer blood used to study EEE December 6, 2013 Vermont, Bennington Banner
... the state has collected blood samples from deer killed by hunters and tested them for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), but it's not clear if the practice will continue... So far there do not appear to be any pockets of EEE, at least not as far as the deer tests show...

Vt. hunters help investigate a potentially fatal virus December 1, 2013 Vermont, Rutland Herald 
... Previous studies of mosquitoes in Vermont had not turned up evidence of the EEE virus. But right after the results of the 2010 deer blood survey came back in 2011 showing that deer throughout the state had antibodies to the virus ... Eastern equine encephalitis ...

Deer Season starts November 14, 2013 Vermong, Manchester Journal
... Over the past several years the deer herd has thinned, according to Chris Towslee and Steve Houghton. Towslee - who has been hunting for the past 35 years - has noticed a decline in the amount of deer in recent years...

Vermont Deer Herd November 14, 2013 Stowe Today
... “Vermont’s pre-hunt deer population is estimated at 115,000 to 145,000 animals this year, with the greatest numbers of deer found in the southwest, east-central, and northwestern regions of the state,” said Adam Murkowski, deer project leader with the Fish and Wildlife Department. “Mild winter weather during the last two winters ... mean herd growth ...

This Deer Season, Dept. Of Health On The Hunt For EEE November 12, 2013 Vermont, Vermont Public Radio
...  the Department of Health was piggybacking Saturday on the reporting requirements for hunting season in its continuing effort to track Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) across the state.  “Wherever EEE occurs, it tends to cause human illness in very focal areas, ...  since the 2010 hunting season, when it collected 489 samples and found that about 10 percent of them tested positive ...

Vermont Herd, Late season a boon to hunters' harvest? November 9, 2013 Vermont,  BurlingtonFreePress.com
... The winters of 2012 and 2013 were among the mildest on record, which should have resulted in high overwinter survival, especially by fawns. Last year, the statewide deer herd going into the fall had an upper population estimate of 135,000 animals, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, compared to about 125,000 in 2011...

Hunters spend $292 million in Vermont November 8, 2013 Vermont Biz
... The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reports that hunters contribute significantly to the state’s economy and spend more than $292 million in Vermont annually, according to a recent survey by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Census Bureau...

No stampede to deer control program October 26, 2013 Vermont, Burlington Free Press 
... Participation in the online program, which allows property owners to select registered hunters to control overabundant deer on their land, is at best lame. There are no more than 54 landowners statewide enrolled in the program and possibly as few at 31.  In contrast, more than 1,600 hunters have signed up...

Vermont is offering several deer hunting Ocrober 3, 2013 FOX44 Local News 
...  Vermont's deer herd has benefited from two relatively mild winters in a row... Vermont's regular hunting licenses, including a November rifle season buck tag, costs $22 for residents and $100 for non-residents...

... Vermont hunters harvested a total of 13,757 deer in 2012, a 13-percent increase over 2011. The increase was expected due to a mild winter and a reduction in the number of muzzleloader season antlerless deer permits issued the year before ... Bowhunters took 24 percent of the harvest ..

Hunters Reminded of Rules on Importing Deer, Elk September 18, 2013 Vermont,  Vermont.gov
     Hunters traveling outside Vermont to hunt deer or elk need to keep in mind that the regulation designed to protect Vermont's wild deer from chronic wasting disease remains in effect, according to a reminder from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.  Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal disease of the brain and nervous system in deer and elk. Abnormal prion proteins produce lesions in the brain that cause disorientation and emaciation in conjunction with other abnormal behaviors. For the latest information on CWD, check these websites: www.vtfishandwildlife.com and www.cwd-info.org.
     The potential exists for CWD prion proteins to be introduced to the environment through the bodily fluids of CWD-positive ungulates and then persist in the environment for extended periods of time. Thus, hunters are reminded to help reduce the risk of disease transmission through limiting the utilization of real deer urine attractants while hunting.  Vermont rules on importing and possession of deer or elk from areas with chronic wasting disease (CWD) and captive hunt areas or farms:
-It is 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, or from captive hunt or farm facilities with the following exceptions:
- Meat that is cut up, packaged and labeled with hunting license information and not mixed with other deer or elk during processing; - Meat that is boneless; - Hides or capes with no part of the head attached; - Clean skull-cap with antlers attached; - Antlers with no other meat or tissue attached; - Finished taxidermy heads; - Upper canine teeth with no tissue attached.
     Vermont's CWD importation regulations currently apply to hunters bringing in deer or elk carcasses from the following states and provinces:  Alberta, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
“CWD is a very persistent disease that can resurface after years of absence,” said Adam Murkowski, Vermont’s deer project leader. “Vermont’s CWD regulation is designed to help prevent CWD from infecting Vermont’s deer and the drastic de-population measures that would be required if it appears here.”
     “Hunters bringing deer or elk from any of the CWD-listed states or provinces into or through Vermont simply have to get them processed according to the regulation before doing so.”
A fine of up to $1,000 and loss of hunting and fishing licenses for one year are applicable for each deer or elk imported illegally.

State still seeking public input on deer management September 2, 2013 Vermont, Addison County Independent
... The Vermont Constitution has guaranteed the right to hunt and fish since 1777 ... public hearings will continue through 2014 and all are open to local news media. One meeting was televised and streamed live on the Internet and we plan to continue to do so for future hearings.  This level of public input is rare among state wildlife agencies, where deer management decisions are typically made internally ... 

A deer management strategy based on sound science and public input August 7, 2013, Vermont, .vtdigger.org, by Adam Murkowski, deer project leader for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
... The department recently began a two-year Comprehensive Deer Management Review Process ... through an unprecedented and widely publicized effort that has included online surveys, eight public hearings and the opportunity to serve on one of three regional working groups. The working groups are currently working to analyze public input and scientific data ...The Fish & Wildlife Department gathers a tremendous amount of information on Vermont’s deer herd. ... all of which can be found at vtfishandwildlife.com ...

Vermonters not fond of fawn policy July 20, 2013 Vermont, Rutland Herald
... The commissioner of the Fish and Wildlife Department has reaffirmed his commitment to the controversial policy against rehabilitating and releasing fawns in the state, saying the issue is “non-negotiable.” ... Pat Ferguson ... said in the Thursday article that she has been rehabilitating deer in New York since 1995 and that not only is it possible, but she has had a 95 percent success rate with the deer she released...

Furtive fawn response bypasses state policy July 18, 2013 Vermont, Rutland Herald
... A kind of Underground Railroad for orphaned fawns has formed in Vermont in response to a policy adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Department.  ... Adam Murkowski is the deer project leader at the department. He said the reason for the policy is that fawns can’t be rehabilitated and returned to the wild because they need their mother’s guidance to survive. [wildlife rehabilitators around the country routinely rescue and return fawns to the wild] ... 

Antler rule points to buck survival issue July 13, 2013 Vermont,  BurlingtonFreePress.com
... As expected, the two-point antler regulation enacted in 2005 has resulted in more 2 ½-year-old bucks in Vermont. But it came with an unexpected side effect: fewer bucks age 3 ½ and older, which are now also more likely to have smaller antlers than before the so-called spikehorn ban was instituted...

More antlerless deer permits available this season July 12, 2013 Vermont, vtdigger.org
... “The past two winters have been below average in severity, and these conditions are beneficial to Vermont’s deer herd.” Adam Murkowski, deer project manager, said in a news release. “Therefore, it is important that hunters continue to harvest antlerless deer to ensure the number of deer remains appropriate."...

Final two deer meetings to be held May 20, 2013 Vermont, WCAX
... The next hearing is Tuesday in Lyndonville. And the final hearing will be June 5 in Manchester. [Comment from reader]:  I'm not 100% sure but this meeting might actually be about the final two deer in Vermont.

...  a $4.3 million general fund appropriation to the cash-strapped Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, which is almost double last year’s allocation ...  Among its many provisions, H. 101 will ...  Repeal the reimbursement for deer and bear damage to crops, livestock and bee hives, so that Fish and Wildlife will only have to pay claimants who derive at least 50 percent of their income from farming...

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department will host the final two of five annual deer management public hearings on Tuesday, May 21 in Lyndonville and Wednesday, June 5 in Manchester. Three earlier hearings were held in Springfield, Montpelier and St Albans. ...

Local waters, and fishing, heating up, deer population April 27, 2013 Vermont, BurlingtonFreePress.com
...  the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board tentatively approved ... a 15 percent increase in permits.  After two consecutive winters that were among the mildest on record, wildlife biologists expect the deer herd will number about 130,000 going into the fall, which is a 4 percent increase from last year ...The statewide winter severity index – a measure of days when the temperature drops below zero and snow depths exceed 18 inches – was 19.8 this year. While that’s up from 2012’s record low of about 11, it’s still well below the long-term average of 49.3 ...

... On Thursday, April 11, at 8 p.m. on Vermont Public Television, Lawrence Pyne will host “Deer Herd Management: An Outdoor Journal Special.” The live program, airing on VPT and webcast on vpt.org, is an opportunity for the public to ask questions ... [see video below]

Lawrence Pyne hosts this live program inviting the public to learn about and make comments on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's new comprehensive deer management review plan. The department's deer project leader, Adam Murkowski; commissioner Patrick Berry; and Brian Ames, chair of the Fish & Wildlife board, will take viewer calls and emails. - April 12, 2013



Hunters set sights on Vt. deer issues March 29, 2013 Vermont, St. Albans Messenger
...  concerns raised at the meeting last night primarily surrounded too many coyote in the woods, and what’s become known as the controversial “spikehorn rule,” which the state implemented in hopes of increasing its pool of larger bucks. There also was discussion of chronic wasting disease, which, it appears, is spreading from state to state...


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Vermont data:  Vermont Fish and Wildlife estimate the deer population will reach about 135,000  pre-hunt  in 2014 and about 130,000 in 2013 (115,000 to 145,000), up about 4 percent from 2012 after three consecutive mild winters. An April, 2014, estimate for the herd at 120,000 reflects the harsh 2013-14 winter conditions.  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-1900s and could support more deer ..."   
     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 blanced herd demographics, including doe harvest.  [Source] Vermont has successfully implemented antler restrictions that have improved the age balance of the bucks. 
     Slightly more than 6,000 black bears in 2012 and 2013.

Other useful links:
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Deer Hunting Regulations and Information
A Report on the Health of Vermont's EnvironmentThe Vermont Agency of Natural Resources 2011
Mission Statement: To protect and conserve our fish, wildlife, plants, and teir habitats for the people of Vermont.

From Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department:" Vermonters care about wildlife. In fact, a new national survey found that our state ranks number two in terms of the percentage of a state's population participating in wildlife-based recreation. That is why, from its earliest foundation, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has provided a broad range of services and programs to protect and conserve the state's diverse fish and wildlife resources."

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.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife - 2012 Deer Herd Policy


Vermont Fish and Wildlife Pressroom, direct link to page below.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Press Room