Vermont Deer Population:  An estimated 140,000 deer in 2023, 128,000 deer in 2022, 133,000 in 2021,140,000 in early 2020, and 130,000 in early 2019.   About 152,500 prior to the 2018 hunt; 150,000 deer prior to the 2017 hunt, and about 142,500 before the 2016 hunt, up from about 120,000 deer prior to hunting in 2015 a result of the mild 2015-16 winter.  A harsh 2018-19 winter took a toll on deer.  About 135,000 deer in 2014.  Peak population of about 250,000 in 1963.

Vermont Deer News

Why hunt moose to save them from winter ticks? Experts see few other ways to stem the grisly pests May 10, 2024 Vermont, WVNY on MSN

... for this year’s season, administered exclusively in Essex County. The allotment is expected to cull about 10% of the population there and bring density closer to one moose per square mile ... Experts have probed other ways of defeating the ticks ... but those solutions are still being studied ...

Vermont 2023 Deer Hunt March 21, 2024

... The number of deer taken in the 2023 hunt declined by 3.5% from 2022 from 1746 to 16,845.  On Youtube, watch a Presentation by VT Fish & Wildlife biologist Nick Fortin on the status of Vermont's deer population and results of 2023 white-tailed deer hunting seasons ..,

Public hearings on deer and moose to be held starting March 18 February 28, 2024  Bennington Banner

... Pre-recorded videos of the moose and deer presentations that will be given at these meetings will be available by going to the “Public Hearings Schedule” on Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s home page at

Georgia man charged with possession of live wild deer  Saint Albans Messenger January 11, 2024 Vermont, Saint Albans Messenger

... charged with possession of a wild whitetail deer last month by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department... “We were told to euthanize the deer because of a disease risk. We weren’t able to release it back into the wild,”  [Lt. Robert Currier] ...

Vermont's Preliminary Report on 2023 Deer Seasons January 4, 2024 Vermont Fish and Wildlife

... The final number of deer taken in Vermont’s 2023 hunting seasons will not be available for a few more weeks, but the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says the final tally will be a little over 16,800 deer... The buck harvest will be close to 9,800, which will be up from 2022 (9,619) and the previous 3-year average of 9,336.  The final antlerless deer harvest will be around 7,000, which will be down from the previous 3-year average (8,101)...

Here's where Vermont's deer population hunkers down for winter December 28, 2023 Vermont Public

... Temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and snow depth above 18 inches ... In order to survive these conditions, deer congregate under dense, mature softwood trees like hemlock, balsam fir, red spruce, and white pine. These conifers block wind and snow ...

Wildlife crossing to connect Green Mountains moves forward  December 8, 2023 Vermont, VTDigger

... In western Waterbury, two large sections ... are separated by the busiest stretch of highway in Vermont. North and south of the roads, the forests are home to deer, moose ... 

Deer hunting season opens on Saturday and thousands will head for the woods November 8, 2023 Vermont, Yahoo

... There are an estimated 140,000 deer in Vermont, with heavy concentrations in the Champlain Valley, where the living is easy and most of the land is private. [Nick Fortin, deer and moose project leader] ... while hunters are limited to one buck during the regular rifle hunting season, they can take up to four deer total if they hunt during the other seasons ..,

Hunters Asked to Help Collect Deer Teeth November 3, 2023 Vermont, The Eagle Times

... Biologists are collecting middle incisor teeth from all regular season bucks to evaluate regional differences in ages and antler characteristics as well as to help estimate population size, growth rate, health and mortality rates...

Fish & Wildlife asks deer hunters to report wildlife sightings November 1, 2023 Vermont Business Magazine

... The easiest way to complete the survey is to use the Deer Hunting Log feature in the Vermont Outdoors mobile app.  The app allows hunters to track their effort and wildlife sightings each day during any of the 2023 deer hunting seasons. ... 

Annual moose hunt aims to help stabilize population October 29, 2023 Vermont, Valley News

... There are estimated to be 2,100 moose in the state...  ticks are causing birth rates to rapidly fall. Half of the area’s calves die each winter, primarily due to heavy loads of winter ticks..,

Video of injured deer sparks calls for animal cruelty charge for Vermont hunter October 19, 2023 Vermont, YAHOO!News

... a hunter petting an illegally shot and injured deer, and saying “good boy” before killing the animal ... The 21-year-old hunter shown in the video is facing a slew of deer poaching and other charges ...

Hunters Urged to Help Keep Deer Healthy October 13, 2023 Vermont,

... deer lures containing deer urine or other deer bodily fluids are prohibited... The infectious agent of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal disease of deer, is a mutant protein or “prion” that can be passed in urine...

Vermont Poacher Required to Forfeit His Car After Shooting Fake Deer October 6, 2023 Yahoo

... game wardens saw the driver of the black Buick using lights to illuminate two deer in the dark. Eventually, the driver shot the buck—a dummy wildlife officials often use to catch would-be poachers—with a crossbow...

Wildlife activists want animal cruelty charge applied to deer poaching case September 22, 2023 Vermont, VTDigger

...  shot a large buck with a crossbow last fall. The hunter maimed the animal but did not kill it until later that night — and not before taking pictures and videos of himself petting the animal and calling it a “good boy.” The videos, obtained by VTDigger, show the buck panting and bleeding...

Hunters Reminded of Rules on Importing Deer, Elk August 28, 2023 Vermont Fish and Wildlife

... Hunters traveling outside Vermont to hunt deer or elk need to keep in mind that a regulation designed to protect Vermont's wild deer from chronic wasting disease remains in effect ...

Spike in bear population has sightings up in some Vermont communities August 22, 2023 WCAX

...  Experts say the bear population has maintained a steady 4,000 to 6,000 bears in the state over the last 10 years. This year, Fish and Wildlife has also received more calls from places where bears typically aren’t seen..,

Fish & Wildlife is responsible for a healthy, diverse ecosystem June 5, 2023 Vermont, VTDigger

... In 1878, 17 white-tailed deer were brought in from New York and stocked in Bennington and Rutland counties... In 1971, the Fish & Game Department gains support for deer management after the movie “Winter Bottleneck,” showing deer die-off in winter, was produced ...

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, board to hold deer hearings May 9 and 17 April 28, 2023 Vermont, Manchester Journal

...“Recent management efforts have successfully balanced deer numbers with what the habitat can support in many parts of Vermont,” said Nick Fortin, deer and moose project leader for the Fish and Wildlife Department, in a statement. “As a result, the 2023 recommendation aims to maintain current deer numbers in most of the state.” ..,

Vermont 2022 Deer Hunt April, 2023 Fish and Wildlife Department

... Hunters harvested a total of 17,461 deer during the Vermont deer seasons in 2022 ... The total harvest was 2 percent more than the previous 3-year average of 17,133, while the buck harvest of 9,619 was 1 percent more

than the previous 3-year average of 9,482 bucks. The total harvest was 10 percent more than the 15,858 deer harvested in 2021, while the total buck harvest was 5 percent more than the 2021 buck harvest of 9,133 ...

2022's Bountiful Harvest: Vermont Fish & Wildlife Discusses Deer Health and Harvest Counts March 29, 2023 Vermont, Eagle Times

... Fortin [Wildlife Biologist and Deer Project Leader] said the deer population in the state is stable for a variety of reasons.  “The buck portion of our harvest has been very stable for the last seven years,” he said. “It’s the most stable it has been since the 1930s. Just over 1,150 deer [harvested] during youth weekend is a continuation in a long-term decline...

The Future of Vermont Moose Herds March 29, 2023 Eagle Times

... “Because moose don’t groom themselves like most animals do, they wait until there is enough irritation,” Fortin explained.  “Less moose means less winter ticks,” Fortin said. “The only way to control winter ticks is to control the moose population. Our recommendation is to issue 180 permits.” ..,

Vermont Deer News and Information Archive by TopicPopulation and Management, Deer in the News, Disease

Vermont Deer:     A state estimate of 140,000 deer in 2023 and 128,000 deer in 2022.  The number of deer taken in the 2023 hunt declined by 3.5% from 2022.  The 2022 mast crops was poor after a good 2021 crop, a negative for deer population survival over winter, but good for hunters as deer were searching for food.    The deer kill from the 2022-23 season was 1 percent above the previous 3-year average.  As explained In the 2023 deer meetings, the quality of deer habitat has declined over the last several decades.  The state reports that the deer are generally balanced with the habitat and plans to maintain current populations in 2023.

Data and Sources for the Chart Below

The state estimated a 5% drop in the deer population for 2021 putting the population at 133,000.  The state noted that 2021 hunting conditions were poor with warm temperatures and the good mast crop that reduced deer movement. The 2020-21 winter was mild allowing populations to rise, but hunting data indicate a big decline.   The state estimated 140,000 deer in early 2020 after a mild 2019-20 winter.    Regulations were changed in 2020 to increase the deer kill and more hunters participated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 About 130,000 deer in early 2019.  An estimated 150,000 to 155,000, or about 152,500 deer before the 2018 hunt and 150,000 before the 2017 hunt.  The harsh 2018-19 winter reduced the population.  Deer numbers are highest in the western regions and other valley areas.

The deer population was estimated at 140,000 to 145,000 deer prior to the 2016 hunting season.  The exceptionally mild winter in 2015-16, 2016-17  and 2017-18 allowed the deer population to grow, more antlerless permits were issued in 2016 in anticipation of the higher population although oak mast production was low. 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 was 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. Hunting contributed about $260 million to the state economy. 

The goal of the department at this time was 13 to 18 deer per square mile, or 102,000 - 141,000 deer. This was 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 was about 19 percent.  There were about 66,000 deer hunters in 2012.  Hunter numbers had been on a decline for several decades.  

A population estimate of 130,000 in 2009 and 125,000 in 1990.

Graph below from Vermont Fish and Wildlife

1900 to 2023.

 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.  

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."  From Vermont Fish and Wildlife.

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) was detected for the first time in 2021 in several counties in the Hudson Valley.

History  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 were nearly extirpated from the state by the 1870s.  In 1878 a restocking effort brought 17 whitetail deer from New York into the state.  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]   A harsh winter in the early 1979-80 killed about half the herd, more than 60,000 deer.  The population was about 120,000 in the 1970s.

Fawn Rescue  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.

Elk:  About 100 to 120 [captive elk] in Vermont in 2017, no wild elk.

Slightly more than 6,000 black bears in 2012 and 2013.

Moose:  About 2,100 moose in 2023 when about half the calves die from winter ticks.  The population in 2019 to 2021 is estimated at 2,123.  The state recommends reducing the population to reduce the tick population that are currently harming Vermont's moose.  An estimated 1,650 in 2018.  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]  In 2020 the state proposed hunting more moose to reduce their population density thereby reducing the tick population that has been devastating to their population.

Coyotes, 6,000 to 9,000 in 2017.

Mountain lions, no confirmed sightings in recent years, but many reports that may be bobcats.

Bear  In 2023 an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 bears, about stable over 10 years.