WATERBURY, VT --Vermont hunters are optimistic about the upcoming November rifle and December muzzleloader deer seasons -- and with good reason, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Vermont has more older, bigger bucks after a regulation was enacted in 2005, protecting many yearling bucks.
The antler regulation for a "legal buck" is designed to recruit older bucks into the population. Hunters may take one buck with at least one antler having two or more points one inch or longer, thus, spike-antlered deer are protected. A point must be one inch or longer from base to tip. The main beam counts as a point, regardless of length.
Vermont's deer population is estimated at 125,000 to 150,000 this year with the greatest numbers found in the southwest, east-central, and northwestern regions of the state.
Youth Deer Hunting Weekend Vermont's Youth Deer Weekend is November 6-7, this year, the weekend before the rifle season. A young hunter who has obtained a Vermont hunting license and youth deer tag may take one deer of either sex during youth deer hunting weekend. Anyone under 16 years of age who has successfully completed a hunter safety course and purchased the required license may obtain a free youth deer hunting tag to participate in Vermont's special youth hunt.
The young hunter must be accompanied by an unarmed adult over 18 years of age who holds a Vermont hunting license. The adult may accompany up to two young hunters. Landowner permission is required in order to hunt on private land during the youth deer and turkey hunt weekends.
The antler restriction does not apply during Youth Deer Weekend, and biologists hope to measure, weigh, and age deer at 24 check stations across the state. These and other check station locations are available on a map from the department's website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).
Rifle Season Vermont's traditionally popular 16-day November rifle season begins on Saturday, November 13, and ends Sunday, November 28.
The 2009 Vermont Deer Harvest Report, available from the Fish & Wildlife Department's web site has a wealth of information to help plan a hunt, including the number of deer taken in each town. Click on "Hunting and Trapping" and "Big Game" to download a copy of the report.
Vermont hunting licenses, including a buck tag and a bear tag, still cost only $20 for residents and $90 for nonresidents. Hunters under 18 years of age get a break at $8 for residents and $25 for nonresidents. Licenses are available on Fish & Wildlife's web site and from license agents statewide.
Contact the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department for more information at 103 South Main Street, Waterbury, VT 05671-0501. Telephone 802-241-3700 or Emailfwinformation@state.vt.us.
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