In past years - and to some extent even today - this was the time of year where life slowed a bit, as many Vermonters would take time off work to go hunting. For some, that has not changed.
"For the rifle season I hunt all days, from sunrise to sunset," said Dorset resident Howard Coolidge. "The rifle season is my main time. I hunt the first weekend. Then I work Monday, Tuesday, [and] Wednesday then I take the rest of the season off. So it would be 11 days after those three work days." Coolidge, 51, began hunting at the age of eight when he was introduced to the sport by his father and brother who were both avid hunters. Coolidge said that they would begin hunting for small game in September and continue hunting through the end of the year. It's a tradition, Coolidge said, that he has been proud to pass on to his son Bryce.
"My best hunting experience has been the teaching of my own son who has become a phenomenal hunter himself," said Coolidge. "[Those have] probably been my best memories. I've shot a lot of deer in my life, [but] to see him get a deer makes me happy. Since he was old enough to hunt most of my hunting was done around him trying to give him the best opportunity to get a white tailed deer that I possibly
Coolidge said an especially proud moment was seeing Bryce bag an eight point, 195-pound buck in 2005.
Like Coolidge, former assistant headmaster of Burr and Burton Academy, Steve Houghton, grew up around the sport. He is also more partial to rifle season, which begins on Nov. 10 than archery season for deer, which takes place from Oct. 6 through Oct. 28.
"Rifle season has always been special because I grew up hunting with my father and my grandfather," said Houghton. "The first year I shot [a deer] I was 13-years-old. I started hunting at 10 or 11 with my dad and my grandfather."
Although he did say that he was typically able to "sneak out" the first Monday of every hunting season and took time off as best he could when the season came around while he was working at Burr and Burton, he said his hunting time was limited primarily to weekends. With his retirement last year though, Houghton said he expects to spend a bit more time in the woods in the coming years.
Over the years, he said that the pleasure that he gets out of the sport has changed. When he was 13-years-old, Houghton said the allure of sport was just being fortunate enough to be able to bag a deer. But as time progressed, the sport appealed to him in an entirely different way.
"It was a great escape of the rigors of your job that you go through everyday," Houghton said. "You just take in what's out there in the beauty of nature and the realities of work that everyone has to deal with on a regular basis. So as I've gotten older it's just a greater appreciation for what the State of Vermont has to offer."
Houghton is not alone in that regard. Steve Roper of Arlington said it was not the kill itself that appealed to him about the sport, but some of the other aspects of the sport, such as tracking the deer.
"The anticipation of a big buck walking in front of you. That's what you do all your prescouting for. When you get to your stand the anticipation level is enormous. You're excited, but you're also calm. That's what it is. The excitement of the hunt." said Roper. "Just to be out in the woods from daylight right through ... you see all kinds of wildlife and it's really pretty nice to be there. You can contemplate life as it is today and it's really very peaceful."