Deer season begins Saturday, ends Dec. 1

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MONTPELIER — Hunters are gearing up for the start of Vermont's traditionally popular 16-day rifle deer season that begins Saturday and ends Sunday, Dec. 1.

A hunter may take one buck during this season with at least one antler having two or more points one inch or longer. A point must be one inch or longer from base to tip. The main beam counts as a point, regardless of length. Spike-antlered deer, mostly yearlings, are protected during this season.

"The greatest numbers of deer continue to be in the southwestern and northwestern regions of the state," said Vermont Fish & Wildlife deer project leader Nick Fortin. "The Green Mountains and Northeast Kingdom offer more of a big woods experience, with fewer, but often larger, deer."     

Vermont's regular hunting licenses, including a November rifle season buck tag and a late season bear tag (for Nov. 16-24), cost $26 for residents and $100 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.

Fish & Wildlife urges hunters to wear a fluorescent orange hat and vest to help maintain Vermont's hunting season safety record.

A 2019 Vermont Deer Hunting Guide can be downloaded from the department's website at vtfishandwildlife.com. The guide includes a map of the Wildlife Management Units, season dates, regulations, and other helpful information.

Hunters who get a deer on November 16 or 17 can help Vermont's deer management program by reporting their deer at one of the biological check stations listed below that will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., unless the store closes earlier:

Bennington: Buck Stop Mini Mart

Jericho: Jericho General Store

Swanton: St. Marie's

Bakersfield: The Village Market & Deli

Newport: Wright's Enterprises

Pittsford: Keith's Country Store

Barre: R&L Archery

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Guilford: Guilford Country Store

Concord: Barnie's Market

Biologists are collecting middle incisor teeth from November season deer to help estimate population size, growth rate, health, and mortality rates, and to evaluate regional differences in ages of bucks. Each tooth will be cross-sectioned to accurately determine the deer's age, and the results will be posted on the Fish & Wildlife website next spring.

Hunters who don't make it to a biological reporting station are also asked to provide a tooth from their deer. Obtain a tooth envelope from your regular reporting agent. Remove one of the middle incisor teeth, being careful to include the root. Place the tooth in the envelope and give it to the reporting agent.

— Vermont Fish & Wildlife

Reminder: Wear orange for safety

MONTPELIER — Vermont Fish and Wildlife is reminding hunters to wear fluorescent hunter orange.

"Hunting is one of the safest outdoor activities, and it's getting safer thanks to advances in education as well as science," said Nicole Meier, Vermont Fish and Wildlife information and education specialist. "Our volunteer hunter education instructors stress that wearing orange during hunting season is important, and studies prove that wearing fluorescent hunter orange keeps hunters visible to other people in the woods, but it keeps them relatively invisible to deer."

"Every year we should strive to be the safest we can be by wearing at least a hunter orange hat and vest," she added.

Meier says hunters moving into the line of fire of other hunters and mistaking other hunters for game are common causes of the state's accidents.

The time that deer are most active, during the dawn and dusk hours, are times of especially low visibility. You can improve your chances of being seen by other hunters by wearing hunter orange, which can be seen even in low-light situations.

"While it isn't recommended to wear orange during waterfowl and turkey seasons, we certainly still recommend hunter orange when you are going to and from your blind, tree stand or calling spot," said Meier.

While some hunters might be concerned that deer are scared by hunter orange, in fact deer have been shown to be unaffected by the color. A deer's vision is based on movement, patterns and color variations. Unlike humans, deer do not have multiple color receptors in their eyes. They can see color, but their spectrum is limited. This means deer must rely heavily on their ability to detect movement over the ability to interpret color variations and patterns.

Hunting in Vermont continues to be a safe recreational pursuit and hunters can help keep it that way by choosing to wear hunter orange.

— Vermont Fish & Wildlife


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