Vermont hunters harvested 13,757 whitetails in 2012, including 8,074 antlered bucks and 5,684 antlerless deer. Hunters took 94 bucks that field dressed over 200 pounds (or over 256 pounds on the hoof). Harvest numbers were similar to 2011.
The number of deer in the Green Mountain State continues to grow, and officials predict another good hunting season this fall.
“Hunters will have good hunting opportunities throughout Vermont in 2013,” said Adam Murkowski, deer project leader for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. “Long-term management strategies aimed at keeping the deer population healthy, coupled with consecutively mild winters have led to population growth and ample hunting opportunities throughout Vermont.”
There are no deer hunting regulations changes to report. Murkowski did note that the Department has begun conducting a comprehensive deer management review, which may result in regulation changes for the 2014 or 2015 deer hunting seasons.
Due to well-interspersed forests and rugged terrain that provides deer with ample cover, mature antlered bucks can be found throughout the state. The age structure of deer in the Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) comprising the Green Mountains and WMUs in the Northeast Kingdom contain the highest proportion of older deer. In addition, these areas provide hunters with quality hunting experiences in remote areas, particularly when there’s good tracking snow on the ground. Public land accessible to hunters is abundant throughout these regions.
While rutting activity peaks in mid-November, many does are still getting bred in early December, which coincides with the late muzzleloader season.