The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board voted on the Fish & Wildlife Department’s proposal for antlerless deer hunting for 2017 at its meeting on April 26 in Montpelier.
“We are recommending an increase in muzzleloader season antlerless deer permits this year to account for the increase in the deer population following another mild winter in 2017,” said Nick Fortin, deer project leader for the Fish & Wildlife Department. “Much of Vermont has experienced two consecutive very mild winters. As a result, the recommendation is intended to stabilize or reduce deer densities in some parts of the state while allowing for moderate population growth in other areas.”
The department’s annual recommendation is based on population estimates, biological data, winter severity data, and deer sighting rates reported by hunters, as well as input from game wardens, foresters and the public.
“We expect the statewide deer population to be about 157,000 prior to the start of the 2017 deer seasons,” said Fortin.
Hunting for antlerless deer is proposed statewide for the Oct 7 to Nov. 3 and Dec. 2-10 archery season. Last year, hunters took 2,595 antlerless deer during the archery season.
One deer of either sex would be allowed for youths during the Nov. 4-5youth weekend hunt. Youths took 885 antlerless deer during the 2016 youth weekend hunt.
The Dec. 2-10 muzzleloader season would have 24,500 antlerless permits distributed in 18 of Vermont’s 21 Wildlife management Units (WMU), which is estimated to result in 3,608 antlerless deer being taken. The proposal is open to public comment until May 23.
The department will hold two more deer hunting public hearings in May: one on May 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at Randolph Union High School, and one May 16 at Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester.
The Fish & Wildlife Board will vote again at their May 24 board meeting on the proposal.