Vermont's rifle deer season starts Saturday

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MONTPELIER — Hunters are gearing up for the start of Vermont's statewide traditionally popular 16-day rifle deer season that begins Nov. 14 and ends Sunday, Nov. 29.

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.

New this year, biologists are collecting middle incisor teeth from rifle season deer in order to evaluate regional differences in ages and antler characteristics of bucks as well as to help estimate population size, growth rate, health, and mortality rates. Each tooth will be cross-sectioned to accurately determine the deer's age, and the results will be posted on the Fish and Wildlife Department's website next spring.

Hunters who don't make it to a biological reporting station are asked to obtain a tooth envelope from their regular reporting agent. Write your name, Conservation ID number and date of kill on it. Remove one of the middle incisor teeth, being careful to include the root. The root of the tooth is needed to age the deer. Place the tooth in the envelope and give it to the reporting agent.

The department is also asking hunters to keep the antlers from their deer at home so they can be examined by Fish & Wildlife personnel after the deer season in order to collect additional biological data on antler development.

"Vermont's pre-hunt deer population is estimated at approximately 120,000 this year with the greatest numbers of deer found in the northwestern, and southwestern regions of the state," said Deer Project Leader Nick Fortin. "With your assistance, we can better evaluate our current management practices and improve our understanding of regional differences in the age-structure and health of the deer herd."

Vermont's regular hunting licenses, including a November rifle season buck tag and a late season bear tag (for Nov. 14-22), cost only $25 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.

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

A 2015 Vermont Deer Hunting Guide can be downloaded from the department's website at www.vtfishandwildlife.com. The guide includes a map of the revised Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), season dates, regulations, and other helpful information.

Contact the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department for more information. Telephone 802-828-1000 or Email fwinformation@state.vt.us.

Hunters who get a deer on opening weekend of rifle season can help Vermont's deer management program by reporting their deer at one of the biological check stations that will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 14 and 15.

(Below are the local places)

Marty's Sports & Gunsmithing, Inc. – Bennington

William's Store – Dorset

C&S Beverage & Dairy – Wilmington


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