Antlerless deer proposal to expand muzzleloader season, hearings May 11 and 16

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The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board recently voted on the Fish & Wildlife Department's proposal for antlerless deer hunting for 2017. Public hearings will be held May 11 in Randolph and May 16 in Manchester. "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 October 7-November 3 and December 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 November 4-5 youth weekend hunt. Youths took 885 antlerless deer during the 2016 youth weekend hunt.

The December 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 Fish & Wildlife Department's antlerless deer hunting proposal for 2017 and the Fish & Wildlife Board's recommended permits by each WMU are on Vermont Fish & Wildlife's website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com(link is external)). Public comments on the proposal may be emailed to ANR.FWPublicComment@Vermont.Gov(link sends e-mail) by May 23, 2017.

The department held three deer hunting public hearings earlier and will hold two more in May. The meetings will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday May 11 at Randolph Union High School, 15 Forest Street, Randolph, VT 05060 and on Tuesday May 16 at Burr and Burton Academy, 57 Seminary Avenue, Manchester, VT 05254.

Source: Department of Fish and Wildlife

Date: 
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 6:30pm