Barre, Vt –Vermont hunters are looking forward to deer seasons coming in November and December — and with good reason, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Vermont has more older, bigger bucks after a regulation was enacted in 2005, protecting many yearling bucks.

The antler regulation for a “legal buck” is designed to recruit more older bucks into the population. Hunters may take one buck with at least one antler having two or more points one inch or longer. Spike-antlered deer are protected except during the youth deer weekend. A point must be one inch or longer from base to tip. The main beam counts as a point, regardless of length.

“Vermont’s pre-hunt deer population is estimated at 123,000 this year with the greatest numbers of deer found in the southwest, east-central, and northwestern regions of the state,” said Wildlife Director Mark Scott. “This is about 10 percent fewer deer than last year, but it is comfortably within the limits of the deer population goal set in Vermont’s 2010-2020 Big Game Management Plan. Analysis of fawn and buck body weights and reproductive capacity indicates the deer population is in very good condition.”

Youth Deer Hunting Weekend

Vermont’s Youth Deer Weekend is November 5-6, this year, the weekend before the rifle season. A young hunter who has obtained a Vermont hunting license and youth deer tag may take one deer of either sex during youth deer hunting weekend. Anyone 15 years of age or younger who has successfully completed a hunter safety course and purchased the required license may obtain a free youth deer hunting tag to participate in Vermont’s special youth hunt. The tags are available from license agents.

The young hunter must be accompanied by an unarmed adult over 18 years of age who holds a Vermont hunting license. The adult may accompany up to two young hunters. Landowner permission is required in order to hunt on private land during the youth deer and turkey hunt weekends.

The antler restriction does not apply during Youth Deer Weekend, and biologists hope to measure, weigh, and age deer at 24 check stations across the state. These and other check station locations are available on a map from the department’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).

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