Barre, VT – Vermont hunters are looking forward to opening day of rifle deer season this Saturday, November 12 — 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.

Vermont’s traditionally popular 16-day November rifle season begins on Saturday, November 12, and ends Sunday, November 27. One legal buck with at least one antler having two or more points may be taken anywhere in the state.

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 because of losses during the winter, 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.”

Planning Your Hunt

The 2010 Vermont Deer Harvest Report, available from the Fish and Wildlife Department’s web site (www.vtfishandwildlife.com) has a wealth of information to help plan a hunt, including the number of deer taken in each town. Click on “Hunting and Trapping” and “Big Game” to download a copy of the report.

Vermont’s regular hunting licenses, including a November rifle season buck tag and a bear tag, still cost only $22 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 and Wildlife’s web site and from license agents statewide.

Contact the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department for more information. Telephone 802-241-3700 or Email fwinformation@state.vt.us.

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