Officials with Vermont Fish and Wildlife announced on Tuesday that the state has a new archery record moose, and it belongs to a hunter from Fairfax.
On October 2, Tammy Miller bagged a gigantic bull moose while hunting with a compound bow in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The massive animal weighed 931 pounds and boasted an impressive antler spread of 53 and 3/4 inches. Miller’s behemoth bull easily unseated the current archery record, a 919-pound animal taken by Kevin Rice last year.
Miller, who was hunting with her husband Eric, called it the experience of a lifetime.
“Five weekends of hard scouting enabled us to be hunting in an area with good moose trails and scrapes,” she told wildlife officials. “After being in the area for a few minutes Friday morning, we heard the bull raking branches not far away, but it seemed to be moving away. Eric raked some nearby branches with a moose scapula and called by mouth to imitate another bull moose. Fifteen minutes later the bull appeared about 15 yards away, presenting a nice shot.”
Moose hunts in Vermont are managed through a permit lottery system and only about half of the hunters who receive a permit will harvest a moose. Vermont officials estimate that there are between 3,000 to 5,000 moose in the state.
Under ideal conditions, the population will rise about 20 percent every year, but tick infestations and over-browsing on winter range have led to a decline in recent years. In 2008, Vermont Fish and Game issued over 1,200 hunting permits, but only 363 in 2013. This year the state issued even less, but officials say that the population is in line with their target range.
“A total of 225 regular firearms moose season permits and 40 archery moose season permits were issued for Vermont’s 2015 regulated moose hunt in order to sustain Vermont’s moose population in balance with available habitat,” said Cedric Alexander, Vermont’s moose biologist. “Congratulations to Tammy Miller for a well-planned hunt and taking a new archery record Vermont moose.”
According to the Vermont Big Game Trophy Club, the biggest moose ever taken in the state based on antler size belongs to Robert Dewey Jr., who shot a bull with a gross score of 208 and 7/8 with a 64 3/8 spread in 2002.
Image courtesy Vermont Game and Fish