Antlerless deer proposal voted by F&W board

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife board voted on the Fish & Wildlife Department’s proposal for antlerless deer hunting for 2016 at its monthly meeting on April 20 in Montpelier.

“The number of muzzleloader season antlerless deer permits has increased to account for the expected increase in the deer population following the exceptionally mild winter of 2016,” said Nick Fortin, deer project leader. “The recommendation is intended to allow moderate population growth in most of the state while stabilizing or reducing deer densities in a few areas.”

The department’s annual recommendation is based on population growth estimates, biological data, deer sighting rates reported by hunters, and winter severity data, as well as input from game wardens, foresters and the public.

“We expect the statewide deer population to be 140,000 to 145,000 prior to the start of the 2016 deer seasons,” said Fortin.

Hunting for antlerless deer is proposed statewide for the Oct. 1-28 and Dec. 3-11 archery season. Last year, hunters took 2,618 antlerless deer during the archery season.

One deer of either sex would be allowed for youths during the Nov. 5-6 youth weekend hunt. Youths took 761 antlerless deer during the 2015 youth weekend hunt.

The Dec. 3-11 muzzleloader season would have 19,150 antlerless permits distributed in 16 of Vermont’s 21 WMUs, which is estimated to result in 2,629 antlerless deer being taken. Landowners who post their land may not apply for a muzzleloader landowner antlerless deer permit.

The antlerless deer hunting proposal for 2016 is on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website ( Public comments on the proposal may be emailed to: by may 20.

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 Tuesday, May 10 at the Riverside Middle School Cafeteria; 13 Fairground Road, Springfield; and on Thursday, May 12 at the St. Albans Town Educational Center Cafeteria, 169 South Main Street, St. Albans.

The Fish & Wildlife board will vote again at its May 25 meeting on the antlerless deer hunting proposal. Muzzleloader season antlerless permit applications are scheduled to be available on the Fish & Wildlife Department’s website in early June.

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