Biologists expect bigger deer this hunting season

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                                                   (Host) If you live in one of the more rural parts of the state you’re likely to see a lot more activity in the woods starting tomorrow.

Saturday is the opening day of Vermont’s rifle season for deer hunters.

And Vermont’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is expecting it to be a good year for hunters.

The state instituted new regulations on taking spike horn deer – or yearling bucks – in 2005. That meant a drop in the total number of deer taken that year.

Since 2005 the number of deer taken has been on the rise and hunters have been seeing bigger, more mature bucks. The department says the past two mild winters have helped more deer survive. But officials are still monitoring the herd.

Wildlife biologists will be at 17 checkpoints this weekend collecting data. Biologist Shawn Haskell says they’re looking for survival rates and the age of the herd, and they’re asking for help from hunters.

(Haskell) "Throughout the season, it’s up to the hunter’s choice. When they go to a check station without the biologist there, the rest of the 14 days of the season, they can send in their teeth for aging and that just adds to our database."

(Host) Reporting stations will have pre-paid envelopes for hunters to use. The teeth are then sent to a lab where the rings are counted to determine the animal’s age.

If you’re not a hunter, Haskell says you should take proper precautions this weekend.

(Haskell) "I think opening season is probably has the heaviest hunting pressure, so if there’s any one weekend you want to rent movies, that might be it. But really, people are pretty good about wearing orange and if you do go out and about there’s no reason not to."

(Host) Rifle season lasts through November 25th.


Photo:Wayne LaRoche

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