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‘08 Deer Season Prospects Good... Check-In Stations Ready

Tuesday November 11, 2008

By Mike Cameron

    The overall deer management programs currently being employed and enforced here in the state of Vermont appear to be paying dividends.

    Fall archery hunters have reported seeing more and larger deer.  One long time archer who hunts near Middlebury reported seeing three bucks near his tree stand before he shot a fourth buck a few days later.   Another long time deer hunter from Rutland County said that so far his fall scouting has produced some “excellent results,” meaning that conditions in his area are ripe for a good fall fire arms hunt, including the sighting of several legal bucks in his area.  He reported that browse and mast crops were in good supply in his area.  

    Youth Hunting Weekend was this past weekend and the regular firearms season (rifle) is set for Saturday November 15th through Sunday November 30th.  The Vermont Muzzleloader /Archery Season will follow six days later and will run from December 6th through December 14th 2008.

    To coincide with the hunting activities the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department began their annual Biological Deer Check Station activities on the weekend of November 8th and 9th.  The biologistshave been gathering information about the animals being checked in.  It is an interesting process and the information gleaned from the animals examined provides a multitude of data base material to help manage the deer herd for future generations.

    Biological Check Stations in our circulation area that were open from 9a.m. till 6p.m. on November 8th and 9th 2008 included: Vermont Field Sports in Middlebury,  and Keith’s Country Store in Pittsford.  These are not to be confused with the Big Game Reporting Stations.  The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department web site can provide hunters with a printable map of the reporting stations.

    A small glimpse at some of the bow harvested deer reported at Vermont Field Sports in Middlebury presents a mini-micro glimpse at the trends so far this year here in Addison County.

    Dick, Carl and Greg reported that as of this article, the bow harvest has been even with and perhaps a bit ahead of last year.  The numbers recorded on bow harvested deer early in the season indicated an average weight of approximately 110-pounds for doe and approximately 130-pounds for bucks reported there early in the bow season.   Looking at the high and lower end of the weight scale, a buck with a 10 point rack, weighing 170-pounds, and several doe in the 80 plus-pound range were checked in during archery season at VFS.  Field Sports also checked in a moose that was taken in Addison County this year during the Vermont Moose Season.  It tipped the scales at over 550 pounds.

    Mike Keith at Keith’s Country Store in Pittsford reports that they have checked in about the same number of bow harvested deer as last year with one archer tagging a big buck with a 9 point rack that tipped the scales at 190-pounds.  Keith’s is also a Biological Check Station.

    Further South, in the Hydeville/Castelton area Carol Thomson, owner of Mrs. T’s Store on Route 4A located right at the South end of Lake Bomoseen said that her store checked in one large buck and approximately 20 smaller bucks and does during bow season and looks forward to checking in deer during the rifle season as a Big Game Reporting Station.  

    With the rifle season coming up, it might be a good idea to consult the rule about what constitutes a “legal buck,” according to the Vermont Fish and Game Laws.  It must have at least three points.

    A spike horn is illegal under current rules.  A deer with two spikes and a point of at least one inch (base to tip) on one of the main beams is legal.  “A broken main beam shall count as a point regardless of length.”  To put it bluntly if you see a spike horn in the scope and can not see that extra point on either side but still touch off on a guess, you are probably in trouble.  Be sure and be safe.  It will save you allot of grief and aggravation not to mention the fine and potential loss of hunting privileges.

    The Vermont deer season is steeped in legend and lore.  We are home to some of the best and most ethical hunters in the country even though every year a small handful of lawbreakers and ego-heads do their best to give the sport a bad name.  Ethical hunting families have passed down Vermont’s hunting heritage from generation to generation.  We who enjoy the sport sometimes have a hard time explaining why that is.  Perhaps it’s that first sliver of daylight on a chilly, breezy, mountain top in the big woods or hunkering into a tree stand after a tough slog into a boggy lowland area on opening morning.  Sharing a good meal with friends at camp or being there with a youngster when they connect with their first deer is not to be understated.  Hunt smart, hunt safe and remember the rules.     

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