January 27, 2023

One Year Later, Hunters Content

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Last year about this time, Vermont hunters were mad as hell and they weren’t going to take it any longer. They showed up in huge numbers to rake the Fish and Game, including the game board, over the coals and make their demands heard. Fish and Game officials listened, went to work and implemented much of what the hunters were asking for.

Last year’s meetings came on the heels of a deer hunting season that was described as a disaster. There were only 5,589 antlered deer taken in 2004 compared to 10,235 four years prior to that.

Vermont officials went to work and instituted some changes and the result this past season was 3,944 bucks harvested. So why weren’t the hunters out in force again this year? One can only speculate.

After last season, the following changes were put into place.

  • Imposed antler restrictions statewide, protecting spikehorn bucks, almost always 1-1/2-year-old males.
  • Imposed a two-deer annual limit, down from the previous three-year limit.
  • Imposed no antlerless deer hunting for bow hunters in some Wildlife Management Units.
  • Banned the baiting and feeding of whitetail deer.
  • Speculation would make one believe that hunters are willing to wait out the results before storming the Fish and Game Department again. Today, hunters are more knowledgable about what is going on in the wildlife management world and the difficulties officials face in doing their jobs. One of the biggest affects in Vermont, like every other state in the Union, is loss of habitat, mostly due to development.

    Hunters are content for the moment to ride it out knowing that the changes that they demanded will not begin to see real results for another year or two at best. If they really want to see more and bigger deer, they got to give the changes a chance to produce.

    Coming off one of the mildest winters on record, hunters are that much more optimistic about what they will find when the go back into the woods next November.

    Tom Remington