Vermont Hunters Set for Season-Opener

Vermont hunters are looking forward to opening day of rifle deer season on Nov. 10 and the possibility of more and older bucks in the deer population due to an antler restriction regulation put in place a few years ago.

Vermont’s traditionally popular 16-day November rifle season this year is Nov. 10-25. One legal buck with at least one antler having two or more points may be taken anywhere in the state.

The antler regulation for a “legal buck” is designed to recruit more bucks and older bucks into the population. Hunters may take one buck with at least one antler having two or more points one inch or longer. Spike-antlered deer are protected except during the youth deer weekend. A point must be one inch or longer from base to tip. The main beam counts as a point, regardless of length.

“Vermont’s pre-hunt deer population is estimated at approximately 125,000 animals this year with the greatest numbers of deer found in the southwest, east-central, and northwestern regions of the state,” said Adam Murkowski, Deer Project Leader for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “Deer populations have benefited from excellent survival during the mildest winter recorded over the last four decades and good fawning conditions during the spring and summer.”

Planning Your Hunt
The 2011 Vermont Deer Harvest Report, available from the Fish & Wildlife Department’s web site ( has a wealth of information to help plan a hunt, including the number of deer taken in each town.

Click on “Hunting and Trapping” and “Big Game” to download a copy of the report.

Vermont’s regular hunting licenses, including a November rifle season buck tag and a bear tag, still cost only $22 for residents and $100 for nonresidents. Hunters under 18 years of age get a break at $8 for residents and $25 for nonresidents. Licenses are available on Fish and Wildlife’s web site and from license agents statewide.

Vermont FWD says antlerless deer hunting permits for the Dec. 1-9 muzzleloader deer season will be mailed to recipients in early November. The department cautions, however, that the permits are in the form of a postcard – so if you receive one, but sure to put it in a safe place until December.

Hunters who will be receiving the muzzleloader season antlerless deer permits are listed on the department’s website ( The Fish and Wildlife Board approved the number of December muzzleloader permits at 12,425 for 15 of the state’s 24 Wildlife Management Units.

“The antlerless permit allocation represents a conservative approach to antlerless deer hunting this fall,” Murkowski said. “Deer herds throughout the state are at or below population objectives. Thus, the number of muzzleloader season antlerless permits for this year will allow for slow growth in the deer herd throughout much of the state.”

Biologists expect hunters who receive the permits will take about 2,200 antlerless deer in the muzzleloader season.

“The winter of 2011-2012 was the mildest recorded in recent decades,” Murkowski said. “It will be important for hunters to continue to manage their local deer herds for deer herd health to ensure the number of deer remains appropriate for the available habitat.”

Contact the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department for more information. Telephone 802-241-3700 or Email