Probably no tags for me this year. I'm sure F&W is doing a fine job, but I've got to see some results if I'm going to continue forking over the dough.
My experience in Southeastern, VT where I've lived for the past three years is that I have not even seen a deer of any kind for the past three hunting seasons. I have seen very few deer around in general and I live three miles down a dirt road. I forget how much each combo costs, but it adds up.
I'm probably a below average hunter. I hunted as a teenager ten years ago, and I know the basics, hunting funnels, food sources, stand, still, scent control, camo, preferred foods, etc. then took time off before trying to get back into it three years ago to try and provide some food for the family. I found this website while trying to do some research as to why I am eating tag soup every year. Enough is enough. How many licenses will I buy only to fail? 10, 15, 20???
After reading harvest reports, etc. I've learned is that there are a lot of successful Vermont hunters, but I am not one of them. It boils down to the fact that Vermont is a competitive state to be a hunter. I am just not good enough to even see a deer in this state. So why pay to fail? I mean REALLY???
The guys and gals who know this game, have knowledge and education handed down to them, have access to great hunting grounds, time to scout, and are proficient with their tools will be successful, as long as there is a bare minimum of deer to be found. Also I have found that people around here are not that willing to really share specific helpful info readily, maybe some vague generalities, and with good reason! They don't want me to get their deer! People who don't have all these variables in place cannot expect to be successful, at least not here in Vermont. And that's too bad because I would love to pass this down to my children and be an enthusiastic hunter. (My brother in law lives just outside Baltimore and sees huge bucks on a daily basis on his commute to work)
My plan going forward is to hunt on my own property, where I do not need a license. I have planted about one hundred different mast producing trees and just finished clearing some land which I will plant some kind of ground forage to hunt over next bow season. As of now a few deer come through in the spring to browse the sprouts coming off the stumps of the trees I've cut, but hopefully in about five years the deer should have a major incentive to visit my property in the fall due to the mast, but even if they don't my family will have lots of fresh fruit and nuts.
Just saw the 2010 report and the harvest numbers are up. Nice work! All Vermont deer hunters have my respect, I have no idea how you even find deer.