By Brent Miller, Senior Director, Northeastern States
On February 27, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department presented a proposal to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board to significantly overhaul certain aspects of the way deer hunting is conducted in the Green Mountain State.
The proposal stems from a multi-year comprehensive analysis of all Vermont deer hunting regulations that examined how to best meet the requests of sportsmen and women, as well as the general public, while still meeting deer management objectives.
Some of the more significant changes in the proposal include:
- Reduce the antlered buck limit to one per hunter annually to encourage additional antlerless harvest while simultaneously improving the age structure of antlered deer;
- Expand the archery season to begin in early October and run through the end of muzzleloader season;
- Establish expanded archery zones (two additional weeks of hunting) to help address localized issues of human-deer conflict;
- Allow crossbows to be used throughout the archery season for all ages;
- Establish a special antlerless-only season;
- Establish a novice season to allow new adult hunters to hunt during the youth season for two years to increase hunter recruitment; and
- Move the youth season to late October to capitalize on more favorable weather conditions which may also help improve hunter recruitment.
From now through Thursday, April 4, a series of six public hearings will be held on this proposal throughout the state. For those unable to attend the hearings, public comments are also being accepted electronically. For additional information on the hearings or on how to submit comments, please refer to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s website.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (11.52%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (11.52%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (64.40%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (12.57%)