Vermont manages our deer population with the goal of keeping a consistently healthy and age-diverse herd across the state, despite changes in weather, habitat and hunting patterns. To assess current deer regulations and management strategies, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is currently undergoing a Comprehensive Deer Management Review Plan.
While the plan establishes deer population objectives, it also allows for changes to hunting seasons and regulations based on the desires of Vermont’s hunters. The Fish & Wildlife Department wants to include Vermont citizens in this process as a way of being responsive to our stakeholders. The department, working with the Fish and Wildlife Board, is considering issues that affect our management decisions and how hunters feel about their experience in the field, such as the antler point restriction and the current makeup of the hunting seasons.
We have employed several strategies to get Vermonters involved in the evaluation process of our deer management program. In order to solicit the input of Vermont stakeholders, the department has:
We have held public forums across the state to meet with citizens in groups both large and small to better foster one-on-one conversations about deer management practices. The surveys we conducted have been used to learn more about hunters in the state—where they live and hunt, their ages and gender, what their participation rates are, and their level of satisfaction. We also formed regional working groups to solicit and interpret deer hunter input regarding current season structures and harvest regulations for the regions they represent.
The Next Steps
The results from these meetings, surveys, and working groups will be used to gauge Vermonters’ preferred management options and to help guide deer management strategies in the future. All topics are up for discussion, including various season lengths and dates, antler restrictions, and bag limits. The Fish & Wildlife Department will evaluate public input to help determine how to best achieve management goals.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.