By RUSSELL JONES

VERMONT — Hunters are gearing up for the start of Vermont’s 16-day rifle deer season that begins Saturday, Nov. 16 and ends Sunday, Dec. 1. 

A hunter may take one buck during this season with at least one antler having two or more points one inch or longer. A point must be one inch or longer from base to tip. The main beam counts as a point, regardless of length. 

Spike-antlered deer, mostly yearlings, are protected during this season.

“The greatest numbers of deer continue to be in the southwestern and northwestern regions of the state,” said Deer Project Leader Nick Fortin. “The Green Mountains and Northeast Kingdom offer more of a big woods experience, with fewer, but often larger, deer.”     

Vermont’s regular hunting licenses, including a November rifle season buck tag and a late season bear tag (for Nov. 16-24), cost $26 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. 

Fish and Wildlife urges hunters to wear a fluorescent orange hat and vest to help maintain Vermont’s hunting season safety record.

A 2019 Vermont Deer Hunting Guide can be downloaded from the department’s website at vtfishandwildlife.com. The guide includes a map of the Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), season dates, regulations, and other helpful information.

Hunters who get a deer on Nov. 16 or 17 can help Vermont’s deer management program by reporting their deer at one of the biological check stations listed below that will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., unless the store closes earlier:

•Buck Stop Mini Mart – Bennington

•Jericho General Store – Jericho

•St. Marie’s – Swanton

•The Village Market & Deli – Bakersfield

•Wright’s Enterprises – Newport

•Keith’s Country Store – Pittsford

•R&L Archery – Barre

•Guilford Country Store – Guilford

•Barnie’s Market – Concord

Biologists are collecting middle incisor teeth from the November season deer to help estimate population size, growth rate, health and mortality rates, and to evaluate regional differences in ages of bucks.  Each tooth will be cross-sectioned to accurately determine the deer’s age and the results will be posted on the Fish and Wildlife website next spring. 

Hunters who don’t make it to a biological reporting station are also asked to provide a tooth from their deer. Obtain a tooth envelope from your regular reporting agent.  Remove one of the middle incisor teeth, being careful to include the root.  Place the tooth in the envelope and give it to the reporting agent.