Deer Hearings May 21 and June 4 - Update

20 May 2019

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Vermont Fish & Wildlife will hold two more public hearings on deer.

A hearing on May 21 in Bethel will cover the proposed antlerless deer permit numbers for the 2019 hunting seasons as well as the proposed deer hunting regulation changes for 2020.    

A second hearing on June 4 in Hinesburg will cover the proposed deer hunting regulation changes for 2020. Changes include modifying and expanding the timing and duration of the archery hunting season, the creation of a new antlerless deer season, a change to the number of deer that may be taken annually, a new novice hunting season, field dressing requirements for deer, and changes to the current antler-point restriction regime.

Both meetings will also include proposed changes to the rules allowing crossbows to be used by archery hunters when hunting bear, turkey, moose or deer; delete sections of the youth deer weekend and second archery license that are no longer consistent with statute; clarify the bear rule requirements for tags, clarify that although a bear hunter can only harvest one bear during the season, a bear hunter may accompany another hunter with hounds after they have harvested a bear provided that the hunter meets the other requirements of the rule, and requires the submission of bear teeth within 30 days rather than 48 hours. 

The hearings are scheduled for 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. as follows:

Tuesday, May 21 – White River Valley Middle School, 273 Pleasant Street, Bethel, VT 05032

Tuesday, June 4 – Champlain Valley Union High School, 369 CVU Road, Hinesburg, VT 05461

Previous hearings reviewing the 2018 deer hunting seasons and the proposed regulation changes for 2020 were held in Rutland, Montpelier, St. Albans, Bennington, Orleans, and Springfield. 

“Mild or moderate winters from 2016 to 2018 allowed the deer population to increase throughout Vermont,” said Nick Fortin, deer project leader for the Fish & Wildlife Department.  “The winter of 2019 was severe in central and northeastern Vermont, and substantial population reductions are expected in those regions.  The winter was more moderate or even mild in other parts of the state, and little change is expected in the deer populations in those areas.  That includes most of the wildlife management units (WMUs) where deer densities exceeded objectives in 2018.”

“In areas most impacted by winter severity, the recommended permit allocation is 51 percent less than in 2018.  Elsewhere, the permit allocation would be similar to 2018.  The recommendation includes that antlerless deer may be taken in the archery and youth seasons statewide.” 

The department’s annual recommendation is based on population estimates, biological data, winter severity data, and deer sighting rates reported by hunters, as well as input from game wardens, foresters and the public. 

The antlerless deer hunting recommendation for 2019 and the Fish & Wildlife Board’s proposed permits for each WMU are on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website ( under “Board Rules.”  Public comments on the proposal may be emailed to ANR.FWPublicComment@Vermont.Gov  by 3:00 p.m. on May 22, 2019. 

Media Contacts:  Nick Fortin, 802-786-3860; Mark Scott, 802-777-4217


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