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Vt. considers changes to deer hunting season - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. considers changes to deer hunting season

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

The harvesting of Vermont's deer herd may soon see some big changes.

"It's kind of been about 30 or 40 years since we've really looked at all the regulations that we have for hunting in the state of Vermont for deer," said Mark Scott, the director of Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

So, Fish & Wildlife is asking for help from its biggest resource: the hunters.

"We're taking a step back and getting public input on how they like to hunt deer, when they hunt them, and different interests like that," Scott explained.

This is the second of five meetings where the department is both educating hunters on population data and allowing the hunters to sound off on their wishes for future seasons -- like hunter Robert Richert who suggested allowing landowners to dish out permits to allow some people to hunt on their land.

"It would enable doe harvests on those pockets basically no one else could get to," Richert explained.

Another suggestion: cutting down on the number of deer with just one antler. Right now they can't be bagged.

"We've seen from past years that same genes being passed along," said Dave Root. "There's no way of taking that and harvesting that deer out of the herd."

Scott said the herd needs protecting in some areas and the population is too high in others, so he hopes pairing scientific trends with public input will produce a brand new management plan.

"We can have more older deer on the landscape, most people like bucks and we can do that," Scott explained. "But, that requires us to manipulate these seasons."

Some hunting rules would require a change in the Legislature which could take years and managing a population takes time. Fish & Wildlife says the big picture wouldn't happen until about 2015 but small changes could be in store for the upcoming season.

Scott says the deer herd is on the rise thanks to the warm weather both this winter and in 2012. He says by the fall, there should be about 130,000 deer in Vermont's herd.

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