Vermont weigh stations report more deer and hunters

Published: Oct. 18, 2020 at 7:48 PM EDT
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NEW HAVEN, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont archery deer season is in full swing and wildlife officials say they are seeing more hunters this year.

Both Rack n' Reel in New Haven and the Buxton Country Store in Orwell are biological weigh stations for the state of Vermont. Biological weigh stations deliver stats on deer that hunters register at their businesses directly to the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Both businesses say they’ve seen more deer brought into their weigh stations this year during archery season. Jessey Chapin with Rack n' Reel says they enjoy working directly with the department. “We give them our numbers. We kind of tell them what we see between buck and doe ratios," Chapin said. “They then kind of go on... to see if they want to make any changes for the next season.”

Chapin says they’ve seen more than double the number of doe being reported into their weigh station compared to bucks. "I bet you we have close to 130 doe to 35 bucks ratio just in bow season,” he said.

Buxton Country Store owner Andy Buxton says this archery season, more hunters and deer are coming through the door. “I have seen an increase, not a huge increase, but a large increase, substantial increase from last year in the number of deer being reported,” he said.

The business owners credit the state’s bigger bag limit, which now allows hunters to take a total of four deer each year rather than three, but only one buck. The new law went into effect last August to better handle the deer population. The weigh stations say they expect this trend in greater turnout will continue into youth weekend.

“I feel as a generalization, youth hunting is coming back," Buxton said. "It’s becoming more popular, and in my opinion, that’s a great thing.”

Young hunters say they’re looking forward to next Saturday and Sunday. Some, like Connor Spencer and Caleb Foster, say they already have a few spots picked out. “This year it’s going to be pretty good," Spencer said. “I’ve seen some nice deer on trail cam.”

“Yeah, I have a lot of tracks that I’ve been seeing on the trails I plan to use,” Foster said.

The Rack n' Reel and Buxton Country Store owners say they’re curious to see if the bag limit will be tightened or loosened based on the number of deer taken in total this year.

Read about Fish and Wildlife’s current hunting regulations.

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Wildlife Watch: 2020 brings big changes to Vermont deer hunting seasons

Vermont antlerless deer lottery winners announced

Wildlife Watch: Keeping track of Vermont’s deer population

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