Preliminary Vt. deer hunting numbers released

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Vermont wildlife officials say preliminary numbers indicate hunters had a successful deer season.

Officials say a total of 15,949 deer were harvested during the 2017 seasons, the third highest since 2002. That breaks down into 3,585 for archery season, 1,461 in youth season, 7,272 in rifle season, and 3,631 in muzzleloader season. They say the legal buck harvest was 8 percent more than the previous three-year average.

The higher harvest, officials say, was due to the mild winters of 2016 and 2017 which allowed more deer to survive.

The 2017 final numbers are set to be released in early February.