Preliminary numbers show 16,479 deer were taken during Vermont’s 2019 deer hunting seasons, the fourth highest total since 2000.
Reports from big game check stations indicate hunters had successful deer seasons in 2019, taking 3,739 deer in archery season, 1,636 in youth season, 7,467 in rifle season, and 3,637 in muzzleloader season.
The 16,479 deer brought home by hunters yielded nearly 3.3 million servings of local, nutritious venison.
“The legal buck harvest of 9,982 was similar to the previous three-year average of 9,833, and it was the third highest buck harvest since 2002,” said Nick Fortin, the department’s deer project leader.
The primary goal of Vermont’s deer management strategy is to keep the deer herd stable, healthy and in balance with available habitat. “Maintaining an appropriate number of deer on the landscape ensures deer and the habitats that support them remain in good condition and productive,” said Fortin. “A strong buck harvest following the relatively severe winter of 2019 clearly demonstrates the value of keeping the deer population in balance with its habitat.”
Each year the department operates biological check stations during deer hunting seasons to gather information on the age, sex, field-dressed weight, antler characteristics, and overall health of Vermont’s deer herd. In 2019, biological data were collected from more than 1,200 deer examined during the two-day youth season and the November rifle season.
Hunters also submitted more than 2,600 teeth from bucks harvested during the rifle season, which will provide additional important age information. Hunters who submitted a tooth will be able to see the age of their buck in May on Fish and Wildlife’s website.
The 2019 White-tailed Deer Harvest Report with final numbers will be on Fish and Wildlife’s website. Beginning in late March, department biologists will be holding statewide informational hearings to share biological information and to listen to any information people wish to share.