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A super year for deer

Hunters did well in Vermont's 2008 deer hunting seasons with more than 17,000 deer harvested, which helped in managing the deer population and provided high quality table fare for hunters' families, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

Vermont's deer hunting season results have been finalized in a report that is now available on Vermont Fish and Wildlife's website (vtfishandwildlife.com).

The total deer harvest increased 17 percent, from 14,516 in 2007 to 17,046 in 2008.

Hunters took 3,714 deer (22 percent) in archery season, 1,863 deer (11 percent) on youth weekend, 7,295 deer (43 percent) in the November rifle season, and 4,166 deer (24 percent) in the December muzzleloader season.

Antlered bucks taken in archery, youth, rifle and muzzleloader seasons totaled 9,539 in 2008.

"Vermont continues to experience (somewhat) milder winter conditions west of the Green Mountains with resulting higher deer numbers than in the rest of the state where winter has taken a heavier toll on the herd," said Shawn Haskell, the lead state wildlife biologist on deer. "We did increase the number of antlerless deer permits last year where the deer population was highest."

"Hunters continue to play a vital role in helping manage the state's deer population," added Haskell. "Removing deer, including adult does, according to carefully prescribed regulations in all of the deer seasons helps to keep deer numbers in balance with their habitat. It is essential if we are going to have forest regeneration to provide browse as winter deer food and timber products going into the future. At the same time, hunters took home an estimated 1,164,000 pounds, or 582 tons, of high protein, low fat venison for the dinner table."

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