Archery Season Opens October 5th

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Deer hunters are looking forward to the opening of Vermont's upcoming archery deer hunting season. The dates for the two-part season are October 5 - 27 and December 7 - 15 this year.

"Vermont's deer population is estimated at 130,000 to 140,000 and it is healthy and growing," said wildlife biologist John Buck. "Archery hunters have averaged a 15 percent success rate during the last five years, which translates to an average harvest of just over 4,600 deer. Hunter success, however, will depend greatly on weather, food distribution and the tactics and skills used by hunters."

"There are two very important things hunters can do to improve their odds," said Buck. "First, put in the time and effort to seek permission from landowners. Hunters must be able to move to habitats that deer are favoring. Second, scout the areas you are going to hunt to learn deer behavior patterns at this time of year."

"The apple crop is poor this year in much of the state, so deer will be seeking any apple trees that are productive. These areas should be prime places to set up a blind."

Two archery licenses are allowed, and two deer may be taken anywhere in the state, but only one may have antlers three inches or longer.

In addition to a regular hunting license ($16.00 residents/$85.00 nonresidents), or a combination hunting and fishing license ($29.00 resident/$110.00 nonresident), hunters must have an archery license ($17.00 resident/$25.00 nonresident). As an alternative, nonresidents have the option of an archery-only license ($60.00) instead of a normal hunting or combination hunting and fishing license.

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Tree stands and ground blinds may only be built or used on private land if the hunter has landowner permission. This includes portable as well as permanent stands and blinds. A hunter constructing or using a stand or blind anywhere in Vermont must permanently mark his or her name and address on it so that it may be conveniently and easily read. Landowners are exempted from this requirement on their land.

Permanent tree stands and ground blinds are prohibited on state wildlife management areas. Temporary tree stands and ground blinds are acceptable from the third Saturday in August through the third Saturday in December on state WMAs. No nails, bolts or screws, including screw-in climbing steps, or wire, chain or other material that penetrates through the bark may be used. Additional restrictions also apply on WMAs. See page 30 of the "2002 Vermont Guide to Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Laws" for the complete wording of the law.

Hunters must be at least ten feet from the traveled portion of the road before shooting in all Vermont hunting seasons.

In order to purchase an archery license, archers will be required to show proof of having successfully completed an archery hunter education course, having a previous archery license from any state or province, or they must sign an affidavit that they have held an archery license in the past.

Hunters who are planning their first Vermont archery deer hunting trip or who are looking for new hunting areas should get a copy of the "2001 Vermont Deer Hunting Results," a report which gives the number of deer taken in each town in archery, rifle and muzzleloader deer hunting seasons, and a copy of the Vermont Guide to Hunting Map. Both publications are available from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, 103 South Main Street, Waterbury, VT 05671-0501. Telephone (802) 241-3700. The report on the 2001 deer seasons also is available on Fish & Wildlife's website: (vtfishandwildlife.com).