Rifle season reaps big bucks

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copyright the Chronicle November 29, 2017

 

With time running out on the 2017 rifle season for deer, the harvest this year is expected to mirror last year’s results.

During the 16-day rifle season of November 2016, hunters reported 7,753 deer. Preliminary reports suggest that hunters will do as well this year.

Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter said his department didn’t offer any projections as to the results of the rifle season this year. He said Tuesday that he expects the harvest to be in line with the number of bucks taken in 2016.

The 2017 rifle season ended Sunday, but hunters have an additional 48 hours to check in their deer at reporting stations around the state. But whatever the final harvest turns out to be, those who host the reporting stations in Orleans County believe the buck are running larger than a year ago.

At Currier’s Quality Market in Glover, the number of reported deer is down. As of Tuesday, 70 had been reported compared to 81 at this time a year ago.

But owner Jeff Currier said he has been impressed with the size of the deer that have been brought in to be weighed.

The market runs a buck pool, and the hunter leading the pool as the season comes to a close is Mick Davidson of Barton with a deer that weighed 221 pounds.

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Big bucks reported so far in rifle season

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copyright the Chronicle November 15, 2017

 

With only a few days into the November rifle season for deer, preliminary reports from Orleans County suggest that bigger bucks are being shot.

Among the successful hunters, Sterling Richardson of Albany reported a 217-pound buck at Bob’s Quick Stop in Albany.

As of Tuesday night, 49 deer had been reported at the quick stop, and clerk Morgan Powers said she is impressed by the quality of the deer being reported.

“They’re all really good-sized deer,” she said, estimating the average weight between 150 and 160 pounds. Ms. Powers further noted that the store has been seeing a real good turnout since the 16-day season got underway Saturday.

Big deer, or better than average-sized bucks, are also being reported at Currier’s Quality Market in Glover.

Windy Currier said Tuesday morning that, of the 30 deer that have been reported at the store, two-thirds have weighed over 140 pounds.

According to a poster on the store’s wall, 164 hunters are participating in the store’s annual buck pool. The leader as of Tuesday was Paul Trucott of Lyndonville, whose buck tipped the scales at 192.5 pounds.

Early deer reports toward the northern end of the country haven’t been so promising.

At Mr. O’s Sporting Goods Store in Newport, only 15 buck had been reported as of late Tuesday morning. The largest buck was a six-pointer that weighed 163 pounds.

The count was more promising at Wright’s Sport Shop in Newport, where 45 deer had been reported as of Tuesday forenoon. The largest weighed 180.2 pounds.

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Fish and Wildlife proposes cutting moose permits in half

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copyright the Chronicle April 5, 2017

 

by Brad Usatch

 

A steep decline in the moose population, both statewide and in the Northeast Kingdom, has led the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to recommend substantial cuts in the number of hunting permits offered this year.

The Fish and Wildlife Board (FWB) will vote Wednesday on a proposal to authorize a total of 80 permits, including 17 archery season permits, down over 51 percent from 165 permits authorized for the 2016 seasons. Also for the first time, the plan would mandate that only bull moose be hunted in all wildlife management units (WMUs).

Locally, the plan calls for nine regular season permits, and one archery season permit each, for both the D1 and D2 WMUs. WMUs do not align with town or county boundaries, but D1 covers most of Orleans County, south to Hyde Park and Hardwick. D2 overlies the northern two-thirds of Caledonia County, as well as almost all of Westmore, and smaller portions of Barton and other Orleans County towns.

The recommendation also authorizes a total of ten permits each (seven regular season and three archery season) for the E1 and E2 WMUs covering almost all of Essex County.

As recently as 2009, over 1,200 permits were offered on a yearly basis. But that was at a time when Fish and Wildlife was actively trying to bring down a moose population that moose biologist Cedric Alexander said was at an all-time high, perhaps dating back to the last ice age.

Mr. Alexander said the winter tick is the main culprit in the population plunge that took the statewide moose herd from a historic high estimated at close to 5,000 moose in 2005, to a November 2016 estimate of 1,750. Heavy tick infestations affect herd size in two ways, Mr. Alexander explained.

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Deer harvest up from last year

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copyright the Chronicle November 30, 2016

by Paul Lefebvre

The head deer biologist for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife speculated Tuesday that the harvest from the 2016 rifle season may be up by as much as 15 percent from the 2015 season.

In an interview two days after the 16-day rifle season ended Sunday, deer biologist Nick Fortin said he expects to see the increase range from between 10 and 15 percent.

While the actual increase won’t be known until all the reporting stations around the state have checked in, Mr. Fortin credited a mild winter for this year’s improved harvest.

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Moose kill down from 2015

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copyright the Chronicle October 26, 2016

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by Paul Lefebvre

The success rate among moose hunters for the 2016 archery and rifle season, which ended Thursday, October 20, is lagging slightly behind the 2015 rate.

According to a press release from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, preliminary reports suggest an overall success rate of 45 percent, down from the 47 percent of last year.

It’s pretty close to what we expected,” said the department’s moose biologist, Cedric Alexander. He said the rate was especially low in some of the wildlife management units in the southern part of the state.

Although reports on the 2016 season will not be final until January 2017, Mr. Alexander noted that hunters could only shoot bulls in most of the units.

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Dions plead innocent to deer poaching charges

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Wayne and Jennie Dion of Irasburg pose with the two bucks they shot on opening weekend of rifle season in 2008.  Mr. Dion’s deer was an eight-pointer and weighed 190 pounds.  Ms. Dion’s deer was a six-pointer and weighed 160 pounds.  Photos courtesy of the Dions

Wayne and Jennie Dion of Irasburg pose with the two bucks they shot on opening weekend of rifle season in 2008. Mr. Dion’s deer was an eight-pointer and weighed 190 pounds. Ms. Dion’s deer was a six-pointer and weighed 160 pounds. Photos courtesy of the Dions

copyright the Chronicle January 14, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — State game wardens staking out the Irasburg home of Wayne R. Dion, 66, and Jennie A. Dion, 61, say they heard a gunshot during the night before hunting season opened. They say their investigation turned up evidence of several violations of hunting laws.

Mr. Dion appeared in the Criminal Division of Orleans County Superior Court Tuesday where he pled innocent to failure to tag big game, baiting deer, feeding deer, taking game by illegal method-using a light, taking deer out of season, taking a big game animal by illegal means, taking a bird in closed season, possessing a big game animal taken by illegal means or in closed season, and transporting big game taken by illegal means or in closed season.

Ms. Dion pled innocent to possessing a big game animal taken by illegal means or in closed season.

Both were released on conditions by Judge Timothy Tomasi.

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Dions accused of elaborate poaching scheme

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Wayne and Jennie Dion of Irasburg pose with the two bucks they shot on opening weekend of rifle season in 2008.  Mr. Dion’s deer was an eight-pointer and weighed 190 pounds.  Ms. Dion’s deer was a six-pointer and weighed 160 pounds.  Photos courtesy of the Dions

Wayne and Jennie Dion of Irasburg pose with the two bucks they shot on opening weekend of rifle season in 2008. Mr. Dion’s deer was an eight-pointer and weighed 190 pounds. Ms. Dion’s deer was a six-pointer and weighed 160 pounds. Photos courtesy of the Dions

copyright the Chronicle November 26, 2014

by Tena Starr

An Irasburg couple will be brought to court next month for allegedly running an elaborate deer poaching operation that included baiting and spotlights in their well concealed backyard and a gun portal in a wall of their house.

Wayne Dion, 66, and Jennie Dion, 63, are facing multiple charges related to deer baiting and illegal hunting, Major Dennis Reinhardt, who is in charge of law enforcement for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, said Monday.

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Rifle season: Mild winters may lead to higher success rate

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Makenzie Smith, 10, of Irasburg shot her first buck, an eight-pointer weighing 164 pounds, during Youth Weekend — in her secret spot!  Photo courtesy of her very proud Grampa Brent Shafer

Makenzie Smith, 10, of Irasburg shot her first buck, an eight-pointer weighing 164 pounds, during Youth Weekend — in her secret spot! Photo courtesy of her very proud Grampa Brent Shafer

copyright the Chronicle November 12, 2014

by Paul Lefebvre

Between sunrise on Saturday, opening day of rifle season on deer, and closing day at sunset on November 30, hunters will lose roughly 30 minutes of hunting time.

That’s because they can hunt deer from 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset during the 16-day season.

But sunrise on November 15 comes at 6:45, or 19 minutes earlier than it does on Sunday, November 30 — the last day in the season.

A comparable loss in time occurs at sunset. On Saturday the sun will set at 4:21 compared to 4:10 on the last day of month. Added together and that’s a loss of 30 minutes in real time.

Will it make any difference in hunters’ success rate? Probably not.

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Hunting with drones likely to be banned

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Noah Menard of Barton poses proudly with the spikehorn he shot in 2013 in Barton.  He and his father, Nathan, stopped by the Chronicle for a photo before having the deer weighed, but his first buck, taken at a distance of 55 yards, was big enough to put a smile on the eight-year-old’s face.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Noah Menard of Barton poses proudly with the spikehorn he shot in 2013 in Barton. He and his father, Nathan, stopped by the Chronicle for a photo before having the deer weighed, but his first buck, taken at a distance of 55 yards, was big enough to put a smile on the eight-year-old’s face. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle September 24, 2014 

by Tena Starr

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board will hold a public hearing next month on a new regulation that would prevent people from hunting with drones, or any other aircraft.

The rule is being considered more as a precaution against future problems than a remedy for any existing one.

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Rifle season for white-tailed deer opens November 16

deer menard web

The weekend before rifle season is set aside for youth hunters. Noah Menard of Barton poses proudly with the spikehorn he shot Sunday, November 10, in Barton. He and his father, Nathan, stopped by the Chronicle for a photo before having the deer weighed, but his first buck, taken at a distance of 55 yards, was big enough to put a smile on the eight-year-old’s face. Photo by Joseph Gresser

by Paul Lefebvre

copyright the Chronicle 11-13-2013

Why do deer hunters enjoy less success in the Northeast Kingdom than they do elsewhere?

The 2013 deer rifle season opens Saturday, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife is projecting a harvest similar to 2012 when rifle hunters took 6,159 buck over the 16-day season.

Adam Murkowski, the department’s top deer biologist, said he expects that 16 percent of the state’s deer population will be harvested.  He estimated the herd’s present population at roughly 130,000, and noted that the harvest rate has been stable for the last few years. Continue reading

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