May 1, 2020 – The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department will hold two more public hearings on deer. In-person deer hearings are not being held for 2020 to encourage social distancing and avoid the spread of COVID-19. The department is holding electronic public hearings to solicit input on deer on the following dates from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. through the following means:
May 11, 2020 – Through computer: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83167838494, AND conference call: 929-436-2866, meeting ID: 831-6783-8494
May 12, 2020 – Through computer: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84013715841, AND conference call: 929-436-2866, meeting ID: 840-1371-5841
To participate via smartphone or tablet, download the free Zoom Cloud Meeting App and enter the appropriate 9-digit meeting ID. The conference call number is the same for both meetings, but each meeting has a unique ID number and weblink. Be sure to use the correct information for the meeting you are joining.
The department urges members of the public to review information that will be discussed by going to https://vtfishandwildlife.com/deer-moose-hearings prior to the hearings. This includes a video presentation from Fish and Wildlife’s deer biologist Nick Fortin on the antlerless harvest and youth season recommendation as well as information that would normally be provided at the in-person public hearings. A copy of the proposed 2020 antlerless harvest and youth season recommendation can be found on this page as well.
“The winter of 2020 was relatively easy for deer throughout Vermont,” said Fortin. “However, lingering effects of the more severe winter of 2019 will result in minimal population growth in most areas. Importantly, deer populations in several wildlife management units (WMUs) will continue to be above established population objectives and we are increasingly concerned about declining physical condition of deer in many areas.”
“New deer hunting regulations that take effect this year will help to increase antlerless harvests in the areas where it is most needed. The total recommended permit allocation is the same as in 2019, although the distribution of those permits is different, and more antlerless deer are expected to be harvested. The recommendation includes that antlerless deer may be taken in the archery, youth and novice seasons statewide.”
The department’s annual recommendation is based on population estimates, biological data, winter severity data, and deer sighting rates reported by hunters, as well as input from game wardens, foresters and the public.
Public comments and questions will be taken at the electronic meetings over the computer but also can be provided by emailing ANR.FWPublicComment@vermont.gov or by calling and leaving a message on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife public comment voicemail at 802-265-0043. As noted in the department’s April 2, 2020 news release, public comment on deer has been open since that date and comments will be taken until May 16, 2020.