They came calling for dead deer searches in deer yards, to complain about coyotes and the effects wild turkeys had on consuming deer food, they wanted to see a three-bird limit during the spring turkey season and a special archery season for moose.
Some of the highlights of the draft plan, under consideration:
The expansion of antlerless deer-only hunting opportunities prior to the November firearms season. One way to increase the antlerless kill would be to institute an early muzzleloader season. However, the plan is quick to stress that it would offer an early muzzleloader hunt if it could do so "without disturbing hunters" participating in the youth (deer) weekend, archery season, the fall turkey season, small game season and the November rifle season.
Adding more days to the early archery season. The Fish & Wildlife Department noted that New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and New York "have longer archery seasons than in Vermont" and would want to investigate whether there are "potential conflicts between seasons in neighboring states or lack thereof to encourage non-resident participation in Vermont's early archery season."
Legalizing crossbows for deer hunting. "A new crossbow season or a crossbow season running at the same time as archery season could increase the department's ability to harvest does, manage the deer herd, decrease administrative costs associated with allocating special crossbow permits and generate new license sales," according to the plan.
Continue to advocate for a three-deer bag limit to allow for greater hunter opportunity and to achieve deer population management strategies.
A special archery season for moose. Because Fish & Wildlife received several petitions in 2008 for implementing a special archery moose season, "the department will propose a (Fish & Wildlife) board regulation to establish a short moose archery season, potentially beginning the first Saturday in October," according to the plan. "The season might run for nine days, with perhaps 50 permits issued via a lottery. Success rate will likely be less than 30 percent. Lengthening the current seven-day fall wild turkey shotgun season (where applicable) to a nine-day season
Expanding the fall archery turkey season to allow archery hunting statewide to coincide with the opening day of the deer archery season.
The draft plan is available on Fish & Wildlife's website (vtfishandwildlife.com).
Buck said the department hopes to have the plan finalized by Sept. 30 and to begin implementation on Jan. 1.