Deer rifle season begins with a bang! Numbers are way up

ADDISON COUNTY — The 2016 deer rifle season in Addison County began with easily the most productive opening weekend since 2005, when the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife banned shooting two-point “spikehorn” bucks during Vermont’s 16-day November rifle season.
The county’s weigh stations handled 249 deer, 49 more than the previous best opening weekend total, 200 in 2013, since the 2005 rule change.
The next best opening weekend totals since then came in 2010 (192) and in 2015 (188).
Between 2011 and 2014, local opening weekend totals ranged from 122 to 154, with that latter total coming in 2014.
According to Fish & Wildlife estimates, the state’s deer herd’s population stood at 145,000 heading into rifle season, which began this past Saturday and runs until Nov. 26, the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
The department estimate a year ago after harsh winters in 2013 and 2014 stood at 120,000. But this past gentler winter allowed a higher survival rate and better food sources. And hunters and weigh station operators alike reported weighing plenty of big bucks over this past weekend — three tipped the scales at more than 200 pounds, another seven topped 190, and plenty more ranged from the 160s through the 180s.   
“I think it’s been a great first weekend,” said Vaneasa Stearns owner of the Lincoln General Store. “Good numbers and some good weights.”
Vermont Field Sports manager Greg Boglioli credited the milder winter and bigger herd for the fast start and for the slight uptick in Youth Hunting Weekend numbers (see story here), which rose from 78 a year ago to 94 on this past Nov. 5 and 6.
“The increase in deer numbers would show an increase in take,” Boglioli said.
Certainly, fewer hunters than usual are grumbling. Boglioli reported one typical story from a Field Sports regular who hunted in Ripton and passed up shots at two bucks running together because he was confident a better chance would come along. Fifteen minutes later, he brought down a buck.
“Everyone I’ve been talking to has been seeing deer,” Boglioli said. “They seem to be out there to be shot at.”
The fast start means the county is well on its way to its best post-2005 rifle season. A year ago when the county’s nine official weigh stations handled 188 bucks during opening weekend the local total finished at 444 deer in the 16-day season.
That final number proved to be the most weighed in Addison County since the 2005 spikehorn ban. The county’s rifle-season average stands at 385 per year over the past seven years, and this season looks ready to shatter last fall’s local record and boost that average.
The Independent will wrap up rifle season on the Thursday after its conclusion, and in December will look at bow and muzzleloader season totals and the annual local total of all seasons after they conclude.
During archery, rifle and muzzleloader seasons and Youth Hunting Weekend in 2015, Addison County weigh stations handled 772 deer, the third-lowest total in the past eight years. But the total was depressed because Department of Fish and Wildlife officials in 2015 decided not to issue doe permits to muzzleloader hunters in wildlife zones that included virtually all of Addison County.
Statewide in 2015 12,747 deer were taken among all the seasons, per Fish & Wildlife data, lower than the past three years because of the fewer doe permits. Totals in the past five years have ranged from a low of 12,132 in 2011 to a high of 14,107 in 2013.
With the local bow season off to a strong start as well, it appears that 2016 could push that average higher.
The current statewide numbers do not compare to the roughly 20,000 deer taken in Vermont annually between 1996 and 2000, per state data.
But that number dropped steadily to around 12,000 in 2004, before the 2005 spikehorn ban. Within three years, the annual kill bounced back to between 12,000 and 14,000, and the average weight and rack size of bucks taken during rifle season improved.
The largest deer taken locally this past weekend was a 220-pound, 6-pointer that James Booska shot in Orwell and had weighed at Buxton’s Store in that town.
Two other deer tipped the scales at more than 200 pounds, both of which were weighed at New Haven’s Rack ’N Reel: Scott Hawkins took down a 215-pound, 8-pointer in Ferrisburgh, and Brian Morin shot a 208-pound, 6-pointer in Addison.
Possibly the best-looking deer of them all was weighed at Vermont Field Sports. Morgan Laroche killed a 169-pound buck in Salisbury with a rare 11-point rack, the only deer shot this past weekend with a rack of more than nine points.
“It was one of those deer where you say, ‘Wow,’” Boglioli said.
Laroche, who bagged an 8-point, 174-pounder last year, said conditions this past weekend were “perfect.” She attributed the high success rate of hunters to the fact that the bucks are just going into rut and more likely to be visible.
Hunters who were successful on opening weekend, listed with town of kill, pounds and points, were:
Glenn Cousino, Orwell, 179-6; Shawn Beeman, Benson, 178-6; David Hanson, Shoreham, 156-4; Christopher Davis, Shoreham, 114-3; William Maloy, Sudbury, 144-4; Megan Russell, Orwell, 159-4; Michael Grace, Orwell, 184-6; James Booska, Orwell, 220-6; Bruce Potter, Sudbury, 108-5; James Layne, Hubbardton, 171-7; Robert Hunt, West Haven, 140-7; Jeremy Audet, Orwell, 154-4.
Also, Donald Wyman, Hubbardton, 118-3; Roger Donn, Orwell, 162-7; Brian Bishop, Cornwall, 167-7; Edward Bell, Orwell, 168-4; Chris Hanson, Orwell, 195-7; Glen Hayward, Castleton, 161-7; Bryce Taylor, Fair Haven, 166-8; Elias Hescock, Shoreham, 130-4; Jonathan Hescock, Shoreham, 168-4; Kyle Trudo, Orwell, 133-5; Joseph Desabrais, Shoreham, 184-3; and Shirley Bowen, Orwell, 173-4.
Also, Francis Bradish, Sudbury, 127-6; Harold Pouliot, Orwell, 122-5; Taylor Booska, Orwell, 176-5; Tim Birchman, Sudbury, 107-4; Hannah Williams, Whiting, 155-8; Cory Buxton, 160-7; Michael Matot, Shoreham, 185-7; Tony Quenneville, Whiting, 157-7; Chris Groman, Whiting, 162-8; Paul Parent, Orwell, 195-6; Cassandra Fyles, Shoreham, 144-4; and Jeffrey Williams, Brandon, 156-8.
Also, John Williams, Salisbury, 158-8; Bernard Galipeau, Bridport, 140-3; Phil King, Orwell, 182-6; Dylan Hill-Quintin, Shoreham, 133-4; Kevin Stocker, Bridport, 147-3; Benjamin Moffett, Castleton, 153-6; Kurt Miller, Hubbardton, 97-4; Jeff Taggart, Castleton, 112-4; Paul Metcalf, Benson, 157-7; Justin Quenneville, Whiting, 156-8; David Stearns, Orwell, 191-4; and Carter Leggett, Bridport, 129-4.
Also, Brady Larocque, Shoreham, 154-8; Michael Shaw, Orwell, 146-7; Felicity Dugan, Rutland, 157-7; Jason D’Avignon, Orwell, 165-4; Roger Waterman, Ripton, 141-7; John Sullivan, Orwell, 135-4; Mark Young, Orwell, 119-6; Keith Piper, Sudbury, 179-7; Casey Barry, Bridport, 173-6; Emily Huntley, Orwell, 127-3; and Steve Myrick, Shoreham, 170-8.
Gabriel Meader, Monkton, 104-5; Scott Gustin, Monkton, 111-4; David Patterson, Lincoln, 152-8; Caleb Tucker, Monkton, 160-8; Nolan Whitcomb, Starksboro, 131-4; Francis Jennings, Bristol, 115-4; Ryan Whitcomb, Bristol, 123-6; Alexis Lathrop, Middlebury, 145-4; Sarah Briggs, New Haven, 120-3; Martin Landon, Weybridge, 151-5; Matthew Shepard, Bristol, 114-7; Kristin Butler, Bristol, 191-8; and Wilbert Clark, Lincoln, 143-7.
Travis White, Bristol, 119-6; Josh Masterson, Lincoln, 136-4; Matthew Myers, Bristol, 168-6; Jonathan Jennings, Bristol, 150-7.
Duncan Keir, Huntington, 136-5; Jesse Larock, Hinesburg, 154-8; Scott Bell, Lincoln, 136-4; Eben Clifford, Starksboro, 131-6; Michael Metivier, Huntington, 180-7; Daniel Bergeron, Buel’s Gore, 154-6; Sean Hamel, Bolton, 154-3; Tyler Niquette, Huntington, 174-8; Michael Chenette, Starksboro, 147-6; Donald Dolliver, Starksboro, 150-5; Justin Lucia, Lincoln, 139-6; Jason Berry, Lincoln, 185-5; Austin Lafayette, Lincoln, 135-5; Daniel Faircloth, Starksboro, 185-8; Nathaniel Nolet, Huntington, 135-4; Michael O’Leary, Buel’s Gore, 180-8; Victor Atkins, Lincoln, 169-9; and Brian Heffernan, Starksboro, 135-4.
Kenneth Mayer, Starksboro, 136-6; Michael Jewell, Lincoln, 126-4; John Kelliher, Lincoln, 168-6; John Masterson, Lincoln, 125-4; Thomas Kilbourn, Ferrisburgh, 188-8; Lyle Webb, Ripton, 171-5; Kyle Brooks, Ripton, 183-9; Kurt Naser, Lincoln, 144-6; Craig Desautels, Lincoln, 152-6; Brian Donnelly, Lincoln, 110-7; Debra Bessette, Ferrisburgh, 125-5; Dave Rideout Jr., Lincoln, 130-4; Frank Lossmann, Lincoln, 105-3; Adam Thomas, Lincoln, 120-5; Carroll Griggs, Lincoln, 161-8; Dave Cavoretto, Lincoln, 181-5; and Bob Patterson, Lincoln, 127-6.
Dylan Racine, Monkton, 135-7; Nick Madison, Shoreham, 159-5; Justin Maheu, Salisbury, 187-8; Daniel Stern, Ferrisburgh, 133-3; Time Butler, Bristol, 147-4; Larry Butler, New Haven, 182-9; Gareld Butler, Bridport, 134-3; Eric Steele, Ripton, 163-6; Jeffrey Galipeau, Weybridge, 113-3; James Reynolds, Salisbury, 170-6; and Bernard Fleury, Ripton, 108-3.
Also, Paul Scaramucci, Middlebury, 138-4; Matthew Stevers, Middlebury, 116-3; Kenneth Bell, Cornwall, 135-6; Morgan Laroche, Salisbury, 169-11; Richard Miller, Middlebury, 118-6; Jordan Broughton, Weybridge, 140-3; Brett Ringey, Cornwall, 158-8; Daniel Wimett, Brandon, 128-4; and Tyler Pockette, Salisbury, 174-7.
(Names of hunters who were successful on Sunday and weighed at Vermont Field Sports were not available before deadline because they were still in the hands of wildlife officials; they will be published in a later issue. They were included in the overall total reported above.)
James Meacham, Ferrisburgh, 132-5; Darren Muzzy, Ferrisburgh, 162-3; Brad Sprague, New Haven, 196-6; Eugene Aube, Bristol, 162-7; Leon Demers, New Haven, 172-8; Chris Huston, New Haven, 152-4; Kimberly Berthiaume, Middlebury, 118-3; Frank Stanley, Monkton, 176-6; Patrick Paquette, Bristol, 126-3; and Zachary Lavoie, Ferrisburgh, 120-3.
Adam Loven, New Haven, 186-7; Daniel Hebert, Weybridge, 128-6; Chelsea Grant, Addison, 146-4; Mark Shimel, Bridport, 151-6; Logan Lacompte, Panton, 132-6; Jeff Bishop, Shoreham, 155-4; Charles Bradford, Addison, 167-6; Cory Steady, Ferrisburgh, 128-3; Philip Hardway, Addison, 115-4; Haley Paquette, Addison, 138-4; Michael Johnston, Addison, 146-6; Raymond Cousineau, Addison, 197-6; James Towle, Addison, 140-4; and Andrew Nolan, Panton, 130-5.
Scott Hawkins, Ferrisburgh, 215-8; Brian Morin, Addison, 208-6; Brian Jewell, New Haven, 199-6; Mark Mclellan, Bristol, 182-6; Cobi Badger, Monkton, 181-6; Joshua Hurlburt, Monkton, 181-7; Andy Husk, Ferrisburgh, 180-8; Adrian Comeau, Addison, 176-8; Eugene Cousino, New Haven, 176-8; Ambrose Cousino, Monkton, 175-7; Oran Lamphere, Panton, 172-4; Justin Borah, Charlotte, 170-6; and Henry Bissonette, Panton, 168-6.
Also, Michelle Brace, Ferrisburgh, 166-8; Eric Jennings, Monkton, 165-8; Seth Kittredge, Bristol, 159-5; Isaac Preston, Ferrisburgh, 156-6; Taylor Bessette, New Haven, 154-6; Felicia Armell, Addison, 154-4; Bailey Smith, Ferrisburgh, 152-8; Rheal Gevry, Addison, 152-8; Joel Flewelling, Pawlet, 152-8; Charles Paolontonio, Charlotte, 143-6; Cody Barnum, Bristol, 142-4; and Aaron Collette, Addison, 142-4.
Also, Johnathan Matson, Bristol, 141-7; Justin Lalumiere, Ferrisburgh, 141-3; Nicholas Antell, Bristol, 140-6; James Danyow, Ferrisburgh, 139-4; Kyle Delabruere, Bristol, 133-4; Jay Smits, Bridport, 133-4; Nathan Fleming, Addison, 134-8; Brady West, Bristol, 136-6; Alexander Newton, Waltham, 136-6; Johnathan Hill, New Haven, 136-6; William Robinson, Lincoln, 138-5; and Jennifer Bora, Charlotte, 121-6.
Also, Kris Perlee, New Haven, 107-4; Shawn Robert, Ferrisburgh, 110-6; Leman Bronson, Monkton, 110-4; Casey Huizenga, Monkton, 112-3; Abigail Stearns, Ferrisburgh, 113-6; John Pickering, New Haven, 113-5; Shawn Russell, Monkton, 113-5; Daniel Stearns, Ferrisburgh, 115-3; Zachary Comeau, Addison, 120-3; Adam Gorton, Middlebury, 121-4; Glenn Sheffert, New Haven, 121-5; Marc Choiniere, Bristol, 122-3; and Daryl Tribou, Addison, 125-3.
Also, Jessica Laughlin, Ferrisburgh, 126-7; Dean Gilmore, New Haven, 127-5; Dustin Brace, Ferrisburgh, 129-4; Brandon Tierney, Middlebury, 129-6; Shane Coyle, Ferrisburgh, 130-3; Christopher Breen, Starksboro, 130-9; Adam Flynn, Monkton, 130-4; Cooper Harvey, Charlotte, 131-4; Joseph Szarejko, Monkton, 131-4; Paul Norris, Starksboro, 131-4; David Huizenga, Monkton, 131-4; and Peter Norris, New Haven, 132-4.

Share this story:

More News
US Probation Office Uncategorized

US Probation Office Request for Proposals

US Probation Office 2×1.5 062024 RFP

Middlebury American Legion Uncategorized

Middlebury American Legion Annual Meeting

Middlebury American Legion 062024 1×1.5 Annual Meeting

Sports Uncategorized

MAV girls’ lax nets two triumphs

The Mount Abraham-Vergennes cooperative girls’ lacrosse team moved over .500 with a pair o … (read more)

Share this story: