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Rifle hunters bag a record number of bucks

ADDISON COUNTY — Freezers throughout Addison County are packed with venison, and in many local homes that dish probably served as the main course on Thanksgiving.
That’s because the 2016 rifle season in Addison County was easily the most successful since 2005, when the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife banned shooting two-point “spikehorn” bucks during Vermont’s 16-day November rifle season.
In all, hunters brought 573 bucks to be weighed at the county’s nine official wildlife weigh stations between Nov. 12 and 27. That total that was 29 percent higher than 2015’s rifle season’s number, which until this fall was the highest since 2005.
In 2015, the county’s weigh stations handled a post law-change local record of 444 deer, and area hunters shattered that mark by 129 bucks this November.
The county’s seven-year rifle season average coming into this season was 385, meaning this season was a full 50 percent better than average.
“It was a really fun year,” said Lincoln General Store owner Vaneasa Stearns. “The guys were happy with their harvest.”
Weigh station operators all reported evidence of a healthy herd.
“The quality of the deer is good, too,” said Erica Bedell of Bristol weigh station Green Mountain Trails End. “They were definitely healthy, happy deer.”
The single biggest factor in the higher kill total was probably a bigger herd after a gentle winter. According wildlife officials’ estimates, the state’s deer population stood at 145,000 heading into the fall, larger than in recent years.
The department estimate a year ago after harsh winters in 2013 and 2014 stood at 120,000, but this past winter allowed a higher survival rate and better food sources, according to a Fish & Wildlife press release and local experts.
“That just shows you what weather does,” said Dick Phillips, owner of Vermont Field Sports in Middlebury.
The herd size increase alone was about 18 percent, however, and would not account for all of the better results. Good weather encouraged many hunters, according to weigh station operators, and Phillips and others noted bucks were in rut (showing interest in breeding) throughout the rifle season.
“They’re still in rut,” Phillips said on Monday.
BIG PICTURE
With weigh stations also reporting a strong bow season, the odds appear good that the final number for Addison County for all fall deer hunting seasons will also break the post-2005 mark of 1,021 that was set in 2010.
Other annual totals for all seasons (archer, rifle, muzzleloader and Youth Hunting Weekend) in recent years have ranged from 671 in 2011 to 875 in 2013. The 2015 all-season total came in at 772 despite the solid rifle number; that final count would have been higher, but wildlife officials imposed a doe-shooting ban in most of Addison County during muzzleloader season.
After the December archery/muzzleloader season concludes, the Independent will look at final bow and muzzleloader season numbers and the annual local total of all seasons.
Weigh station operators and hunters also mostly said that deer appeared bigger on the average this year. According to Independent calculations, they are correct, but the increase is not dramatic: The average weight of a buck killed in this past rifle season came in at just under 146 pounds, about two pounds heavier than the 2015 average.
That weight is at the high end compared to averages in recent years and is matched only by 2012, when the average also stood at 146 pounds.
In other years:
•  The 2014 average was 145.
•  The 2013 average was 141.
•  The 2011 average was 144.
A dozen bucks that tipped the scales at 200 pounds or more helped up this rifle season’s average. Three were taken opening weekend and reported in the Nov. 17 issue of the Independent.
Five of the nine shot in the final 14 days of rifle season were weighed at Buxton’s Store in Orwell, including the biggest buck brought down locally, a 235-pound, eight-pointer killed by Paul Gaboriault in Bridport.
Also having 200-pounders weighed at Buxton’s were Andre Fletcher, a 210-pound, 4-pointer he shot in Orwell; William Bishop, a 200-pound, 8-pointer killed in Benson; Duane Kehoe, a 205-pound, 8-pointer taken in Shoreham; and Jeremy Quenneville, a 200-pound, 7-pointer bagged in Orwell.
Vermont Field Sports weighed a 205-pound, 9-pointer that Frank Raymond shot in Addison, and that store also handled a smaller deer of note: a 162-pound, 10-point buck that Danny Dragon shot in Ripton. That deer was one of only two bucks taken in rifle season with a rack of more than nine points.
Also, Rack ’N Reel in New Haven Junction handled a 212-pound, 8-pointer that Ryan Mobbs took in Hinesburg; Jerusalem Corners Country Store in Starksboro weighed a 210-pound, 7-pointer that Jason Barnard shot in Starksboro; and Mark Atkins brought a 201-pound, 8-point buck to Lincoln General Store.
Hunters who were successful during the final 14 days of the rifle deer season, listed with town of kill, pounds and points, were:
VERMONT FIELD SPORTS
Frank Raymond, Addison, 205-9; James Fitzgerald, Addison, 195-8; James Gorton, Middlebury, 192-8; Richard Roorda, Shoreham, 189-8; David Many, Middlebury, 185-8; David Werner, New Haven, 183-8; Jamie Butterfield, New Haven, 180-6; Russell Bishop, Shoreham, 173-8; Shawn Gero, Cornwall, 170-7; Christopher Hahn, Ripton, 168-6; Mort Pierpont, Salisbury, 165-8; and Eric Foster, Middlebury, 165-8.
Also, Ernest Malzac, New Haven, 162-6; Danny Dragon, Ripton, 162-10; Marshall Currier, Middlebury, 161-8; Samuel Berthiaume, Middlebury, 160-7; Daniel Fifield, Cornwall, 158-6; Benjamin Cram, Ripton, 158-7; Ronald Felion, Leicester, 158-8; Timothy Devino, Brandon, 158-8; Patrick Deering, Cornwall, 155-4; Norman Michaud, Middlebury, 155-7; Rodney Bordeau, Salisbury, 155-8; and Thatcher Trudeau, Salisbury, 154-8.
Also, Scott Quenneville, Brandon, 151-5; Jay Malinowski, Leicester, 150-7; Ronald Devoid, Middlebury, 147-8; Casey Butler, Middlebury, 147-4; Christopher Stearns, Shoreham, 147-6; Brian Webb, Ripton, 147-4; Daniel Gaotti, Salisbury, 147-6; Douglas Coburn, Ripton, 146-7; Eric Kaufmann, Ripton, 146-8; Chris Ringey, Cornwall, 143-4; Andrew Recupero, Hancock, 143-3; and Gary Perkins, Ripton, 143-4.
Also, Scott Whitman, Ripton, 197-6; Wyatt Cameron, Goshen, 190-9; Robert Leggett, Middlebury, 188-4; Jeffrey Smith, Weybridge, 169-2; Karl Kaufmann, Bridport, 162-7; Keith Tremblay, Goshen, 161-6; Rhonda Roberts, Middlebury, 160-8; Kirk Ringey, Cornwall, 154-6; Joshua Lawrence, Shoreham, 148-4; Sandra Brown, Bristol, 140-5; Michael Desjadon, Salisbury, 140-8; and Michael Palmer, Ripon, 140-1.
Also, Wilfred Lafountain, Middlebury, 140-4; Michael Clark, Salisbury, 140-8; Danny Raymond, Salisbury, 138-5; Jonathan Pratt, Cornwall, 138-4; Devin Dwire, Salisbury, 138-4; Todd Seguin, Weybridge, 137-6; Gregory Gearwar, Brandon, 137-8; Asa Sargent, Ripton, 137-6; Caleb Rockwood, Middlebury, 136-6; John Fitzpatrick, Cornwall, 136-6; Brian Raymond, Ripton, 136-4; and Calihan Butler, Bristol, 135-3.
Also, Michael Barrett, Bridport, 135-3; Matthew Lawton, Bridport, 135-3; Michael Ash, Cornwall, 135-3; Barry Whitney, Salisbury, 135-3; Shawn Kilburn, Hancock, 133-5; Noah Fleury, Ripton, 132-9; Gary Gorton, Salisbury, 132-7; Timothy Comes, Middlebury, 131-3; Edgar Butterfield, New Haven, 131-3; Michael Collitt, Ripton, 130-4; William Burton, Springfield, 130-6; and Sawyer Pierpont, Leicester, 129-3.
Also, Ronald Berthiaume, Salisbury, 128-3; Robert Dayton, Ripton, 127-6; Michael Whitney, Middlebury, 125-5; Michael Lefebvre, Ripton, 125-4; Adam Piper, Leicester, 125-4; Andrew Piper, Leicester, 125-8; Robert Benoure, Grand Isle, 124-4; Stephen Pratt, Cornwall, 123-8; Justin Rubright, Shoreham, 122-5; Blake Emilo-Webb, Middlebury, 120-6; Eric Hathaway, Middlebury, 119-3; and Geoffrey Dutton, Middlebury, 119-3.
Also, Todd Kennedy, Goshen, 118-5; Darcy Trudeau, Salisbury, 118-4; Abigail Copeland, Weybridge, 115-4; Justin Malzac, Middlebury, 115-5; Judson Larocque, Bridport, 113-4; Joseph Dragon, Cornwall, 113-3; John Bergevin, Brandon, 111-8; Stanley Hartman, Monkton, 105-3; Ryan Emilo, Ripton, 105-3; Owen Comes, Middlebury, 103-4; and Charles Mraz, Ripton, 96-3.
NEW HAVEN VILLAGE GREEN MARKET
Linda Cousino, New Haven, 153-6; Michael Lucier, Ferrisburgh, 174-6; William Thorpe, New Haven, 140-3; Andre Rheaume, New Haven, 127-3; Denis Smith, Monkton, 155-7; Ryan Cornellier, Ferrisburgh, 140-6; Matthew Hunter, Hinesburg, 182-8; Maxwell Flynn, Waltham, 152-7; Robert Therrien, Charlotte, 130-6; David Hurlburt, Monkton, 145-8; and Michael Hurlburt, Monkton, 150-4.
Also, Jody Conant, Huntington, 124-6; Rusty Conant, Hinesburg, 130-6; Andre Palmer, New Haven, 144-4; Justin Huizenga, Monkton, 115-5; Stephen Aruzza, Huntington, 128-7; Langdon Smith, New Haven, 138-6; Daniel Heath, New Haven, 141-4; Matthew Huizenga, Monkton, 135-6; Rich Munsell, Monkton, 124-5; and Kenneth Curler, Ferrisburgh, 141-6.
RACK ’N REEL
Ryan Mobbs, Hinesburg, 212-8; Kevin Kayhart, Waltham, 198-7; Wayne Stearns Jr., Ferrisburgh, 190-7; Colin Jennings, Starksboro, 189-8; Robert James, Weybridge, 183-7; John Cole, Ferrisburgh, 180-8; Andy Gendreau, Monkton, 180-8; Stephen Winn, Charlotte, 174-8; Bruce Meader, Ripton, 171-8; Henry Bissonette, Panton, 168-6; Andrew Raymond, Ferrisburgh, 167-7; and Christopher Fortin, Charlotte, 167-5.
Also, John Sheldon, Ferrisburgh, 167-7; Steven Fifield, Ripton, 165-7; Rowan Nelson, Ripton, 164-8; Bruce Smith, Monkton, 163-4; Christopher Bessette, New Haven, 159-4; Lee Lapell, Fayston, 156-4; Matt Leonard, Ferrisburgh, 154-6; Adam Lafountain, Starksboro, 153-8; Tyrell Montani, Ferrisburgh, 153-8; Bailey Smith, Ferrisburgh, 152-8; Nathan Kerr, Shoreham, 152-4; and Joseph Martin, Charlotte, 151-5.
Also, Scott Stearns, Ferrisburgh, 150-4; Brian Hill, New Haven, 150-8; Kristian Ashley, Ferrisburgh, 149-8; Timothy Yandow, Bristol, 149-5; Amber Whittemore, New Haven, 148-6; Randall Stearns, Ferrisburgh, 147-3; Evan Fleming, Ferrisburgh, 147-4; Raymond Stearns, Ferrisburgh, 147-4; Dylan Raymond, Ferrisburgh, 146-4; Bradley Hill, New Haven, 146-3; Benjamin Greenstein, Charlotte, 146-6; and Kyle Kayhart, New Haven, 145-7.
Also, Mark Livingston, New Haven, 144-6; Jordan Rule, Ferrisburgh, 144-6; Nick Jennings, Bristol, 144-8; Eric Raymond, Monkton, 143-6; Raymond Therrien, Charlotte, 143-3; Edward Kwiatkowski, New Haven, 140-6; Rodney Stearns, Ferrisburgh, 138-8; Wyatt Traverse, New Haven, 138-6; Brady West, Bristol, 136-6; Jesse Lalumiere, Ferrisburgh, 136-4; Michelle Kilbreth, Cornwall, 135-8; and Stephen Davis, New Haven, 135-5.
Also, Todd Roscoe, Lincoln, 134-8; Timothy Farr, Monkton, 134-6; Alan Whitney, New Haven, 131-4; Michael Poirier, New Haven, 131-5; Dustin Brace, Ferrisburgh, 129-4; Jeremy Lattrell, Lincoln, 128-3; Matthew Norton, Bristol, 127-6; Daniel Bushey, Starksboro, 127-4; Cody Greene, Ferrisburgh, 127-6; Sally Torrey, Ferrisburgh, 126-3; Alan Bessette, Ferrisburgh, 126-4; and Lance Perlee, Bristol, 126-4.
Also, Chase Atkins, Bristol, 125-3; Randy Butler, New Haven, 125-5; William Smits, Bridport, 125-4; Lance Fleming, Ferrisburgh, 124-7; Daniel Sweet, Ferrisburgh, 124-4; Timothy Paquette, Shoreham, 123-6; Paul Wildasin, New Haven, 123-3; Jennifer Bora, Charlotte, 121-6; Patrick Murphy, Waltham, 120-4; Josh Roscoe, Starksboro, 119-3; and Richard Brunet, Waltham, 116-2.
Also, Patrick Blaise, Ferrisburgh, 114-3; Abigail Stearns, Ferrisburgh, 113-6; Shawn Roscoe, Bristol, 112-4; Nathan Couture, Ferrisburgh, 112-5; Philip Livingston, New Haven, 108-4; Brendon Huestis, New Haven, 106-5; Joanne Newell, New Haven, 105-3; Charles Desjadon, Ripton, 103-4; and Sterling Pelsue, Chester, 102-4.
C&S HUNTING SUPPLIES
Hunter Warner, Ripton, 138-4, and Donald Brown, Bristol, 146-8.
GREEN MT. TRAILS END
Gary Briggs, Lincoln, 160-4; John Chamberlain, Lincoln, 137-4; Raymond Bushey, Middlebury, 131-6; Michael Betourney, Salisbury, 135-3; Frank Cousino, Bristol, 112-3; Jessica Thompson, Bristol, 156-4; George Coro, Middlebury, 122-4; Charles Commiskey, Middlebury, 143-4; Geoff Booth, Lincoln, 157-7; Ronald Gorton, New Haven, 165-8; and Kirk Jennings, Bristol, 148-4.
Also, Ryan Fraser, Shoreham, 164-6; Anthony Bedell, Starksboro, 117-4; Corey Jennings, Hinesburg, 180-6; Raymond Germain, Bristol, 163-5; McGregory Butler, Middlebury, 195-9; Jerry Butler, Bristol, 145-9; Ashley Lowell, Bristol, 136-6; Thomas Bishop, Bristol, 116-6; Philip Bedell, Starksboro, 161-8; and David Yandow, Bristol, 131-6.
Also, Jillmarie Shortsleeve, Starksboro, 130-4; Jackie Gorton, Bristol, 128-7; Brian Ledeau, Bristol, 167-7; George Carty, Starksboro, 147-8; Brian McCormick, Goshen, 100-7; Michael Bromley, Starksboro, 131-6; Chad Longley, New Haven, 117-3; and Dillon Hunt, Starksboro, 119-3.
WEST ADDISON GENERAL STORE
Chris Bingham, Bridport, 163-6; Mitchell Gallison, Addison, 122-2; Roger Bienvenue, Addison, 133-7; Gary Grant, Bridport, 125-3; Christopher Goodrich, Leicester, 178-8; Russell Bishop, Shoreham, 151-7; Dawn St. George, Charlotte, 124-4; Christopher Reed, Addison, 110-4; Ryan Emmons, Addison, 123-4; and Richard Shimel, Bridport, 156-4.
Also, Tupper Hinsdale, Ferrisburgh, 103-5; Benjamin Newkirk, Ripton, 94-4; Robert Jennings, Bridport, 127-7; Brendin Roberts, Shoreham, 137-4; Jamison Bannister, Addison, 135-4; Brent Perkins, Addison, 155-7; Bryan Nolan, Panton, 130-6; Michael Safford, Monkton, 123-6; and Peter Viau, Addison, 149-6.
JERUSALEM CORNERS STORE  
Justin Raymond, Huntington, 138-8; Trevor Conant, Starksboro, 131-5; Robert Labossiere, Starksboro, 157-6; Roland Haskins, Starksboro, 135-4; Eric Larose, Ripton, 145-7; John Bounincontro, Huntington, 125-6; Bruce Moody, Huntington, 189-9; Joe Gallese, Starksboro, 141-8; Jack Grace, Lincoln, 144-6; Jeremy Fitzgerald, Huntington, 140-8; Patrick Fitzgerald, Huntington, 110-3; and Corey Shepard, Huntington, 130-5.
Also, Peter Pizzagalli, Huntington, 143-7; Jason Barnard, Starksboro, 210-7; Chad Murray, Charlotte, 170-7; Danny Grace, Bristol, 119-5; Bruce Taft, Huntington, 197-5; Michele Sullivan, Starksboro, 133-4; Ronald Raymond, Huntington, 190-7; Chris Haskins, Huntington, 145-4; and Kyle Bezanson, Lincoln, 146-6.
LINCOLN GENERAL STORE
Sarah Lathrop, Lincoln, 123-3; Kasey Cavoretto, Lincoln, 153-8; Jeremiah Gracie, Lincoln, 145-4; Mark Atkins, Lincoln, 201-8; Bradley Palmer, Lincoln, 162-6; Jody Brown, Lincoln, 127-5; Richard Antone Jr., Williston, 128-5; Hunter O’Connor, Lincoln, 138-6; Robert Kuck, Lincoln, 175-8; Richard Antone, Williston, 110-4; Dana Paige, Lincoln, 170-8; and Lucius Cousino, Bristol, 113-4.
Also, Shonda Cavoretto, Lincoln, 134-4; Robert Cavoretto, Lincoln, 133-5; Scott Manning, Ripton, 122-7; Tara Mason, Lincoln, 134-5; Jacob Thomas, Lincoln, 173-7, Christopher Jerome, Lincoln, 102-4; Shaun O’Connor, Lincoln, 157-8; Nathan Nimblett, Lincoln, 136-7; Todd Beauvais, Lincoln, 104-4; and Robert Jimmo, Lincoln, 119-5.
BUXTON’S STORE IN ORWELL
Will Madison, Shoreham, 135-3; Don Tupper, Orwell, 110-4; Garrett Givens, Orwell, 165-6; Paul Gaboriault, Bridport, 235-8; Keith Betourney, Bridport, 187-6; Dan Gosselin, Orwell, 127-6; David Quenneville, Whiting, 156-6; John Boyer, Hubbardton, 130-6; Tim Williams, Sudbury, 138-8; Thomas Williams, Whiting, 123-4; and Dennis Parsons, Shoreham, 123-6.
Also, John Gosselin, Shoreham, 128-6; Marc Brisson, Shoreham, 128-6; Dwyer Coltey, Orwell, 147-4; Keenan Pratt, Orwell, 176-7; Joey LaRock, Sudbury, 136-6; Russell Nickerson, Orwell, 140-3; Francis Oldenburg, Shrewsbury, 105-4; Paul Gosselin, Orwell, 140-4; Carter Audet, Orwell, 130-5; Andre Fletcher, Orwell, 210-4; and Allen Plouffe, Bridport, 162-8.
Also, Bret Williams, Whiting, 161-8; Del Frazier Jr., Salisbury, 140-5; Kerrigan Disorda, Benson, 175-8; Anthony Warren, Shoreham, 186-8; Desmond Russell, Bridport, 120-4; Thomas Disorda, Whiting, 128-3; Brian Kemp, Whiting, 133-4; Alan Christian, Orwell, 189-6; Peter Root, Orwell, 170-6; Liam Quinn, Shoreham, 176-6; and Bradley Disorda, Whiting, 136-3.
Also, Cole Warren, Shoreham, 140-4; Gabe Laberge, Shoreham, 140-4; Scott Stanley, Shoreham, 152-6; William Bishop, Benson, 200-8; Lauren Dame, Shoreham, 152-7; Chip Maynard, Orwell, 171-6; Joe Warren, Whiting, 170-7; Jeremy Quenneville, Orwell, 200-7; Britney Hedvab, Fair Haven, 113-4; Nick Neff, Orwell, 113-4; and Richard Ladd, Orwell, 165-7.
Also, Gene Goodspeed, Orwell, 133-5; Austin Morin, Shoreham, 123-8; Steve Brileya, Shoreham, 143-4; David Charron, West Haven, 124-4; Gus Hill, Benson, 150-8; Gary Hill, Benson, 143-6; Jacob Kemp, Sudbury, 115-6; Darryl Davis, Shoreham, 185-4; Jamie Northrup, Cornwall, 111-3; Edson Lanpher, Shoreham, 158-3; and Walter Brown, West Rutland, 156-6.
Also, James Giard, Shoreham, 123-3; Adrian Brower, Fair Haven, 102-3; Jonathon Lanpher, Leicester, 160-5; Chris Brown, Orwell, 126-5; Taylor Patterson, Shoreham, 148-5; Russell Davis, Bridport, 129-4; Duane Kehoe, Shoreham, 205-8; Tristan Stearns, Cornwall, 154-8; Tim Bertrand, Orwell, 167-8; John Hutchins, Brandon, 148-3; Mark Reginbald, Shoreham, 131-4; Jim Gill, Cornwall, 119-6; and Pamela Bedard, Cornwall, 157-8.
See results from the first weekend of Rifle season by clicking here.
See a list of successful hunters from Youth Hunting Weekend here:
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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