Big BuckLately I’ve read (and taken part in) a lot of jabbering about implementing a 3 point antler restriction (AR) in my home state of Vermont. Proponents of an increase from the current 2 pt AR bring many solid arguments to the table while opponents bring their own valid reasons. I fall somewhere in the middle of the argument. One thing I know is that, Lord willing, I’ll be hunting this fall and quite frankly, I could care less what defines a legal buck and what doesn’t. If it has to have at least two points on a side, fine.  At least three points? That’s OK too; I’ll look for one that meets the requirement and enjoy the hunt along the way. But one thing is for sure, I get a little tired of the proponents of the increase not owning up to the real reason they want it and instead hide behind “feel good” reasons for their arguments.  Here are a few of the reasons and my interpretation of them.

1. A 3 pt AR will create a healthier herd. My reasons for not trusting this argument are that the data collected by biologists on youth weekend and the first weekend of rifle season indicate that the herd is healthy already. On average, recorded deer weights are up over the last decade and deer numbers have rebounded quickly after harsh winters. If someone who uses this argument would define what they mean by a “healthier herd” perhaps I would have an easier time following their reasoning. Until then, I’ll read through the lines and just assume this argument is used because they really want BIGGER BUCKS. ...continue reading


Tim and StephI had just finished up a meeting and was discussing an upcoming scouting trip with a friend. He knew of a worthy quarry nearby and was willing to take me to the area where he had seen some sign in the past. When we got there I was floored! Right there, standing within sight, was the most incredible image I had ever seen. Her California sun kissed skin radiated towards me and caused me to sweat profusely. I blamed the sweat on the tennis match (meeting) I had just come from but it didn’t matter to her. I could tell she was smitten from that very moment. And why wouldn’t she be? Think about it from her perspective. Standing in front of her was a stunning Vermont boy, transplanted to Tennessee and soaked with sweat. It’s understandable.

I hadn’t yet opened my mouth to ruin the moment – I just let her soak it up. Time stood still but I eventually grew enough courage and introduced myself. She was there visiting her sister (who is married to the guy I was playing tennis with). After that unforgettable introduction my intuition was telling me she would want to spend as much time with me as possible that weekend. My studies were very important to me but I reluctantly set them aside for the weekend so we could get to know each other better. At one point in the weekend I took her for a ride on the back roads of Tennessee and played her my favorite song which was “I’m Gonna Miss Her,” by Brad Paisley. That left an impression on her she still reminds me of to this day. What can I say? I’m good at what I do.

At the end of the weekend I managed to get her number before she left to head back to California where she was attending college. I knew she’d been trying to give it to me all weekend but was to shy to offer it so I finally asked.  

Over the next few years I willingly set aside my studies each time she came to visit. There was one particular weekend I remember well. I had an Anatomy and Physiology exam the following Monday that I hadn’t prepared for due to her visit, but I felt it was important for her to know she took priority. The class was notoriously difficult, and although I enjoyed it immensely, I enjoyed being with her more. Needless to say, I showed up for the exam under prepared which was reflected in my test score.

It was obvious to everyone that for her it was love at first sight. For me, the 64 on the A&P test was the defining moment. It was then I knew we were meant to be. I think my professor summed it up best when he said in front of the class, “What happened, Biebel?! You spend too much time with your girl last weekend?” Before answering him I had flashbacks of the weekend and then a smile came across my face and I said, “Yes sir. I sure did.” 

Hunting VermontLast week I nearly died. Thanks to a case of the flu (or something like it) I came face to face with my own mortality and was forced to accept that I have not accomplished all that I want when it comes to hunting in Vermont. OK. OK. I wasn’t really that close to death, at least not from sickness, but the boredom that came with it almost killed me. I was confined to our spare bedroom and I watched endless hours of hunting shows. What else is there to watch? What I discovered is that I am a rather boring hunter. In Vermont I’ve only hunted deer; maybe it’s time to expand my horizons a bit. So, while I laid there in a feverish state I comprised a list of some things I want to accomplish in the Vermont woods before giving up the ghost.  Here they are:

1. Shoot a Bull Moose with my bow. This is by far my ultimate goal in Vermont. I believe shooting a moose with a bow here could be the most difficult to accomplish of any of my bucket list items for a couple of reasons. First, very few tags are given out, and if you have ever applied for a moose permit in Vermont before you know that a high percentage of tags seem to go to the same people each year, further reducing your odds. ...continue reading

Vermont 8 Pointer

By Richard Wixson

Our morning started out in one of our spots that we usually hunt every year. Soon after entering the woods we split up as we worked out way through the trees. I was trying to jump something down to Matthew but that didn't work and we came back together on the trail.

 We started back up the trail and looked up on the side hill in the oaks about 150 yards out and I noticed a deer with his head to the ground cruising. I told Matthew it was a buck that he should get ready. He came within 40 yards and picked his head up when he stopped by a log picked. It was a 1 horn spike about 8" long. The other side was completely broken off. Matthew was so bummed and couldn’t believe why that didn’t happen during youth season. I said it wasn't meant to be and we continued with the hunt for the morning. ...continue reading

hunting, deep snow, vermont, muzzleloader

I’m starting to question my manhood. Taylor Swift is constantly on repeat and I’m in my PJ’s by dinner each night. I’ve resorted to shooting at miniature deer with Nerf guns and I’ve discovered that I’m a horrible shot. I’m about to go crazy. This cabin fever business is for the birds! It’s clear I have too much time on my hands. Go away, Winter!

Last fall I was dealing with some of the same problems (minus the PJ’s and Nerf Gun). Since the beginning of archery I’d been in the tree eight times and I’d sat seven hunts in a row without seeing a thing! There was so much food on the ground that the deer were impossible to pattern. In all my years of hunting I had never seen such an abundance of food. Apple trees strained under the weight of apples and walking under an oak tree was akin to a hard hat only area thanks to the constant rain of acorns. I was putting in plenty of time but had zero to show for it. I was growing impatient with each hunt and about to go crazy.

My increasing impatience is a direct result of the world we live in. It’s filled with how-to articles informing us of ways increase our odds of success on Mr. Buck and we have access to hours of action filled hunting shows at the touch of a button. It’s a recipe for impatience and one we mix up every day.  We live in a fast paced world and throw our hands up in disgust when we come up empty after a hunt. How can this be?!?!

So what is the answer?  The answer is “Time”. Hunting takes time. Tagging a deer takes time. In a world that thrives on instant gratification that can be a hard pill to swallow, but if you are a deer hunter you better get used to it.  Use that time to better yourself as a hunter and be patient. Momentum can change in an instant. Not long after my eighth hunt my luck started to change. In total, I put four deer in the freezer this year between Vermont and New Hampshire; a personal best. Some of this was due to luck – just being in the right place at the right time, and some was due to a little bit of skill (or so I’d like to think). Whether my success was a result of luck or skill it all came down to the amount of time spent in the woods. If you don’t put in the time don’t expect to consistently fill tags.