2015 Deer MeetingFor what it’s worth I decided to summarize my thoughts after attending the Public Deer hearing in Brattleboro, VT last night. Much to my surprise there were no deer at the meeting, just hunters who wanted to debate different ways to kill them. Who named it Public Deer hearing? Talk about false advertising. Thankfully I’m easy going and found the debate interesting, even if it was between biologists and hunters instead of a herd of deer.

The format for the evening was the same as last year. The meeting started off with a review of the moose and deer harvest reports followed by a short question time for people who needed clarification on some aspect of the reports. Next, a presentation was given on the proposed rule changes, followed again by questions for those who needed clarification. Then we broke into small groups to give our input on the proposed rule changes to the coming season. We were given 45 minutes for this and at the end of that time a group member summarized the group’s thoughts in front of the crowd and turned in the comment sheet all the thoughts were recorded on. Finally, the meeting closed with time for those in attendance to have the floor to themselves to speak their mind for two minutes if they so desired. Some rambled on for the longest two minutes I've ever experienced. ...continue reading

IMG_0810Like most young hunters in Vermont I was taught to shoot the first legal deer I saw. Three inches of antler on one side was all that was needed to have the green light to pull the trigger. It was fun.

I spent most of my childhood approaching deer season with this mentality. Each season I entered the woods I planned on shooting the first buck I saw. My view of deer season was similar to my view of deep sea fishing shoulder to shoulder with 40 people crammed into a 40’ boat. All the lines are dropped within a 400’ square foot area 300’ down on the ocean floor. Someone always gets lucky and pulls up a big one, most catch something of average size, and some go home empty handed. Deer hunting in Vermont was no different. A few people shot big ones, some shot spikes and four points, and most went home empty handed. It came down to the luck of the draw. Whoever was in the right place at the right time was the lucky one and shooting a big buck was like hitting the jackpot in a lottery that had low odds of winning. It was fun. ...continue reading

Deer dragThere are few things in life that can insert turmoil into your relationship with your spouse like calling to inform her that you just shot a deer and you’ll be home late. I’ve been there. I have a knack for shooting deer at a bad time – either she isn’t feeling well or our young son won’t sleep. Needless to say, the last thing that sweet voice on the other end of the phone wants to hear is my voice recounting the excitement of the hunt. I guess from her perspective it makes sense, but from my viewpoint there is no sense in getting her upset because there is work to be done. ...continue reading

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.”