As much as I’d dreamed of joining the coveted 200 pound buck club, I’m not sure I can say with confidence that I thought I’d ever be fortunate enough to become a member. I have intentionally hunted areas in Vermont and New Hampshire that have the potential to produce that caliber of a buck but hadn’t had any luck to date. This can be blamed on many factors, with myself being the biggest one of all. That all changed on opening day of the 2017 Vermont rifle season.
Where have I been? I haven’t been in woods chasing after turkeys, I’ll tell you that. Most of the past month has been spent focusing on my day job (or at least doing my best to portray that), working on my house, and getting yelled at during a public meeting as a bonus.
It never fails that when a hunting season rolls around, unforeseen deadlines pop up. Who would have thought that the grass would need to be cut during the month of May? Ridiculous. I’m seriously considering entering my .6 acres of land into the Crop Restoration Program. At least that way I’ll have a reason for why my lawn looks so terrible. Plus, I hear 200” whitetails like to bed down in the cover provided from CRP fields. It’ll be like my own guilt-free hunting mecca. Who needs a yard anyway? There is plenty of room to play catch in the street.
I’ll admit, reading the harvest report is much more fun when I’ve contributed to the harvest statistics. Phrases like, “The overall harvest was 27% more than 2015…” are much easier to stomach if I was part of the increase. It felt like everyone had a better year than me. Cue the violin music.
That’s okay, I’m a better man for it. Let’s take a look at some of my observations of the 2016 Vermont White-Tailed Deer Harvest Report. You can thank me later for the brilliant insight.
#1 Is Calais really “God’s Country?”
Early last fall I passed through the town of Calais, VT en route to a meeting. If I wasn’t the observant type, I probably would have missed it. Not too long ago, I was surprised to learn during the course of conversation with a gentleman from Calais that the town is referred to as “God’s Country.” “Strange,” I thought to myself. “I always pictured God’s country looking a little different than Calais, VT.”
There are many experiences I’ve had in the woods that I’ll remember for a long time. Visiting Tony, the bear, at his den site is no exception. I wonder if Tony will look back at our visit as fondly as I do. My only regret is not giving him a bear hug when I had the opportunity (har har). There are not many in this world that can honestly say they’ve given a live bear a hug, and unfortunately I am still one of them. Such regret!
While Tony slept unsuspectingly in his den on the morning of our visit, the biologists and other team members gathered gear before we all met in a parking lot at the head of the snowmobile trail that led in his direction. Insulated pads, tranquilizing equipment, a net for weighing, and an oxygen tank made up a small portion of the gear.
As I mentioned in the previous post (Hunting Season Summary - Part 1), the abundant food situation was similar in Vermont as it was in New Hampshire. However, I did have some camera’s out in Vermont during the preseason that helped identify a few decent bucks that were in the area. These deer were afraid of the daylight as well, but at least I had a general sense of their movement patterns during the middle of the night.