“It can be a challenge to get out of bed so early, but I never regret it once I’m out here,” I whispered to Brett as we hiked up a Vermont ridgeline with daylight just starting to crack over the distant hills to the east. There is just something about the beauty of a warm spring morning in Vermont that’s difficult to adequately describe to someone who has never experienced it firsthand. Deer hunting in the fall allows one a front row seat to the beauty of the woods transitioning from life to death. Turkey season brings the opposite experience.
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.
As the popular Sesame Street song goes, “One of these things is not like the other…” When it comes to deer hunting in early November, Vermont is certainly the thing in the song that is not like the others. I have often pondered why Vermont doesn’t have an open deer season for the general public during the pre-rut phase, which in Vermont occurs in the first half of November. This part of the rut is considered by many as the most exciting time to hunt bucks, not only because the chances of successfully filling a tag are higher, but because the overall experience is better. Bucks are on the move cruising for does, making scrape lines, and more receptive to calling. That combination can make for an exciting hunt!