On the Hunt
Vermont is riddled with tradition, sportsmanship and wildlife. Hunting combines many of these with seasons freckling the calendar year like bullet holes in a beginner’s target.
Driving to work, past farm fields and throughout wooded areas, it may seem to some that turkey hunting isn’t all that fair considering they seem to be EVERYWHERE! I personally have had to wait for 10+ minutes for a flock of 15 birds to move from the driveway. But come the month of May, the little critters suddenly become elusive and quiet, giving them their legally Vermont-assigned status as “Big Game”.
Southern Vermont provides acres on top of acres of wooded areas making it a prime setting for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner guest of honor. Aside from being in the center of the hunting jackpot, hunters will also enjoy taking in scenes from the many streams, lakes, mountain ridges and fields. Springtime hunters can only rely on one thing… not relying on anything weather related! While usually warm enough to dress lightly, they should also be aware of mud, rain, slippery rocks, and downed limbs from the prior winter. Safety, and hunting law obligation should be highly recognized. Here is where you can expect to find season opening dates, find where to hunt, and find out how to obtain your license.
Now, if birds aren’t your thing, Southern Vermont doesn’t stop at turkeys! If you ever want to recreate gram’s famous venison stew, what better way to contribute than to bag yourself a big ol’ buck?! There are multiple seasons ranging from archery and muzzleloader to rifle. While very beautiful animals, hunters provide a huge service to the deer herds by depopulating them within state guidelines. If you manage to come home empty-handed, or as the locals say, “skunked”, don’t be discouraged – check out the local Restaurants to see what wild game entrees they may be serving up!
Now, where does one go when they do get to fill a tag? There are a few local places to weigh and report, (and purchase licenses). Visit anyone of these places and proceed with proper paperwork.
Also, remember grandma’s famous stew? Well, Adams Farm in Wilmington can take care of the meat processing for you, offering different cuts, and seasonings – giving you a head start on that family recipe.
The Vermont fish and wildlife reported that due to a mild winter, the deer harvest in 2016 was up 19% from 2015, making it the 2ndhighest since 2012. They also report that this year’s yield ‘provided more than 3 million meals of local and nutritious venison”. Local and wild game, whether bear, deer or moose, is high in protein, low in fat and filled with iron. So, as the main dish it is worth its weight in gold on the nutritional scale. But what serves well with it? Check out Boyd Family Farm for some root crops and jams, River Valley Market for seasonings, marinades, homemade side dishes, and Spoonwood Cabin Creamery for the cheeses and wine!
Youth- our kiddos! They are the reason tradition exists! And our state offers a couple weekends exclusively for them to get their feet wet. Children can try their hand at Turkeys in late April, or tag a whitetail in November. These dates change every year, so be sure to refer to updates, but they usually precede the opening weekend of the official season. Youth and adults alike, can practice their skills and join in recreational activities at the Deerfield Valley Sportsmen's Club!
Last but not least, sportsmanship. The state of Vermont has rules, regulations and guidelines for each and every season and area. Also remember that other hunters are in the woods with you. Safety and sportsmanship is what keeps our hunters happy, and our wildlife numbers thriving and manageable.
The Deerfield Valley prides itself on their hiking trails, lakesides, fields and lush wooded scenery. That being said, we ask of all hunters to remember to bring out what they bring in, (and maybe a bit more if they are lucky!). Be safe, Have fun, and let the Deerfield Valley be the home of your family hunting traditions!