ADDISON COUNTY — Unfavorable hunting conditions led to low numbers for the opening weekend of deer rifle season, but didn’t prevent two hunters from bagging the two biggest bucks taken this decade in Addison County during rifle season.
One, a 236-pound, eight-point buck shot by Shoreham’s Tommy Davis in his home town, tipped the scales at 10 pounds more than the largest deer killed in all of Vermont during any season in 2008. According to the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife Web site, the largest 2008 deer taken weighed 226 pounds and was shot in Jay.
Shoreham’s Mike Mulligan also took home a trophy buck, a 223-pounder with eight antler points also shot in Shoreham. Both animals were weighed in at Buxton’s Store in Orwell, and both exceeded the largest buck previously reported in the Independent this decade during rifle season, a 221-pounder killed by James Demilt in Lincoln in 2001.
Also, a third deer in excess of 200 pounds was killed this past weekend: Jonathan Audy shot an older, three-point buck in New Haven that tipped the Vermont Field Sports scales in Middlebury at 213 pounds.
Weigh station operators generally agree that 2005 regulations banning shooting “spikehorn” deer during the popular rifle season have given hunters more trophy targets.
But despite Fish and Wildlife Department estimates of a healthy statewide deer herd population of between 120,000 and 145,000, Saturday’s cold, wet and windy conditions worked against hunters, as did early fog settling in some mountain locales.
With one weigh station’s results unavailable (Midstate Shooting Sports Inc. of Ferrisburgh could not be reached on Tuesday or early Wednesday before the deadline for this issue; its results will be reported in a future story) Saturday and Sunday’s total stood at 108, off from 158 in 2008.
Midstate reported 17 in the first weekend of 2008; if those numbers are comparable this year, this weekend will track with 2007, when hunters took 122 animals in the first two days, when the weather also did not cooperate.
Also, the 2008 numbers included the Leicester General Store, which no longer serves as a weigh station.
This past weekend, a dozen deer weighing more than 175 pounds were taken, compared to 16 in the opening weekend of 2008 and eight in 2007.
Despite the drop in numbers, weigh station operators — also at West Addison General Store, Panton General Store, Lincoln General Store, C&S Hunting Supplies in East Middlebury, Jerusalem Country Store in Starksboro, and New Haven’s Village Green Market — reported that hunters were seeing deer and were confident that cooperative weather would bring better results.
The final county total for the 2008 rifle season was 388, the highest number since 2003. In 2007 the local rifle season produced 383 deer; in 2006, 346; and in 2005, the first year of the new regulations, 284.
Successful hunters on the first two days of rifle season — listed by name, town of kill, pounds and antler points — were:
LINCOLN GENERAL STORE
Geoff Booth, Lincoln, 181-8; Michael Donnelly, Lincoln, 162-7; Robert Jimmo, Lincoln, 165-8; Michael Smith, Bristol, 145-5; Mason Coleman, Lincoln, 143-3; and Kevin LaRose, Starksboro, 168-6.
WEST ADDISON GENERAL
Harry Duffany Jr., Shoreham, 151-5; Charles Ringer, Addison, 168-7; Zachary Comeau, Panton, 126-4; Todd Reed, Addison, 146-5; and Katherine Fergusen, Cornwall, 119-4.
C&S HUNTING SUPPLIES
Jennifer Jackson, Middlebury, 180-7; Michael Palmer, Ripton, 139-4; Edward Galvin, Salisbury, 168-7; and Gabe Cameron, Middlebury, 150-4.
VERMONT FIELD SPORTS
Debbie Smith, Salisbury, 116-8; Wesley Butler, New Haven, 169-8; Richard Billings, Middlebury, 122-5; Scott Jarvis, New Haven, 156-4; Tony Kennett, Addison, 145-6; Matthew Brush, Ripton, 133-6; Stephen Butler, New Haven, 155-4; Jamie Billings, Salisbury, 144-4; Todd Longstreet, Ripton, 136-4; Scott Whitman, Ripton, 111-3; and Arthur Mitchell, Brandon, 137-7.
Also, Penny Curler, Middlebury, 162-5; William Cyr, Orwell, 145-6; Ron Berthiaume, Salisbury, 148-6; Jonathan Audy, New Haven, 213-3; Christopher Stearns, Shoreham, 137-4; Matthew DeBisschop, Weybridge, 167-8; Kelly Heath, Middlebury, 123-6; Robert Leggett, Middlebury, 113-6; William Mason, Shoreham, 151-6; and Paul Gosselin, Middlebury, 165-6.
Also, Gary Forbes, Middlebury, 135-5; Nathan Hansen, Leicester, 95-4; Ben James, Weybridge, 143-3; Michael Keeler, Middlebury, 136-5; Luke Sansone, Ripton, 125-6; Brian Blake, Salisbury, 150-7; Brent Jocelyn, Middlebury, 156-6; Robert Gaines, Leicester, 124-5; Terry Hier, Weybridge, 123-5; and Kevin Cummings, West Haven, 116-6.
Also, William Mraz, Ripton, 154-6; Charles Mraz, Ripton, 108-6; Stanley Bigelow, New Haven, 152-7; Travis Cram, Weybridge, 110-6; Doug Butler, Middlebury, 156-4; Ben Webb, Ripton, 112-3; and Michael Betourney, Salisbury, 135-5.
VILLAGE GREEN MARKET
Jerry Atkins, New Haven, 157-2; Brian Lavoie, Ferrisburgh, 105-3; Steven Bartlett, Cornwall, 117-3; William Shell, Cornwall, 118-6; Alexis Lathrop, East Middlebury, 134-5; Nicholas McDougal, Bristol, 149-8; Christopher Bessette, New Haven, 132-3; Kylie Palmer, New Haven, 131-4; Arnold Sprague, New Haven, 163-7; and Chris Huston, New Haven, 124-5.
Also, Randy Fairbrother, Bristol, 135-6; Peter Scott, New Haven, 120-6; Dylan Higbee, New Haven, 190-8; Daniel Briggs, New Haven, 158-7; Jeremie Butterfield, Middlebury, 148-7; and Scott Brace, Ferrisburgh, 127-4.
Mike Matot, Shoreham, 187-6; Steve Bruyneel, Orwell, 126-4; Delbert Frazier Jr., West Haven, 142-7; Justin Hall, Orwell, 146-4; John Audet, Orwell, 147-8; Justin Quenneville, Orwell, 156-6; Neil Spardella, Orwell, 160-6; Keith Betourney, Orwell, 152-8; Tom Radford, Whiting, 127-4; Paul Parent, Orwell, 193-7; Dan Gosselin, Orwell, 153-6; Scott Spencer, Orwell, 156-4; Brian Wilson, Shoreham, 184-8; and Michael Dame, Orwell, 123-6.
Also, John Lanzs Jr., Brandon, 128-6; Gardner Stone, Middlebury, 161-4; Tom Davis, Shoreham, 236-8; Allen Plouffe, Shoreham, 151-4; Tom Raymond, Orwell, 119-4; Jeff Torrey, Bridport, 126-8; Colin Rouse, Orwell, 124-6; Mike Mulligan, Shoreham, 223-8; Dennis Rheaume, Rupert, 142-4; Aaron King, West Haven, 157-8; Phil King, West Haven, 147-5; and Russell Bishop, Shoreham, 162-7.
JERUSALEM COUNTRY STORE
Lorraine Wry, Starksboro, 137-6; Robert Ayers, Huntington, 118-4; John Buonincontro, Huntington, 115-5; Ben Smith, Buel’s Gore, 145-4; and David Whitcomb, Starksboro, 150-4.
PANTON GENERAL STORE
Andrew Nolan, Panton, 148-6; McKenzie Sullivan, Panton, 150-7; Aaron Collette, Addison, 185-6; Thomas Barrows, Ferrisburgh, 135-5; Timothy Nolan, Addison, 117-4; Jason Hatch, Ferrisburgh, 126-4; and Daniel Crossman, Ferrisburgh, 180-8.