For Immediate Release: November 10, 2020
Mark Scott, Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife, 802-777-4217
Ben Truman, Vermont Department of Health, 802-951-5153 or 802-863-7281
MONTPELIER – Vermont’s regular deer season starts Saturday, November 14 and runs through November 29. Vermont hunters are being urged to keep COVID-19 safety measures in mind and use the Department of Fish & Wildlife’s online reporting system to report their deer.
“As virus rates continue to increase both in Vermont and regionally, it is important that hunters follow all of the Vermont Department of Health COVID-19 safety precautions including wearing a mask, keeping six feet of distance, and avoiding crowds,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Julie Moore.
If a person living in Vermont chooses to leave the state to hunt or spend time at an out-of-state deer camp, they must follow the State’s travel policy by completing a quarantine before returning to work, school or attending public events. The Department of Fish & Wildlife is also reaching out to individuals who have purchased nonresident licenses to provide them with information on the State’s current travel policy.
The Vermont Department of Health is actively discouraging even small social gatherings, including getting together with friends or extended family during hunting season at deer camp. “Deer camps worry me if people beyond immediate family members are gathering to spend time together indoors or overnight,” said Commissioner of Health Mark Levine, MD. “People cannot know for sure whether someone they are with or near has been infected, especially those who are pre-symptomatic.”
“Deer camp is a strong and important tradition for Vermonters,” said Moore. “But given the rising numbers of new COVID-19 cases in Vermont and regionally, it is critical for hunters to hunt local this year, reduce visits to stores and other businesses, and take special cautionary steps if considering going to a deer camp.”
Vermonters who choose to spend time at deer camp with people outside their immediate family are encouraged to get a COVID-19 test now, as well as 7 days after returning from camp, and avoid close contact with others until test results are received. To see options for testing near you, please go to healthvermont.gov/covid-19/testing. Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms.
While activities like heading to camp or gathering at check stations are often considered an integral component of the hunting season, extended physical or close contact increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Mark Scott, Director of Wildlife, asked for people not to gather at big game checking stations this deer season for their own safety as well as others. “It is a great Vermont tradition to hang out at a local check station to see what hunters bring in and chat with community members, says Scott. “For everyone’s safety, please avoid doing that this year.”
Building on the success in reporting turkeys this spring using an online tool, the Department of Fish & Wildlife will be reactivating the online reporting system for hunters to report their deer. “We are now offering hunters an online reporting option for deer as well as regular reporting at regional stations,” said Scott. Hunters can go to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife website for the link to the reporting system.
Additional recommendations for protecting the health of yourself and loved ones are available on the Health Department website: healthvermont.gov/covid-19/protect-yourself-others.