by Willow Lanpher
They waited for all year for the first day of rifle season and trekked out into the woods as the sun peered over the horizon Saturday morning. For many, hunting season is already ove
This year's deer kill started rolling into Marty's First Stop in Danville to be weighed at about 8 a.m. Marty's was one of 21 biological checkpoints around the state where statistics were taken to help the Department of Fish and Wildlife determine how healthy the herd is this year.
"It is the best way to learn about the health of the herd," said Matthew Langlais, seasonal technician.
He said that from what he could see this year's herd is doing very well.
Langlais measured the diameter of the deer's antlers and counted the points. He also determined age by looking at their teeth. Ten deer were checked for ticks.
He said the checkpoints are not only a good opportunity to study the herd, but for outreach purposes.
"We really get a good feel for what the hunters are feeling," he said.
There were many people standing around Saturday morning to watch as deer were weighed and measured. Langlais said every hunter wants to tell their story.
Mark Ferguson of the Fish and Wildlife Department said many children come to catch a glimpse of a deer. For many it's the first time they've ever really been close to one.
Though one experienced hunter said the sport is about being lucky, a few of those who came in early Saturday morning said their success was certainly helped by prescouting before the season began.
"It kind of mentally prepares you better," said Ken Butson of Barnet.
It may also help hunters be more aware of their surroundings, one way they can be safer in the woods.
"Know the area that you hunt," advised Denis Girouard of Concord as his catch was being weighed. He added that if possible you should also know the people who hunt in the area as well.
"You gotta think safety all the time," Butson said.
The few hunters interviewed, however, also said one of their primary reasons for hunting was being in the woods. Chad Roberts of Lyndonville said that he had seen three other deer that morning and also watched a fisher cat for a while. "I just like being out there," he said.
"You gotta respect the animal, you know, I love watching them all year," Butson said.