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Vermont Hunters Can Learn Age of Hunted Deer After State Studies Animals' Teeth

A white-tailed deer.
Scott Bauer
A white-tailed deer.

Vermont hunters who shot a deer last fall can now go online to find out how old the animal was if they submitted one of its teeth to the state.

The state of Vermont has restrictions on which bucks are legal to be killed in rifle season: they have to have at least two points on one antler.

The White-Tailed Deer Tooth Collection Project began so the state could make sure the antler restrictions are accurately keeping some younger bucks out of the crosshairs.

Nick Fortin with the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife said the state received about 3,000 teeth from hunters last season.

"The lab takes a cross-section of the tooth — actually the root of the tooth," he said. "And under a microscope, they're able to quite literally count the growth rings, and determine how old that deer is."

Fortin said the collected teeth confirm the antler restrictions are having their intended effect, and are helping the state more accurately estimate the deer population.

He also said hunters like learning the age of the deer they killed. 

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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