Editor’s Note: Brent Lafreniere lives in Williamstown, Vermont, and has been a Vermont resident his entire life. He’s been a Mossy Oak Pro Staffer for 6 years, has hunted deer for 25 years and hunts primarily public lands. “I’m a real fan of Mossy Oak Bottomland, but in the newer patterns I like Mossy Oak Break-up Infinity because I can use it not only for deer season but also for turkey season.” Because of winter deer kill and loss of habitat, the area where Lafreniere hunts is a really-difficult place to see or take deer. However, while hunting for 21 seasons in Vermont, Lafreniere has taken 19 deer. Because he’s such an avid hunter, he also travels to other states where deer season is open when Vermont’s season is closed, and where he can see and take more deer.
My biggest buck was an 8 pointer that weighed 176 pounds, which is a really big whitetail, and it was taken in Vermont in 2010. My Dad and I have 110 acres where we have permission to hunt. In Vermont, if the land isn’t posted and posted correctly, then anyone can hunt on it. We had talked to the landowner and had permission to hunt on this land where I took my biggest buck ever. We leave our stands up all year long. We knew that deer were passing through the area where we had our stand up because we’d scouted and used trail cameras. But I’d hunted this particular place seven times and never seen a deer. My dad had hunted the stand twice but never had seen a deer there. The years we have a poor acorn crop, the deer don’t travel through this place very often. But in 2010, the area had a good acorn crop. This tree stand was between the oak trees where the deer fed on acorns and the deer’s bedding area. During 2010, I was seeing deer every day at that stand.
I really wished later I’d been hunting with my bow, because when that buck came in, I let him get to within 15 yards before I squeezed the trigger on my rifle. What was really exciting on this hunt was the buck was chasing does - one of the first times I’d ever seen a buck chasing does. Here in Vermont the rut usually occurs in-between our early bow season and the beginning of rifle season. At that time, deer season is closed, and no hunters are permitted to hunt. After I shot the buck, he only ran about 60 yards before he went down. Luckily two hunters on the other side of the hill from where I was hunting heard me shoot, came over the hill and helped me drag the buck out to an old logging road. I walked back to the landowner’s house where he had a 4-wheeler. We went back to the deer, loaded the buck up and brought him back to my vehicle.
I know that in many sections of the country people describe the size of their deer by the size of a buck’s rack, using the Boone & Crockett system of measuring. However, here in Vermont, we describe the deer we take by their field dressed weight. Unlike many other states, in Vermont, you may go a week or 2 without even seeing a deer. So, I travel to other states to hunt as well as hunting deer at home. I hunt in New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and in these other states if we have snow, I’ll snow track the deer. If there’s no snow, I’ll either stalk hunt or hunt from a stand. One of the reasons I started traveling to hunt was television. I could not believe the number of deer and the size of bucks that the TV hunters were seeing in other states. On some of those TV shows, they might see two or three bucks in one day, or one or two bucks and a dozen does. I was like a little kid who lived on a desert island (Vermont) and wanted to go to Disneyland (other states with numbers of big bucks).