Hunting Harvests

Latest Score:


in 2019

Weight: 8%
score trend is up over time

Forests provide habitat for many game animals such as deer, wild turkey, and moose. Without healthy forests, these animals would not have enough habitat and food, and hunters would not be able to take as many animals. Vermont has a long tradition of hunting as a popular way to recreate within the state's expansive forests, as well as provide meat for their families. More hunting success should indicate healthy populations of game animals as a result of healthy forest habitat. Here we capture hunting activity based on the number of servings estimated from harvests of big game (white-tailed deer, black bear, moose, and wild turkey). A high score means that hunting is providing a high number of meals over time.

Quality management of Vermont's forests and the habitat that big game species (deer, bear, moose, and turkey) need to thrive is integral to Vermont's rich cultural history of hunting and living off of the land. Management of big game species to ensure that they do not over browse habitat has allowed for a steady trend in hunter harvest numbers. Management of big game species to an adequate but not overabundant level has ensured that hunter harvest opportunities are present without detrimentally impacting forest and other important big game habitats. Continued management of Vermont's forests to allow for young forest habitats and mast crops (i.e. acorns, beechnuts, mountain ash) along with essential wintering habitat is paramount in ensuring that big game populations and hunter harvests remain at appropriate levels for years to come.

Interpretation provided by:

Adam Miller, Wildlife Species Program Manager; Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (2020)


The score is calculated using a target value and the historical range of the the entire long-term dataset. The higher the score, the closer this year's value is to the target.

Once the score is computed for each year, the trend in scores over time is calculated. If the trend is significantly positive or negative, the long-term trend is marked as increasing or decreasing respectively.

Component Description
Scored as

Distance between 0 and target (scaled 1-5)

Target value

Data maximum + 10% of range

Directionality of scores

Higher values in the data are better.

Minimum value used in scoring

Data minimum - 10% of range or 0, whichever is greater

Maximum value used in scoring

Data maximum + 10% of range

We used data on the annual number of meals procured from harvesting big game animals (white-tailed deer, black bear, moose, and wild turkey), as reported by the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife1. We set the data target as the data maximum plus 10% of the range. The annual score was computed as the difference between the lower scoring bound of 0 (indicating that no hunting harvests were reported) and the target, scaled to be between 1 and 5.

1 Darling, S. 2019. Vermont Big Game Meals. Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. Available online at: