DERBY, Vt. (AP) – Vermont’s 2008 rifle deer season has come to a close, with many hunters enthused about the size and quality of bucks being taken.

As of last Wednesday, 3,119 bucks had been reported killed, versus an average of 1,992 in the previous three years. Many are crediting a 2005 ban on taking spikehorns – bucks with just one point on each antler – allowing more of them to grow and mature.

Hunters and state Fish and Wildlife officials say now many of the bucks being taken are in the 180 pound range, with a few tipping the scales at more than 200.

State deer project leader Shawn Haskell says the hunt this year so far appears to have met expectations.

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