MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is cutting by almost half the number of muzzle-loader antlerless deer hunting permits that will be issued for this fall's hunts.

The department says the Fish and Wildlife Board voted to reduce the number of antlerless permits from 17,050 last year to 9,650 because of reductions in deer numbers caused by two severe winters in 2014 and 2015.

READ MORE: Why Are Deer Numbers Shrinking So Fast?

Wildlife Director Mark Scott says biologists expect the statewide deer population to be 115,000 to 120,000 before the state of this fall's seasons.

The annual recommendation for the number of muzzle-loader antlerless permits is based on population growth estimates, biological data, reports from hunters, winter severity data and input from game wardens, foresters and the public. 

Details are available on the department's website.