”Take” and “Taking” mean pursuing, shooting, hunting, killing, capturing, trapping, disturbing, harrying, worrying, wounding, snaring or netting fish, birds or quadrupeds. It includes placing, setting, drawing or using any net or other device commonly used to take fish or wild animals, whether they result in taking or not. It includes every attempt to take and every act of assistance to another person in taking or attempting to take fish or wild animals.
Camping and Trespass: It is illegal to park, drive or camp on another person’s land without permission of the landowner. You must immediately leave the property when the landowner requests it, whether the property is posted or not. Roadside or public highway turnouts are not legal for overnight camping.
State Lands: Camping on state land is prohibited except in designated camping areas.
Importation of Wildlife: It is illegal to bring live wild mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, or fish into Vermont without previously obtaining an importation permit from the Fish & Wildlife Department.
Interfering with Hunters, Fishermen and Trappers: It is illegal to intentionally interfere with someone who is lawfully taking fish or wild animals, or to disrupt the taking of any fish or wild animal by harassing or disturbing the fish or animal.
Interstate Highways: No one may legally travel on foot within the right-of-way or cross boundary fences along interstate highways. Rest areas and pullouts are NOT access areas for hunting, fishing or entering on adjacent lands unless posted as such.
Private Roads and Lands: Law prohibits obstructing private driveways, barways, or gateways with motor vehicles. People shall not drive over private lands or enter these lands for the purpose of camping without the permission of the landowner.
Season Dates: All season dates in this book are inclusive.
Violators: In addition to the person who actually violates a regulation for hunting, fishing, or trapping, anyone who offers advice or assistance in a violation, or who knowingly shares in the proceeds, shall be punished as a principal violator.
Reimbursement for Illegally Taken Fish or Wildlife
In addition to any court penalties, anyone convicted of illegally taking, destroying, or possessing wild animals must pay, as restitution, into the fish and wildlife fund no more than the following amounts:
Big Game $2,000.00
Species (T10, 5401) 2,000.00
Small Game 500.00
Threatened & Endangered Species
Vermont’s Threatened and Endangered Species are protected with a state fine of up to $2,000 for illegally taking one. The complete list is available on the Fish & Wildlife website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com). The list includes: lake sturgeon, stonecat, timber rattlesnake, bald eagle, spruce grouse, Eastern mountain lion, Canada lynx, marten, little brown bat and Indiana bat. Federal penalties also may apply.
Whenever possible, the hunter or angler should check with the landowner before going onto his or her land. The privilege of using private land for your recreation is extended to you by the generosity of the landowner. It is illegal to damage or remove posters prohibiting hunting, fishing or trapping. In order to hunt, fish or trap on properly posted land, a person must have the written consent of the owner or the person having exclusive right to take fish or wild animals from that land.
SAFETY ZONE: A property owner may establish a 500-foot Safety Zone around an occupied dwelling, residence, barn, stable or other building with signs provided by the Fish & Wildlife Department. These signs shall be placed at each corner of the property and no more than 200 feet apart. Shooting is prohibited in the Safety Zone and no wild animal may be taken within it without permission from the owner.
Posted Property Under Fish & Wildlife Law: Hunting, fishing or trapping on properly posted land is illegal. Properly posted land will have records filed with the town clerk and the Fish & Wildlife Department. See Title 10, V.S.A., Sections 5201 to 5206.
Whether the property is posted or not, a hunter or angler shall show their license if requested by the landowner.
A person must leave the land immediately on demand of the owner, whether the land is posted or not.
Posting Signs: Signs prohibiting fishing, hunting or trapping on properly posted land shall be as follows:
Location of Posting Signs: Posting signs must be erected on or near all the boundaries, at each corner and not over 400 feet apart.
Falconry is legal by special permit. Contact Fish & Wildlife for information at (802) 241-3727.
Sale or Purchase of Fish & Game
Small Game: It is illegal to buy or sell a wild bird, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, or gray squirrel.
Big Game: The only time it is legal to buy or sell big game or the meat of big game within the state is during the open season and for 20 days after the season ends. The meat of big game animals is not to be bought or sold to be transported out of the state. It is illegal to buy or sell anadromous Atlantic salmon taken in the Connecticut River Basin and/or to buy or sell wild turkey at any time.
Other than the meat mentioned above, a person may buy or sell at any time:
Deer Hides: Anyone wishing to engage in the business of buying furs or skins of furbearers or deer hides must have a valid Fur Buyer’s License. Contact Fish & Wildlife.
Bear Parts: International trade in hides, claws, skulls, or teeth of black bear is regulated by federal law and international treaty. If you plan to sell your own bear hide or parts outside of the United States, you must obtain an export permit (for a fee) from the Federal Wildlife Permit Office, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Management Authority, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203, 1-800-358-2104. These products must be shipped through one of eleven designated ports (Boston is the nearest), or through another port under special permit (for a fee) from the same office. You do not need export permits and declarations to sell to domestic or foreign buyers within Vermont or the rest of the United States, or to sell through brokers who possess the necessary permits.
Sale and Purchase of Fish: Businesses may buy lawfully taken fish, with the approval of the Commissioner, pursuant to guidelines of the Board. Fish species to be bought or sold are restricted to species not protected by Title 10 V.S.A. Section 4611 — “A person shall not buy or sell a salmon, trout, lake trout, walleye, northern pike, muskellunge or black bass taken in this state, or imported from another state or country where sale of such fish is prohibited, except such fish reared in licensed propagation farms within the state.”
Game Suppers: Game suppers may be held at any time by a church, volunteer fire department, fish and game club, or other nonprofit organization with a permit issued by a State Game Warden.
Wild animals and fish legally taken in this state, or another state or country, may be transported and sold as part of a game supper authorized by permit. Big game provided by the Fish & Wildlife Department may also be sold at such suppers. Migratory waterfowl, cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hare, and anadromous salmon may not be sold. Permits for game suppers must state the name of the organization holding the supper, as well as the date and location of the supper. A permit needs to be applied for at least 10 days before the date of the supper. Contact the Law Enforcement Division of the Fish & Wildlife Department for a permit application.
Transportation of Fish & Game
Transportation of fish or game is only permitted in the presence of the person who took that fish or game.
A person shall not transport fish or game:
However, a person traveling on land between a temporary abode such as a hunting camp and his or her home may transport in one day the number of fish or game that may legally be taken in two days.
While on the waters of the state, a person may not transport more than one day’s limit of fish unless the fish is frozen, processed and packaged for storage.
Wildlife Management Areas
The Fish & Wildlife Department owns more than 80 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), two conservation camps, and five fish culture stations, totaling more than 133,000 acres throughout Vermont. A new rule allowing the department to better protect the public’s use of and interests in these lands was being developed as this went to press. The goal of the proposed rule is to formalize existing and ongoing management in order to improve enforcement capacity, clarify priority uses, and set clear expectations for the use of these lands.
Unlike other state-owned lands, WMAs are purchased and managed primarily through funds generated by the sale of hunting and trapping licenses, and the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Fund Program. This program was initiated in 1937 as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Act in which taxes are paid on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment.
Wildlife Management Areas were created for the conservation of fish, wildlife and their habitat, and to provide people with opportunities to enjoy these resources through fish- and wildlife- based outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, trapping and wildlife viewing and photography. Please check our website to see the final adopted rule.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.