A person of any age engaged in fishing, hunting or taking any wild animals must be properly licensed, except as listed below under exceptions. Wild animals are defined by law as ALL animals, including birds, amphibians, and reptiles, other than domestic animals.
Exceptions to License Requirements
A resident owner of land in Vermont, his or her spouse, and minor children may hunt within the boundary of that land and take fish from a private pond (see definition below) within the boundary of that land without a license within season. Hunting and fishing must be done according to regulations. A nonresident owner of land has equal privilege if his or her land is NOT posted. “Posted” means any signage that would lead a reasonable person to believe that hunting is prohibited on the land, except for “Safety Zone” signs.
Private Pond: A person owning a natural pond of not more than twenty acres or an artificial pond entirely on his or her premises, stocked with fish at his or her own expense, may take fish from such pond at any time for propagation or consumption as food on his or her premises, provided that the sources of water for such pond are entirely upon his or her premises or that fish do not have access to such pond from waters not under his or her control or from waters stocked at expense of the state.
Fishing: Under age 15, no license required.
FREE FISHING DAY: Saturday, June 8 is Free Fishing Day in Vermont this year. Residents and nonresidents may fish without a license. All legal fishing methods and limits apply.
Free Fishing Day is intended to introduce first-time anglers to the joys of fishing.
Any RESIDENT of Vermont who certifies that he or she is serving on active duty in the armed forces of the United States or is performing, or is under orders to perform, a homeland defense or state-side contingency operation for a period of 120 or more consecutive days may obtain at no cost a hunting or fishing license or combination hunting and fishing license. A person who obtains a license under this provision may keep the license until it expires, whether or not the person continues to serve in the armed forces. If requesting a hunting or combination license, you also need to submit a copy of your hunter education certification, a previous hunting license, or sign an affidavit stating you have held a hunting license.
A NONRESIDENT member of the armed forces of the United States who certifies that he or she is on active duty and stationed at a military, air or naval post, station or base within Vermont may buy a license to hunt or fish at the resident fee.
These licenses are available from our Montpelier office and from our website. They are not available at license agents at this time. Any questions on eligibility for military licenses should be directed to 802-241-3695 or firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to:
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
1 National Life Drive, North 2
Montpelier, VT 05620-3702
In order to obtain resident licenses, a person must have lived in Vermont for the six months immediately prior to applying for a license and NOT claimed residence elsewhere for any other reason. An applicant for a resident lifetime license must have been a resident for at least 12 months or must be a dependent of a resident.
A nonresident student who is enrolled in a high school, college or university within the state is entitled to a resident fishing, hunting or combination license. To qualify, the student must have successfully completed two successive semesters at his or her school or college, must present an admission card, and must pay the resident fee.
Resident and nonresident licenses may be purchased from the Fish & Wildlife website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com), and if available, at license agents located in sporting goods stores, convenience stores, and some town clerks, and at Fish & Wildlife offices.
Mentored Hunting License
Mentored Hunting licenses are available from Fish & Wildlife offices and our website.
A mentored hunting license is available to a resident or nonresident who:
A person issued a mentored hunting license may hunt when:
The fully licensed adult hunter may take afield only one person at a time who holds a mentored hunting license and shall sign and date the mentored hunting license at the time of the hunt.
A person holding a mentored hunting license is subject to the bag limit of the fully licensed adult accompanying hunter. When game is taken by a person holding a mentored hunting license, it shall be deemed taken by the fully licensed adult accompanying hunter.
After tagging and reporting game, if required, a person who holds a mentored hunting license may, unaccompanied by the fully licensed adult hunter, transport game he or she has taken.
There are limitations on a person who holds a mentored hunting license.
Penalties for Violations
Fines for a violation of this section or any fish and wildlife law are doubled and assessed against the fully licensed adult hunter accompanying the mentored license hunter. Points for the violation(s) will be assessed against the fully licensed adult hunter.
Any Vermont resident who is 65 or older may apply for a permanent license on our website, in person or through the mail to the Fish & Wildlife office for a one-time fee of $50.
If a permanent license holder wishes to hunt for a second or third archery deer, he/she must purchase the additional archery licenses. If waterfowl hunting, he/she must also purchase state and federal duck stamps and register with H.I.P. each year.
We are requesting that you update your permanent license each year regardless of whether or not you used your tags. This updated license will include current year tags. You may update your license at no cost on-line at our website www.vtfishandwildlife.com. If you are unable to go on-line you may go to any participating Point Of Sale license agent or Fish & Wildlife Office and request to have your permanent license updated.
Permanent Disability Licenses
A legally blind person who is a Vermont resident may apply for a free permanent fishing license. Information is available from the office or our website.
A Vermont resident who is paraplegic may receive a free permanent fishing, hunting or combination license, if qualified, with the proper proof of disability. “Paraplegic” is a person with permanent paralysis of the lower half of the body with involvement or loss of both legs. A Statement of Disability form is available from the office or our website.
A Vermont resident who is a veteran of the armed forces of the United States and who is 100% disabled due to a service connected disability, may receive a free fishing or combination license, if qualified, upon presentation of a letter from the Veterans Administration specifically indicating you are entitled to a free license. To see if you qualify for the license, call the Veterans Benefits Section at 1-800-827-1000. If you qualify for a combination license, you will also receive turkey and muzzleloader deer licenses, If you qualify for an archery license, you will receive one. Moose and antlerless deer permits and duck stamps are not included.
A resident or nonresident lifetime fishing, hunting, or combination fishing and hunting license may be obtained from the Fish & Wildlife Department. Applications are available on our website or from the office. Fees are as follows:
We are requesting that you update your lifetime license each year regardless of whether or not you used your tags. This updated license will include current year tags. You may update your license at no cost on-line at our website www.vtfishandwildlife.com. If you are unable to go on-line you may go to any participating Point Of Sale license agent or Fish & Wildlife Office and request to have your license updated.
Requirements for Hunting, Combination Hunting and Fishing, Archery & Trapping Licenses
An applicant for a hunting, combination hunting and fishing, archery, or trapping license must present either:
A person under age 16 must have his or her parent or guardian sign in the presence of an issuing agent to obtain a hunting license.
NOTE—Federal firearms laws, found at 18 U.S.C. Sect. 922, prohibit certain individuals, including those convicted of felonies or any domestic violence offense, those subject to a final relief from abuse order and unlawful users of controlled substances from possessing center fire and rim fire firearms. For a complete list of prohibitions, contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at 802-865-4020.
Hunter Education Courses
A list of upcoming hunter education courses is available at www.vtfishandwildlife.com or, by calling 802-241-3720.
Appropriate licenses must be carried while hunting, fishing, trapping or transporting fish, game or furbearers. The licenses must be exhibited on demand of a State Game Warden or other enforcement officer, or the owner of the land on which such person is hunting, fishing or trapping. See Title 10 V.S.A. Section 4266.
State Border Requirements
A person with a resident Vermont fishing license may take fish anywhere in the Connecticut River, subject to the regulations of Vermont and New Hampshire. Hunting licenses for residents and nonresidents are only valid to the New Hampshire state boundary, which is the low water mark on the Vermont side of the Connecticut River. For Lake Champlain fishing license information, see “Fishing Licenses” in Fishing Information section.
10 V.S.A. Sect. 4502—the “Uniform Point System”—provides that hunting, fishing and trapping licenses will be revoked based on the number of points received when a person is convicted of violating a fish or wildlife law.
Conviction of carelessly or negligently wounding a person by gunshot, or manslaughter by the careless and negligent use of firearms, will, by statute, revoke the hunting license privilege or the right to obtain such license for five years.
It is illegal to hunt, fish or trap while a license or right to obtain a license is under suspension.
Fine—up to $2,000 and additional suspension period.
Remedial Course: A person whose license is revoked with 15 or more points accumulated in five years must successfully complete a remedial course designed to teach hunters, trappers and anglers correct legal and ethical behavior while hunting, trapping and fishing.
Suspension Per Family Court Orders: Vermont hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and permits may be suspended for failure to comply with child support orders of the Family Court. 15 V.S.A. Sect. 798(b).
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.