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Vermont’s Youth Hunting Programs: Lifelong Pursuit


Vermont makes it easy for families to take time out and focus on the young hunter by offering youth-oriented hunter education classes and special youth seasons

Hunter Education: The First Step

To purchase their first license, all aspiring hunters, bowhunters and trappers must first successfully complete their respective hunter education course. All Vermont courses are free. They are led by certified volunteer instructors, and they are open to all ages and experience levels. The courses include basic firearm, bowhunter (and combination hunter-bowhunter) and trapper education. While they are available year-around, most courses are offered between August and October. All courses include a hands-on field day to learn shooting and navigation skills.

You can locate a course on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife website. Check back frequently as the website is updated often when new courses are scheduled, or sign-up to receive an email notification when a class in your area is posted.

To find a course or for more information:

Homestudy Option

Most courses are offered in a homestudy format to provide opportunities to all hunters. Rather than attending a series of classroom lectures, the student completes a workbook or an online course. A field day is still required for these courses.

Youth Season: Special Opportunities to Hunt

The department offers three special youth-only hunting seasons — spring turkey, waterfowl and deer — to ensure young hunters get the quality training they need from experienced hunters. These special seasons increase confidence in the hands-on use of firearms, reinforce the principles of hunting safety and promote interest in hunting and wildlife conservation. Most importantly, they take place under the supervision of an experienced mentor. Supervision by an unarmed adult is always required.

Being with family and friends is the most important factor in youth hunting interest. Hunting regularly during one’s youth leads to lifelong hunting participation. Thus these seasons are helping to produce confident, avid young hunters who go on to become successful, enthusiastic adult hunters.

Giving Back: Mentoring Young Hunters

A youngster’s first hunt can mark the beginning of a lifelong passion for the outdoors and a commitment to wildlife conservation.

To make the most of your time together:

  • Hunt Safe. No matter what the age, hunting is one the safest outdoor activities. Youth hunters are among the safest hunters when accompanied by an alert mentor.
  • Go often. Don’t just hunt the youth weekends. Lifelong hunting participation is directly related to the amount of time spent hunting in youth, especially when these experience occurs with a family or mentor.
  • Hunt Smart. Scouting and range practice are a necessary and exciting ingredients to any successful hunt.
  • Model Behavior. Safe and responsible hunters are mentored by safe and responsible hunters.
  • Have Fun! Being with family and friends and generally having a good time is more important to youth hunters than harvesting game. Don’t push too hard but help young hunters learn to appreciate the special opportunity that hunting offers. Above all, young hunters need positive reinforcement and encouragement.

Four Basic Rules of Safe Hunting:

  1. Treat every gun as if it is loaded.
  2. Point your gun in a safe direction.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  4. Be sure of your target and beyond.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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