Hunter orange is not required by law in Vermont, but wearing it might save your life. Almost half of Vermont’s hunting-related shootings might be prevented if hunters wear hunter orange.
A New York study found that 94% of hunters involved in mistaken for game accidents were not wearing hunter orange. This is even more startling when you consider that 81% of New York hunters do wear hunter orange.
Most states and Canadian provinces require it for hunting upland and big game animals.
Wearing at least a fluorescent orange hat and vest will help other hunters see you. It’s also your responsibility to follow the four basic rules of safe hunting:
It is illegal while hunting in Vermont to use, carry, or have in your possession a machine gun of any kind or description or an autoloading rifle with a magazine capacity of over 6 cartridges, except a .22 caliber rifle using rimfire cartridges.
Wherever a rifle may be used in hunting, a handgun is permitted.
Muzzleloading rifles, shotguns and pistols may be used for hunting whenever modern firearms may be used. See muzzleloader deer season for more information.
It is illegal to intentionally throw or cast the rays of a spotlight, jack, or other artificial light on any highway, or any field, woodland, or forest, in order to spot, locate, take, or attempt to spot, locate or take any wild animal.
A light may be used to illuminate and shoot a raccoon once treed by a dog, or dogs, during the raccoon hunting season. A light may also be used to illuminate a raccoon once treed by a dog, or dogs, during the training season.
Laser sights are illegal for hunting.
Waterfowl & other Migratory Birds: See the Syllabus of State and Federal Hunting Regulations for Migratory Birds In Vermont available each year in September.
Raccoon: Any hour within hunting season.
Coyote: Any hour, no lights allowed.
All Others: One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. (See Sunrise/Sunset Tables.)
State Lands: Motor vehicles, including ATVs (all terrain vehicles) motorcycles, or snowmobiles may only be operated on designated trails in state wildlife management areas, state parks or state forests.
Private Lands: It is illegal to operate an ATV or snowmobile on any privately owned land or body of private water unless the operator has written permission of the owner or is a member of a club which has landowner permission. It is illegal to obstruct private driveways, barways, or gateways with a motor vehicle. It is illegal to park or drive a motor vehicle of any kind on private land without permission.
Hunting from motor vehicle: It is illegal to take any wild animal by shooting with firearm or bow and arrow from any motor vehicle. Motor vehicles include cars, trucks, snowmobiles, ATVs, motorboats, airplanes and any conveyance or trailer towed by these.
Permanently Disabled Hunters: A permanently disabled hunter with a proper permit may hunt from a stationary boat, or a motor vehicle that is at least 10 feet from the traveled portion of the road and when he or she has the landowner’s permission to park. Shooting across the road is prohibited. Contact Fish & Wildlife at 802-828-1000.
Transporting Firearms & Crossbows in Motor Vehicles: A person shall not carry or possess while in or on a vehicle propelled by mechanical power or drawn by a vehicle propelled by mechanical power within the right of way of a public highway a rifle or shotgun containing a loaded cartridge or shell in the chamber, mechanism, or in a magazine or clip within a rifle or shotgun, or a muzzleloading rifle or muzzleloading shotgun that has been charged with powder and projectile and the ignition system of which has been enabled by having an affixed or attached percussion cap, primer, battery, or priming powder. Unless it is uncocked, a person shall not possess or transport a crossbow in or on a motor vehicle, motorboat, airplane, snowmobile, ATV, or ther motor-propelled craft or any vehicle drawn by a motorpropelled vehicle.
Road Hunting: (NEW this year) A person shall not take or attempt to take any wild animal by shooting a firearm, muzzleloader, bow and arrow or crossbow while on or within 25 feet of the traveled portion of a public highway, except a public highway designated Class 4 on a town highway map. A person while on or within the traveled portion of a Class 4 public highway shall not take or attempt to take any wild animal by shooting a firearm, muzzleloader, bow and arrow, or crossbow. It is illegal to shoot a firearm, muzzleloader, bow and arrow, or crossbow over or across the travelled portion of a public highway. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $1,000.
Aerial Hunting Prohibitions: (NEW this year) It is unlawful for any person to take or attempt to take wild animals while a person is flying in an aircraft. Aircraft includes, but is not limited to, planes and helicopters.
It shall be unlawful for any person to take or attempt to take wild animals by use of an unmanned aerial vehicle or drone. Unmanned aerial vehicle includes but is not limited to drones. “Drone” means any device capable of flying in the air which is remotely, automatically or otherwise piloted without an occupant.
It is unlawful for any person to use an aerial vehicle, drone or unmanned aircraft to:
Deer and Moose: Dogs may not be used in taking deer or moose. Dog owners are responsible for keeping their dogs restricted so they cannot take or harass deer or moose at any time of year. Dogs may be shot by wardens and certain other law officers when the dogs are caught harassing deer or moose and the dog owner may be fined and have licenses revoked.
Training Hunting Dogs: A person with a hunting license may train a dog to hunt and pursue the species listed below during the specified times:
By Fish & Wildlife permit, a person with a hunting license, may train and condition a hunting dog to hunt and pursue game from the second Monday in March to June 1 from sunrise to sunset inside an area fenced sufficiently to contain the breed of dogs being trained or conditioned. An agent of the commissioner must inspect this fenced area before a permit may be issued. The owner, trainer or handler must accompany dogs being trained or conditioned inside the fence.
A person training a hunting dog may possess a handgun while training, provided that the person shall not take game by any method. A long gun may not be carried while training a dog with game.
Leashed Tracking Dog to Recover Deer or Bear: A hunter who believes he or she has legally killed or wounded a deer or bear during hunting season may engage a person who has a “Leashed Tracking Dog Certificate” issued by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to track and recover the animal during the season or within 24 hours after the season ends. Except as otherwise permitted in bear hunting, no person may use a dog to track dead or wounded deer or bear.
Applications for the “Leashed Tracking Dog Certificate” cost $25.00. First-time leashed tracking dog certificates, valid for five years, cost $100.00 for residents and $200.00 for nonresidents. Applicants must pass a test. Renewal certificates are $125.00 for residents and $225.00 for nonresidents.
Private Land: A person must have the landowner’s permission to build, erect, maintain, use or occupy a permanent or portable tree stand or ground blind for any purpose on any private land in Vermont. Anyone who builds, erects, or maintains a tree stand or ground blind shall permanently mark the stand or blind with the owner’s name and address. Marking must be legible and placed so it can be read conveniently and easily. This does not apply to a landowner who builds, erects, or maintains a tree stand or ground blind on his or her own land. It is illegal to use someone else’s blind without landowner permission.
State Wildlife Management Areas: Permanent tree stands and ground blinds are prohibited on state Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Temporary tree stands and ground blinds are allowed without written permission from the department from the third Sunday in August through the third Saturday in December, May 1-31 (dates inclusive), or during any Youth Hunting Day or Youth Hunting Weekend. Blinds used during any other time (for wildlife viewing or photography) may be erected and used with prior written permission from the District Manager of the WMA. For information on placement of blinds on or in waters of the state for the purpose of waterfowl hunting, see Duck Blinds under the Game Bird Hunting section.
Temporary blinds on state WMAs must be constructed according to the following requirements:
No damage may be done to any living tree in erecting, maintaining, using or accessing the stand or blind except that:
Tree stands and ground blinds that do not conform to this regulation are prohibited and may be confiscated and/or destroyed by the department. Building, erecting, maintaining, using or occupying a non-conforming tree stand or ground blind is prohibited. Construction of any tree strand or ground blind does not confer exclusive use of its location to the person who built it. Any person may use that location for purposes consistent with this rule.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.