Furbearer Hunting & Trapping
Furbearer Trapping Seasons
The following are classified as furbearing animals: beaver, otter, marten, mink, raccoon, fisher, fox, skunk, muskrat, bobcat, coyote, weasel, opossum, lynx, and wolf.
An applicant for a trapping license must have either:
- A previous or current trapping license from any state or Canadian province; or
- A certificate showing satisfactory completion of a trapper education course, in any state or Canadian province; or
- A signed affidavit attesting to having a prior trapping license.
It is mandatory for trappers to fill out and return an Annual Trapper’s Report for each year they possess a trapping license.
Anyone dealing in pelts must have a valid fur buyer’s license. The fur buyer’s license is available from Fish & Wildlife in Springfield (phone 802-289-0613).
- Trapping in Wildlife Management Unit-E requires setting traps under special restrictions designed to avoid Canada lynx. This regulation is available on the Fish & Wildlife website and from our offices.
- Landowner permission is required to trap on all private property not owned by the trapper.
- Trappers are required to check their traps at least once a day and dispatch or release any captured animal. The only exception is body gripping traps set in the water or set under the ice, colony/cage traps set underwater, or foothold traps under the ice, which trappers are required to check every three calendar days and remove any animal caught.
- Every trap a trapper sets on lands they do not own is required to have their name and address permanently and legibly attached to the trap or engraved on the trap.
- All traps under ice will be marked with a tag visible above the ice.
- Body gripping traps with a jaw spread over eight inches must be set five feet or higher above the ground, or in the water (see diagram, page 39).
- A person shall not use toothed foothold traps or snares when trapping.
- A person shall not set a trap between December 31 and the following fourth Saturday in October unless the trap is in the water, under the ice, or on a float in the water.
- A person shall not possess a living fur-bearing animal, except as provided by rules of the board or part 4 of Title 10.
- A person shall not possess a fur-bearing animal trapped outside of its legal season without the written authorization of the department, not to include animals taken pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 4828.
- A person shall not possess fur or skin of a fur-bearing animal that was taken illegally.
- A person shall not take a fur-bearing animal by use of any poisonous mixture.
- A person shall not take a fur-bearing animal from its den by cutting, digging, smoking, by the use of chemicals, or by the use of mechanical devices.
- New This Year A person who incidentally traps a dog or cat shall notify a Vermont State Game Warden or the Department within 24 hours of discovering the animal.
Trapping License Required of Nuisance Trapper
New This Year A person who for compensation sets a trap for rabbits or furbearing animals on the property of another person in defense of that property shall possess a valid trapping license.
Coyote Hunting Competitions Prohibited
New This Year It is illegal to participate in a coyote hunting competition for a prize. Fine for first offense is $400 to $1,000 and ten points on a hunter’s license and second offense is $2,000 to $4,000 and twenty points on a hunter’s license.
- A person shall not disturb or destroy a beaver or muskrat den or place a trap on or in the den, or in the entrance to the den.
- A person may set a trap within 10 feet of the nearest point, above the water, of a beaver house or dam only from the 4th Saturday in October through the last day of February, all dates inclusive.
- Except for the setting of traps as provided above, a person shall not interfere in any manner with dams, dens, or houses of beaver except upon prior written approval from the Commissioner.
- An offset trigger is no longer required on beaver traps during the month of March. Otter trapping season now includes the entire month of March.
Bobcat, Otter, Fisher
- From December 17 to December 31, both dates inclusive, in order to minimize incidental bobcat harvest during the remainder of the fisher season, a person shall not set a body-gripping trap with a jaw spread over 6 inches measured inside the jaws unless the trap is set 5 or more feet above the ground, or in the water (see diagram).
- The skins of bobcat, otter and fisher legally taken may be possessed, transported, bought and sold only when tagged and marked as hereinafter provided.
- A person who takes bobcats, otter or fisher during these seasons shall notify authorized department staff within 48 hours of the close of the season. Pelts shall be presented to authorized department staff for tagging. Such tags shall remain affixed to the pelts until tanned. Carcasses shall be surrendered to authorized department staff at the time of tagging.
- No bobcat, otter or fisher pelts or carcasses taken during these seasons shall be transported out of the state of Vermont prior to being tagged by authorized department staff.
- A person who takes bobcat, fisher and otter pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 4828 and who desires to keep the pelt shall notify authorized department staff within 84 hours of the taking. Pelts shall be presented to authorized department staff for tagging. Such tags shall remain affixed to the pelts until tanned. Carcasses shall be surrendered to authorized department staff at the time of tagging.
- A person shooting raccoons during the raccoon hunting season shall use a .22 caliber rimfire firearm or a shotgun with #2 shot or smaller.
- A light may be used to illuminate and shoot 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.
How to measure a body-gripping trap:
Measure the inside distance between the outer frames of the trap. The addition of one or more bars to the inside of the frame does not change the way these traps are measured. The measurement is still the MAXIMUM distance as shown in this picture: