Licenses are Required
Any person engaged in fishing, hunting, trapping 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.
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 within the boundary of that land without a license within season (except if their right to obtain a license is under suspension, or for seasons requiring a special tag such as moose, antlerless muzzleloader, and waterfowl seasons). A nonresident owner of land has equal privilege if his or her land is NOT posted (except if their right to obtain a license is under suspension). “Posted” means any signage that would lead a reasonable person to believe that hunting is prohibited on the land, except for “Safety Zone” signs.
My License Covers What?
Basic Hunting Licenses include a late season bear tag, and a November season legal buck tag. They also cover small game hunting. Combination licenses include a late season bear tag, November buck tag, small game hunting, and fishing. Add-on licenses are required for early season bear, archery deer season, muzzleloader deer season, and turkey seasons (each with their own tags).
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 complete 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 Fish & Wildlife offices, license agents and our website.
Any questions on eligibility for military licenses should be directed to 802-828-1190 or firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to:
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
1 National Life Drive, Dewey Building
Montpelier, VT 05620-3208
In order to obtain annual 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 an annual resident fishing, hunting or combination license.
To qualify, the student must have successfully completed two successive semesters at his or her Vermont school or college, must present an admission card, and must pay the resident fee.
Mentored Hunting licenses are available everywhere licenses are sold.
A mentored hunting license is available to a resident or nonresident who:
- Has never successfully completed a hunter safety course.
- Has never held a hunting license in Vermont or any other state or province.
A person issued a mentored hunting license may hunt when:
- Accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older who holds a valid Vermont hunting license. In these circumstances, the term “accompanied” means the mentored hunter is in the direct control and supervision of the fully licensed adult hunter and is within 15 feet of the fully licensed adult hunter.
- A parent or legal guardian has also signed the license if the applicant is 15 years old or younger.
The licensed adult hunter may take hunting only one person with a mentored hunting license. The licensed adult must have purchased all tags and stamps appropriate for the type of hunting they are participating in (for example, a turkey tag for mentored turkey hunting).
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:
- A person who holds a mentored hunting license is not eligible to hold a moose permit or accompany moose hunters, or participate in youth deer, or youth turkey hunting weekends.
- A person who holds a mentored hunting license who is 16 or older is required to purchase and carry a federal duck stamp in order to hunt waterfowl.
- A mentored hunting license shall only be issued twice to any one individual.
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.
NEW THIS YEAR Any Vermont resident who is 66 or older may apply for a permanent license on our website, at an authorized license agent, at our district offices or through the mail to the Fish & Wildlife office. Permanent licenses have a one-time fee of $60.
If a permanent license holder wishes to hunt for a second archery deer, he/she must purchase the additional archery license. If waterfowl hunting, he/she must also purchase state and federal duck stamps and register with H.I.P. each year.
Permanent licenses do not include duck stamps or entries into the moose and antlerless lotteries or permits.
Permanent licenses must be renewed each year. Renewal is free , but if you choose to go to a license agent, they may charge up to $1.50.
A legally blind person who is a Vermont resident may apply for a free permanent fishing license. Information is available from the Fish & Wildlife office or our website.
A Vermont resident who is paraplegic or who is certified by a physician to have permanent severe physical mobility disability, 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 60% or more disabled due to a service connected disability, may receive a free permanent fishing or combination license, if qualified, upon presentation of a letter from the Veterans Administration specifically indicating the service connected disability rating.
To see if you qualify for the license, call the Veterans Benefits Section at 802-828-1190. 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.
Permanent licenses do not include duck stamps or entries into the moose and antlerless lotteries or permits.
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 main office in Montpelier. Fees are as follows:
- for children < 1 year old = 6x current adult license price.
- for children 1–15 years old = 16x current adult license price.
- for adults 16–24 years old = 31x current adult license price.
- for adults 25–64 years old = 26x current adult license price.
Lifetime and Permanent License Renewal
If you intend to hunt, fish, or trap in 2018, you must update your lifetime, permanent disability, or permanent license regardless of whether or not you used your tags. This statutory requirement has been put in place to allow the department to collect accurate harvest and licensing information for lifetime licenses.
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 online you may go to any authorized license agent or Fish & Wildlife Office and request to have your license updated. You can also call us at 802-828-1190 to be updated. A license agent may charge you up to $1.50 for a reprint.
An applicant for a hunting, combination hunting and fishing, archery, or trapping license must present either:
- A previous or current hunting, combination, archery or trapping license from Vermont or any state or Canadian province; or
- A certificate or a letter of proof showing satisfactory completion of an approved hunter safety, archery, or trapping education course from Vermont or any other state or province; or
- Completed affidavit attesting to having a prior hunting, combination, archery, or trapping license from Vermont or any other state or province.
A person under age 16 must have his or her parent or guardian sign to obtain a hunting license.
NOTE—State firearms laws, found at 13 V.S.A. Sect. 4017, 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 centerfire and rimfire firearms , including muzzleloaders with #209 primers. For a complete list of prohibitions, contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at 802-865-4020.
A list of upcoming hunter education courses is available at www.vtfishandwildlife.com or by calling 802-828-1193.
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 10 V.S.A. Sect. 4266. An electronic or digital copy of the license is acceptable. Tags are required to be carried while big game hunting. Minor children must still carry a paper license signed by their parent.
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.
- For 10 to 14 points accumulated in 5 years: 1 year suspension
- For 15 to 19 points accumulated in 5 years: 2 year suspension
- For 20 points or more accumulated in 5 years: 3 year suspension
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 in Vermont or any other state that is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
Landowners may not hunt, fish or trap on their land if their license is suspended.
Up to $4,000 and additional suspension period and up to 60 days in jail.
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).
BUYING YOUR LICENSE
We offer three easy ways to purchase your license:
Online at www.vtfishandwildlife.com
The online license buying process is easy. You will need:
To purchase a hunting, combination, archery or trapping license:
Important things to remember:
Purchase your license at one of our district offices or from an authorized license agent.
A list of license agents is available on our website or you can call 802-828-1190 for an agent closest to you.
Print a license application from our website to fill out and send in with your payment.
Vermont is a member of the
Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact
The Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact (IWVC) ensures that in participating states, nonresident violators will receive the same treatment as resident violators. IWVC member states reciprocate in the suspension or revocation of licenses and permits resulting from violation of hunting, fishing or trapping laws.
If an individual’s license or permit privileges are revoked in one compact member state, they are subject to suspension or revocation in all other member states. For example, if a Vermont resident has their hunting privileges suspended in Minnesota, their privileges may also be suspended in Vermont and in all other compact states. This helps prevent habitual violators from relocating their illegal activities to other member’s states.
The IWVC also has established procedures that cause a nonresident violator who fails to comply with the terms of a citation issued in a participating state to face the possibility of the suspension of their wildlife license privileges in their home state until the terms of the citation are met. The goal of the IWVC is to facilitate improved enforcement of hunting, fishing and trapping laws through the cooperation of law enforcement units in member states.