Vermonters have a proud heritage of living close to the land in our very rural state. Hunting is a way of life here. In fact, the Vermont Constitution guarantees the right to hunt. Article 67 states “The inhabitants of this State shall have liberty in seasonable times, to hunt and fowl on the lands they hold, and on other lands not enclosed.” But what does that mean?
All private land in Vermont is open to all hunters when that land is not posted as closed to hunting. While landowner permission is not required for hunters on private lands, hunters should still ask the permission of the landowner before proceeding. Hunters who treat the land and landowner with respect almost always find that landowners are happy to grant permission.
Hunters in Vermont should remember that it is illegal to shoot at wildlife from within 25 feet of all public highways. Shooting across public highways is also prohibited. It’s also a good idea for hunters to maintain a safe distance from houses in order to not disturb occupants.
Visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com/wildlife_hunteraccess_huntertips.cfm for tips on hunting on private land.
Vermont has more than 800,000 acres of federal and state public land open to hunting; National Wildlife Refuges, the Green Mountain National Forest, and all state forests. State parks are open to hunting outside the operating season.
Perhaps the crown jewel of hunting in Vermont is the state’s system of Wildlife Management Areas, or WMAs. All WMAs are open to hunting, trapping, fishing and other wildlife related outdoor activities. Check out the maps and other information on the Fish & Wildlife website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com), and in the “Guide to Wildlife Management Areas of Vermont” guidebook, available through the online store.
The Fish & Wildlife Department recently opened the first public shooting range in Vermont at Hammond’s Cove in Hartland. There are numerous privately operated shooting ranges throughout the state. Information about these ranges is available on our website.
The maps near the back of this guide show state and federal lands. To learn more about Vermont hunting, check our website, call us at (802) 828-1000, or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.