Ruffed Grouse are the most widely available upland game in Vermont. Good numbers of “partridge” can be found wherever brushy forest stands provide nesting cover, protection from predators, and food in the form of berries and buds. Overgrown apple orchards, abandoned hillside farms, and regenerating clear cuts covered with hardwood thickets are all grouse hot spots. Although grouse are found statewide, the Northeast Kingdom offers some of the best grouse hunting.
The following are classified as game birds: quail, ruffed grouse, chukar partridge, woodcock, pheasant, common snipe, coot, wild ducks, wild geese, and wild turkey (which is classified as big game). Other wild birds including spruce grouse and Hungarian partridge have no open season.
Seasons & Bag Limits
* Practically nonexistent except by private stocking.
Migratory Bird Regulations
The Fish & Wildlife Department issues waterfowl and other migratory game bird regulations through license agents shortly before the opening of the seasons. These regulations are set by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
State & Federal Waterfowl Stamps
Both Vermont and federal waterfowl stamps are required to hunt migratory waterfowl for hunters 16 and older. Federal stamps are sold at post offices. Vermont State Waterfowl Stamps are available from Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department offices statewide and license agents for $7.50. A state waterfowl stamp is good for the calendar year and no longer needs to be signed by the hunter.
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend
A youth waterfowl hunting weekend for residents and nonresidents is usually held in late September for hunters 15 and under. Check the migratory bird hunting rules, available in September, for details.
Waterfowl blinds may not be placed on or in the waters of the state earlier than the first Saturday of September of any year. Anyone who places a blind must have their name and address permanently and legibly affixed on the blind by waterproof paint or rustproof tag.
Waterfowl blinds located on or in any waters of the state except Lake Champlain must be removed, together with contents and any surrounding debris, on or before May 15 of the following year. A waterfowl blind located on or in Lake Champlain must be removed on or before February 15 of the following year. Also see Tree Stands and Ground Blinds sections.
It is illegal to take waterfowl or coots in Vermont while possessing loose shot or shot shells loaded with shot other than nontoxic shot. Shot should be of a size no larger than size T.
It is illegal to take a group or combination of waterfowl/coots and other species in Vermont while possessing loose shot or shot shells loaded with any shot other than nontoxic shot.
Woodcock are found statewide. “Timberdoodles” feed primarily on worms, and they favor areas with moist, rich soils covered with dense stands of woody shrubs and sapling-stage hardwoods. Alder swales, regenerating clear cuts and abandoned pastures covered with thickets of dogwood, sumac, birch and aspen are all likely woodcock covers. Locally hatched native birds provide hunting early in the season, but the best shooting is in mid to late October, when large numbers of flight birds are pushed out of Canada by cold weather. The best hunting is generally in the Champlain Valley and Northeast Kingdom.
Season: Set annually.
Woodcock and common snipe are migratory game birds. Migratory game birds, including waterfowl, may be taken only by shotgun with one-piece plug or manufactured to restrict it to three-shot capacity. State and Federal duck stamps are not required for woodcock or snipe hunting.