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. In addition, it’s your responsibility to follow the four basic rules of safe hunting:
Machine Guns & Autoloading Rifles
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 rim fire 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.
Skunks may be taken with the aid of a light of not more than 9 volts. A light of not more than 9 volts may be used while locating in and taking from a tree any raccoon treed by a dog.
Laser sights are illegal for hunting.
Waterfowl & other Migratory Birds: Set annually.
Raccoon and Skunk: 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.)
Motor Vehicles, ATVs, Snowmobiles, Road Hunting
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.
Paraplegic Hunters: A paraplegic with a proper permit may hunt from a stationary motor vehicle when it is at least 10 feet from the traveled portion of the road and when he or she has the landowner’s permission to park. Contact Fish & Wildlife at 802-241-3700.
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 other motor-propelled craft or any vehicle drawn by a motor-propelled vehicle.
Road Hunting: A person shall not take or attempt to take any wild animal by shooting a firearm, bow and arrow or crossbow while on or within 10 feet of the traveled portion of a public highway. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $1,000.
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 must accompany a dog being trained to hunt and pursue the species listed below during the specified times, and a firearm may not be carried:
Bear: Permit Required — June 1 to September 15, sunrise to sunset; see additional regulations;
Rabbits, hare and game birds: June 1 to the last Saturday in September, from sunrise to sunset;
Raccoon: June 1 to the last Saturday in September, any time of day or night;
Fox and bobcat: June 1 to March 15, except during regular deer season.
By Fish & Wildlife permit, a person without a gun 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 hunting dog may be trained without the involvement of game at any time.
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.
Tree Stands & Ground Blinds
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. Temporary tree stands and ground blinds are allowed from the third Saturday in August through the third Saturday in December.
Temporary blinds on state wildlife management areas 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.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.