A person of any age engaged in fishing, hunting 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.
Exceptions to License Requirements
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 (see definition below) within the boundary of that land without a license within season. Hunting and fishing must be done according to regulations. A nonresident owner of land has equal privilege if his or her land is NOT posted. “Posted” means any signage that would lead a reasonable person to believe that hunting is prohibited on the land, except for “Safety Zone” signs.
Private Pond: A person owning a natural pond of not more than twenty acres or an artificial pond entirely on his or her premises, stocked with fish at his or her own expense, may take fish from such pond at any time for propagation or consumption as food on his or her premises, provided that the sources of water for such pond are entirely upon his or her premises or that fish do not have access to such pond from waters not under his or her control or from waters stocked at expense of the state.
Fishing: Under age 15, no license required.
FREE FISHING DAY: Saturday, June 9 is Free Fishing Day in Vermont this year. Residents and nonresidents may fish without a license. All legal fishing methods and limits apply.
Free Fishing Day is intended to introduce first-time anglers to the joys of fishing.
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 sign 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 our office and from our website. They are not available at license agents at this time. Any questions on eligibility for military licenses should be directed to 802-241-3695 or firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to:
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
103 South Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05671-0501
In order to obtain 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 a resident fishing, hunting or combination license. To qualify, the student must have
successfully completed two successive semesters at his or her school or college, must present an admission card, and must pay the resident fee.
Resident and nonresident licenses may be purchased from the Fish & Wildlife website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com), if available, at license agents located in sporting goods stores, convenience stores, and some town clerks, and at the Fish & Wildlife office, 802-241-3700.
A lost license can be replaced by the issuing agent for $5.00. If the agent is no longer selling licenses, you may apply at Fish & Wildlife, 802-241-3700.
Licenses expire on December 31. Exception: the fur buyer’s license is valid July 1–June 30.
Mentored Hunting License
Mentored Hunting licenses are available from the Department’s office and on our website.
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 that 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 fully licensed adult hunter may take afield only one person at a time who holds a mentored hunting license and shall sign and date the mentored hunting license at the time of the hunt.
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 is available for only two separate calendar years.
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.
Any Vermont resident who is 65 or older may apply for a permanent license in person or through the mail to the Fish & Wildlife office for a one-time fee of $36. Apply on the same form as the current annual licenses.
If a permanent license holder wishes to hunt for a second or third archery deer, he/she must purchase the additional archery licenses. If waterfowl hunting, he/she must also purchase state and federal duck stamps and register with H.I.P.
A permanent license holder may receive a new free permanent license when the tags have been used or when the license is worn. Permanent license holders should wait until all hunting seasons are over to replace a license when the tags have been used. If a permanent license has been lost, it can be replaced for $5.00 at the Fish & Wildlife office or by mailing an application form requesting a replacement license and payment to the Fish & Wildlife Office.
Permanent Disability Licenses
A legally blind person who is a Vermont resident may apply for a free permanent fishing license. Information is available from the office or our website.
A Vermont resident who is paraplegic may receive a free permanent fishing 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, or ever has been, 100% disabled due to a service connected disability, may receive a free fishing or combination license, if qualified, upon presentation of a letter from the Veterans Administration specifically indicating you are entitled to a free license. To see if you qualify for the license, call the Veterans Benefits Section at 1-800-827-1000. 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. Moose and antlerless deer permits and duck stamps are not included.
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 office. Fees are as follows:
- for children < 1 year old = 5X current adult license price.
- for children 1-15 years old = 15X current adult license price.
- for adults 16-24 years old = 30X current adult license price.
- for adults 25-64 years old = 25X current adult license price.
Requirements for Hunting, Combination Hunting/Fishing, Archery
& Trapping Licenses
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
- Sign an 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 in the presence of an issuing agent to obtain a hunting license.
NOTE—Federal firearms laws, found at 18 U.S.C. Sect. 922, 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 center fire and rim fire firearms. For a complete list of prohibitions, contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at 802-865-4020.
Hunter Education Courses
A list of upcoming hunter education courses is available at www.vtfishandwildlife.com or, call 802-241-3720.
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 Title 10 V.S.A. Section 4266.
State Border Requirements
A person with a resident Vermont fishing license may take fish anywhere in the Connecticut River, subject to the regulations of Vermont and New Hampshire. Hunting licenses for residents and nonresidents are only valid to the New Hampshire state boundary, which is the low water mark on the Vermont side of the Connecticut River. For Lake Champlain fishing license information, see “Fishing Licenses” in Fishing Information section.
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.
Fine—up to $1,000 and additional suspension period.
Remedial Course: A person whose
license is revoked with 15 or more points accumulated in five years shall 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).
“Take” and “Taking” mean pursuing, shooting, hunting, killing, capturing, trapping, disturbing, harrying, worrying, wounding, snaring or netting fish, birds or quadrupeds. It includes placing, setting, drawing or using any net or other device commonly used to take fish or wild animals, whether they result in taking or not. It includes every attempt to take and every act of assistance to another person in taking or attempting to take fish or wild animals.
When taking is allowed by law, the taking shall be by lawful means in a lawful manner.
Camping and Trespass: It is illegal to park, drive or camp on another person’s land without permission of the landowner. You must immediately leave the property when the landowner requests it, whether the property is posted or not. Roadside or public highway turnouts are not legal for overnight camping.
State Lands: Camping on state land is prohibited except in designated camping areas.
Importation of Wildlife: It is illegal to bring live wild mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, or fish into Vermont without previously obtaining an importation permit from the Fish & Wildlife Department. Regulations are available from the department.
Interfering with Hunters, Fishermen and Trappers: It is illegal to intentionally interfere with someone who is lawfully taking fish or wild animals, or to disrupt the taking of any fish or wild animal by harassing or disturbing the fish or animal.
Interstate Highways: No one may legally travel on foot within the right-of-way or cross boundary fences along interstate highways. Rest areas and pullouts are NOT access areas for hunting, fishing or entering on adjacent lands unless posted as such.
Private Roads and Lands: Law prohibits obstructing private driveways, barways, or gateways with motor vehicles. People shall not drive over private lands or enter these lands for the purpose of camping without the permission of the landowner or rightful occupant, nor may they drive over roads marked as private.
Season Dates: All season dates in this book are inclusive.
Violators: In addition to the person who actually violates the regulations for hunting, fishing, and trapping, anyone who offers advice or assistance in a violation, or who knowingly shares in the proceeds, shall be punished as a principal violator.
Reimbursement for Illegally Taken Fish or Wildlife
In addition to any penalties imposed by the court, anyone who is convicted of illegally taking, destroying, or possessing wild animals must pay, as restitution, into the fish and wildlife fund no more than the following amounts:
Big Game $2,000.00
Species (T10, 5401) $2,000.00
Small Game $500.00
Threatened & Endangered Species
Vermont’s Threatened and Endangered Species are protected with a state fine of up to $2,000 for illegally taking one. The complete list is available on the Fish & Wildlife website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com). The list includes: lake sturgeon, stonecat, timber rattlesnake, bald eagle, spruce grouse, Eastern mountain lion, Canada lynx, marten, little brown bat and Indiana bat. Federal penalties also may apply. If in doubt, please check the list, and be sure to know how to identify the species you will be hunting.
Whenever possible, the hunter or
fisherman should check with the landowner before going onto his or her land. The privilege of using private land for your recreation is extended to you by the generosity of the landowner. It is illegal to damage or remove posters prohibiting hunting, fishing or trapping. In order to hunt, fish or trap on properly posted land, a person must have the written consent of the owner or the person having exclusive right to take fish or wild animals from that land.
SAFETY ZONE: A property owner may establish a 500-foot Safety Zone around an occupied dwelling, residence, barn, stable or other building with signs provided by the Fish & Wildlife Department. These signs shall be placed at each corner of the property and no more than 200 feet apart. Shooting is prohibited in the Safety Zone and no wild animal may be taken within it unless advance permission is obtained from the owner or rightful occupant
Posted Property Under Fish & Wildlife Law: Hunting, fishing or trapping on properly posted land is illegal. Properly posted land will have records filed with the town clerk and the Fish & Wildlife Department. See Title 10, V.S.A., Sections 5201 to 5206.
Whether the property is posted or not, a hunter or angler shall show their license if requested by the landowner.
A person must leave the land immediately on demand of the owner, whether the land is posted or not.
Posting Signs: Signs prohibiting fishing, hunting or trapping on properly posted land shall be as follows:
- The owner or the person who has exclusive rights to fish, hunt and trap on the land will post the signs. The owner or person posting the land shall annually record the posting at the town clerk’s office for a fee of $5.00
- Signs must be not less than 11½ inches wide by 8 inches high in size
- Lettering and background on the signs must be of contrasting colors
- The signs must contain the wording that hunting, fishing or trapping or any combination of the three are prohibited or forbidden
- Signs are valid even if additional information is on the sign, as long as a reasonable person would understand that hunting, fishing or trapping are prohibited or forbidden
- Legible signs must be maintained at all times and dated each year
Location of Posting Signs: Posting signs must be erected on or near all the boundaries, at each corner and not over 400 feet apart.
Falconry is legal by special permit. Contact Fish & Wildlife for information at (802) 241-3700.
Sale or Purchase of Fish & Game
Small Game: It is illegal to buy or sell a wild bird, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, or gray squirrel at any time.
Big Game: The only time it is legal to buy or sell big game or the meat of big game within the state is during the open season and for 20 days after the season ends. The meat of big game animals is not to be bought or sold for the purpose of being transported out of the state. It is illegal to buy or sell anadromous Atlantic salmon taken in the Connecticut River Basin and/or to buy or sell wild turkey at any time.
Other than the meat mentioned above, a person may buy or sell at any time:
- The head, hide and hoofs of legally taken deer or moose; or
- The head, hide, paws and internal organs of a legally taken black bear
Deer Hides: Anyone wishing to engage in the business of buying furs or skins of furbearers or deer hides must have a valid Fur Buyer’s License. Contact Fish & Wildlife at 802-241-3695.
Bear Parts: International trade in hides, claws, skulls, or teeth of black bear is regulated by federal law and international treaty. If you plan to sell your own bear hide or parts outside of the United States, you must obtain an export permit (for a fee) from the Federal Wildlife Permit Office, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Management Authority, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203, 1-800-358-2104. These products must be shipped through one of eleven designated ports (Boston is the nearest), or through another port under special permit (for a fee) from the same office. You do not need export permits and declarations to sell to domestic or foreign buyers within Vermont or the rest of the United States, or to sell through brokers who possess the necessary permits.
Sale and Purchase of Fish: Businesses may buy lawfully taken fish, with the approval of the Commissioner, pursuant to guidelines of the Board. Fish species to be bought or sold are restricted to species not protected by Title 10 V.S.A. Section 4611 — “A person shall not buy or sell a salmon, trout, lake trout, walleye, northern pike, muskellunge or black bass taken in this state, or imported from another state
or country where sale of such fish is prohibited, except such fish reared in licensed propagation farms within the state.”
Game Suppers: Game suppers may be held at any time by a church, volunteer fire department, fish and game club, or other nonprofit organization with a permit issued by a fish and wildlife warden.
Wild animals and fish legally taken in this state, or another state or country, may be transported and sold as part of a game supper authorized by permit. Big game provided by the Fish & Wildlife Department may also be sold at such suppers. Migratory waterfowl, cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hare, and anadromous salmon may not be sold. Permits for
game suppers must state the name of the organization holding the supper, as well as the date and location of the supper. A permit needs to be applied for at least
10 days before the date of the supper. Contact the Law Enforcement Division of the Fish & Wildlife Department for a permit application.
Transportation of Fish & Game
Transportation of fish or game is only permitted in the presence of the person who took that fish or game.
A person shall not transport fish or game:
- Taken by someone else unless the person who took the fish or game accompanies it;
- During closed season for that fish or game;
- If it exceeds the number or limit of fish or game that may legally be taken in a day.
However, a person traveling on land between a temporary abode such as a hunting camp and his or her home may transport in one day the number or limit of fish and game that may legally be taken in two days.
While on the waters of the state, a person may not transport more than one day’s limit of fish unless the fish is frozen, processed and packaged for storage.