Buying Your License
Anyone can apply for a fishing license. There is no requirement to have had a previous fishing license.
Important things to remember:
- Fill in your information as you wish it to appear on your license. Be sure to check that your personal information, such as your address, is up to date every time you buy a license.
- If you are purchasing a term fishing license (a fishing license for a shorter duration than the whole year), make sure you specify the day you plan to start fishing. Term fishing licenses are for consecutive days.
- If you are purchasing a hunting, combination, archery, or trapping license, you must have held a previous hunting, combination, archery, or trapping license in Vermont, any other state, or Canada, or have passed a state of Vermont– approved safety course. You may complete the license affidavit form certifying that you have held this type of license previously or passed a state of Vermont–approved safety course.
- A photo ID should be carried whenever you go fishing, hunting or trapping. Either a printed or a digital version of your license carried with you is acceptable.
We offer three easy ways to purchase all fishing or combination licenses:
- Go online to www.vtfishandwildlife.com.
You will need the following:
- Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer. You can download the free Acrobat Reader software from our website.
- A credit card. We accept Visa, Discover, or MasterCard for payment.
Nice to have ready if you have one:
- Your Conservation Identification Number or CID #. You can look up your Conservation ID on the website or find it on your previous license.
- Visit one of our district offices or authorized license agents. A list of license agents is available at www.vtfishandwildlife.com, or you can call us at (802) 828-1190 for an agent closest to you.
- Print a license application from www.vtfishandwildlife.com, fill out, and send in with your payment.
Licenses Are Required
Any person 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.
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. An electronic or digital copy of the license is acceptable, except for minor children who are hunting with rifle or bow must still carry a paper license signed by their parent.
FREE Fishing Days
The second Saturday in June and the last Saturday in January are Free Fishing Days in Vermont. Residents and nonresidents may fish without a license. All legal fishing methods and limits apply.
My License Covers What?
Fishing licenses cover fishing throughout the year.
Combination licenses include fishing as well as a late-season bear tag and a November regular season legal buck tag. They also cover small-game hunting. Add-on licenses are required for early season bear, archery deer season, muzzleloader deer season, and turkey seasons (each with their own tags).
In order to obtain resident annual 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 Vermont secondary school, college, or university, must present an admission card, and must pay the resident fee.
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 within the boundary of that land without a license within season (except if their right to obtain a license is under suspension). 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. Children under 15 never need a license to fish.
Any resident of Vermont who 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 stateside 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.
A nonresident member of the armed forces of the United States who 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.
Any questions on eligibility for military licenses?
Call (802) 828-1190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or send to:
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
Attn: Licensing 1 National Life Drive, Dewey Building
Montpelier, VT 05620-3208
Any Vermont resident who is 66 or older may apply for and purchase a permanent license on our website, at an authorized license agent, at our district offices, or by mail.
If a permanent license holder wishes to hunt for more than one archery deer, he/she must purchase additional archery licenses. 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 Disability Licenses
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 www.vtfishandwildlife.com.
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 percent disabled due to a service-connected disability may receive a free fishing or combination license, if qualified, upon presentation of a certificate issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs so certified by Title 10 V.S.A. Section 4255.
To see if you qualify for the license, call Licensing at (802) 828-1190. If you meet the requirements, you will need to present a copy of your VA documentation listing your service-connected disability rating. You can obtain a copy of this documentation from benefits.va.gov/benefits. 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 office. Fees are as follows:
- for children < 1 year old = 8x 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 this year, you must update by reprinting 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. There is no penalty for the failure to renew.
This updated license will include current year tags. You may update your license at no cost online at www.vtfishandwildlife.com. If you are unable to go online, you can call (802) 828-1190 or go to any authorized license agent or Fish & Wildlife office. A license agent may charge you up to $1.50 for a reprint.
Requirements for Hunting, Combination Hunting and Fishing, Archery, and 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 province; or
- A signed 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: 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 centerfire and rimfire firearms. For a complete list of prohibitions, contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives at (802) 865-4020.
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 Lake Champlain Regulations.
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 five years: one-year suspension.
- For 15 to 19 points accumulated in five years: two-year suspension.
- For 20 points or more accumulated in five years: three-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.
- Fine: up to $2,000 and additional suspension period.
- Remedial Course: 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).
Vermont is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact
The Interstate Wildlife Violator 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 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.