So, you intend backpacking and heading to the U.S. State of Vermont on a hunting expedition, however, you are unsure where to start. The succinct information below will do you the world of good prior to hunting in this Green Mountain State. They have been expertly drawn from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s (FWD) website and hunting regulations guide.
Securing a Vermont Hunting License
Hunters who seek to acquire a Vermont Hunting License can do so through three ways. The first way, and most convenient way, to buy the license is to use the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department online platform. The system requires a Conservation ID Number for existing Vermont license holders. Those who have never had a Vermont license must create a new profile. There are no service fees for purchases made online. Online transactions can be conducted using Master, VISA or DISCOVER Credit Cards. There is no transaction fee for all online purchases
The second option is to apply for the license in-person at any one of the many authorized license agents in Vermont. Alternatively, the hunter can stop by the Montpelier Office in Vermont. A person under 16 years old must be in the company of a parent or guardian when buying a hunting license.
The final option requires the applicant to mail the completed application to:
1 National Life Drive
Montpelier, VT 05620-3208
In all three options above, the state requires identification such as a driver’s license or a social security number.
Categories of Hunting Licenses in Vermont
The two main categories of Hunting License in Vermont are Resident Hunting License and Nonresident Hunting License.
Resident Hunting License
- A person is considered a Vermont resident when the person has resided legally in the state for at least 6 or more continuous months prior to applying for the hunting license.
- Therefore, individuals who have residency claims in another state by virtue of residential hunting license in those states cannot be considered as residents (except members of the U.S. Armed Forces).
- Vermont accepts the following documents as proof of residency: a Vermont driver’s license or Social Security number.
People other than the above are regarded as nonresidents.
Nonresident Hunting License
- Vermont views people who have not legally domiciled in the state for more than 6 months prior to applying for the license or permit as nonresidents. These hunters are eligible for nonresident hunting licenses.
Additional Stamps, and Stamps through the lottery
Regardless of the category of licenses above, additional tags and stamps may apply to a specific set of game animals. For example, both residents and non-residents require (often through a random draw) moose and antlerless permits in order to hunt them. Moose lottery winners must now wait 5 years before applying again for the moose lottery. For more information about the entry procedure and winnings, please visit this link.
Note: The state will impose disciplinary sanctions on hunters who fail to produce a copy of the hunting license or permit or tag while hunting.
Eligibility Requirements for a Vermont Hunting License
Hunters interested in hunting, chasing, acquiring or killing a game animal in Vermont must be in possession of a valid Vermont Hunting License. Exceptions to this rule are resident land owners and their spouse, and their minor children. These people are allowed to hunt, within the season, without a license.
Existing Vermont license holders, and License holders from any state or Canadian province
Hunters with a previously held license from Vermont, or any state or Canadian province, only have to submit this existing license when buying a new Vermont Hunting License. Vermont license holders can renew their licenses online.
First-time license holders
Regardless of the residency status, Vermont requires that all first-time license applicants furnish either a Vermont Hunter Education Certification or an IHEA-USA approved Hunter Education Certification (the International Hunter Education Association).
The state accepts certifications from all states or provinces in the U.S. that meet IHEA-USA requirements (the International Hunter Education Association). Education Certification from provinces in Canada is accepted so long as the course meets official IHEA-USA requirements. Similarly, all U.S. states and Canadian provinces that have compulsory hunter education requirements will accept the Vermont Hunter Education Certificate.
The Hunter Education classes in Vermont come in two formats: “traditional” hunter Education class and an online-based class. Students must pass a written exam at the end of the course. After that, they must enroll in a 4 to 6-hour Hunter Education Home Study. The Hunter Education Card is issued after you graduate from that study..
There is no minimum age to enroll in Vermont hunter education course. Ideally, the course needs a 6th-grade literacy and reading skills to pass the exams. However, students below 16 years must have written consent from the parent. Generally, the Vermont Education Certification course occurs all throughout the year, and there are no fees associated with the Hunter Education Course.
For more details about the topics and duration of the various Education certification courses in Vermont, please click on this link.
How much is a Vermont Hunting License and permit?
Resident hunting license and nonresident Hunting Licenses in Vermont have different fees and application requirements. For more details about the fee of these licenses, please click this link. The State of Vermont offers no refunds on licenses purchased. Similarly, licenses are non-transferable.
Other forms of Hunting Licenses in Vermont
Here are some other hunting licenses in the State of Vermont:
- Mentored Hunting Licenses are given to residents and nonresident without a hunter education certification. Also, the applicant must have never held a Vermont Hunting license. This license introduces novice hunters to the sports of hunting. However, holders of this license cannot hunt solo. They must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter 21 years or older. Mentored hunters below 15 years must have signed permission from their legal guardian or parent. The mentor can only accompany one person at a time. A mentored hunting license is given for only two separate calendar years in a hunter’s life.
- Lifetime Licenses are licenses that can be purchased at any age. They are available at the VFW main office in Montpelier. Alternatively, hunters can mail in a completed application to the above address. Application forms are available at this link.
- Permanent Hunting Licenses for Seniors are given to people 66 years or older for the rest of their lives. In some cases, these licenses include archer, muzzleloader and turkey tags. To hunt moose or antlerless deer or waterfowl, seniors must purchase the requisite permits and stamps. The yearly renewal of this license is free of charge.
- Active Duty Military License: For their gallant bravery and sacrifices, Vermont offers hunting licenses to military personnel at no cost or reduced fee. Resident Vermont active member of the military can obtain a free hunting license from the state.
Also, these licenses can be issued to nonresident active military personnel stationed in Vermont. All applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for a Vermont hunting license. That is, they must apply with a hunter education certification or a previously held hunting license and a Military Affidavit. These licenses are available online, from license agents, or through the VFW Montpelier office.
- Licenses for disabled people: Vermont residents with physical disability are eligible for these licenses (fishing only or combination hunting and fishing license) for free. A disabled veteran of the U.S. armed forces (60% disability) who is a resident of the state equally gets a free permanent license. A non-resident (nonresident veterans as well) will be eligible for this license provided his or her state offers the same privileges to Vermont residents.
Please visit this link to download printable license and permit application forms of the above as well as other ones,
Where to Hunt in Vermont
Vermont has large parcels of conserved wildlife habitat lands and management areas that are easily accessible to hunters. This has made it a force to reckon with in the Northeast. Vermont prides itself with white-tailed deer, moose, wild turkey, woodcock and black bear. Available to the public alone is about 500,000 acres of land. This represents about 10% of the entire land area of Vermont.
Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)
The state uses 93 of these Wildlife Management Areas to regulate big game and small game species. This makes a total of about 140,000 acres across 5 districts: Springfield, Rutland, Essex, Barre, and St. Johnsbury districts. Notable WMAs in Vermont include Arthur Davis WMA, Bill Sladyk WMAand Blueberry Hill WMA. For example, Arthur Davis WMA has about 7,788 acres of land that is famous for moose and black bear. Click on this link to view all the authorized and prohibited activities associated with the above WMAs.
Vermont State Forests and Parks
The state forests, under the management of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, are opened to the public for several recreational activities. Examples include Aitken State Forest, Coolidge State Forest, Granville Gulf Reservation, Lyndon State Forest. Most famous among them is the Green Mountain National Forest. It has a whopping 416,000 acres of land mainly composed of deer, bear, and moose. Majority of these forests are known for large populations of deer, turkey and small game animals.
Also, outdoor seekers can revel in so many state parks and forest. There are about 56 of them dotted across the state.
Access Areas and Private Lands
In addition to the vast public lands, Vermont has vast stretches of private land for hunting. Privately owned lands in Vermont have been opened to the public. This has enabled the state to meet the different needs of hunters and trappers. Prior to hunting on any private land, hunters are must get official permission from these private landowners. And the hunters are mandated to produce their licenses upon the request of the landowner. They should also vacate the premises whenever they are told to leave by the landowner.
General Hunting Regulations in Vermont
After carefully reading the various hunting guides and official state documents, we have selected some top and crucially important hunting regulations in Vermont. Below are some of those regulations:
- Without an importation permit, the state forbids hunters from bringing live wild animals into Vermont.
- With the exclusion of turkey, raccoon, and coyote, all other game animals must be hunted from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset
- Hunters are banned from using dogs to take deer or moose.
- Prior to putting up a tree stand on private property, hunters must acquire permission from the landowner. Similarly, hunters cannot erect a permanent tree stand on state Wildlife Management Areas.
- Baiting, the use of snares, traps, salt licks, jacks or other lights are banned when it comes to taking big game animals and waterfowl.
- The purchase of furs or skins of fur-bearing animals requires a Fur Buyer’s License.
- A killed game animal cannot be transported in the absence of the person who killed it.
- Snowmobiles cannot be used for hunting, except approved by the Department. Using it on private land requires the permission of the owner.
- It is forbidden to hunt wild animals from any motor vehicle such as cars, snowmobiles, trucks, ATVs, motorboats, and airplanes.
- It is illegal to carry or use a machine gun to hunt. Similarly, an autoloading rifle with a magazine capacity of over 6 cartridges cannot be used.
- Purposely or accidentally feeding bears is illegal
- Picking up the carcasses of protected wildlife is prohibited
- Hunters cannot use electronic calling device to take waterfowl, wild turkeys, or moose.
- Every killed game must come with a filled game tag. The kills should not be left untagged by the person who killed it.
- The use of drones or remotely operated or unmanned aircraft to scout or assist in hunting is prohibited.
Note: Hunters can find an extensive list of state hunting regulations from the Vermont hunting guide. The laws in Vermont are very strict. Any breaches result in penalties such as revocation of license; fines; and jail time.
Hunting Seasons in Vermont
The hunting seasons in Vermont are vast and plentiful in such a way that it offers hunters a variety of game animals. Below are the various hunting seasons for the big game, migratory game bird and small game:
Big Game Seasons
The main big animals in Vermont are deer, bear, moose, wild turkey, caribou, elk, and anadromous Atlantic salmon.
Deer: There are four main deer seasons: Bow & Arrow, Youth Deer Weekend, 16 Day Regular and Muzzleloader seasons. Together, they span from mid-fall to early winter. To view updated season dates, bag limits, hunting deer regulations and hunting hours, please visit this link.
Bear: The black bear season often occurs in fall.
Moose: For the dates of moose season, hunters are advised to constantly check the VFW website for updates.
Turkey: Turkey seasons in Vermont are three: Youth Turkey Weekend, Spring and Fall seasons. The Youth Season often occurs for a short period in mid-spring.
Small Game & Upland Game Birds
Species under this small game category, there are crows, hare rabbit, pheasant, bobwhite quail, chukar partridge, snipe, wild ducks, wild geese, gray squirrel, and ruffed grouse. The crow season takes place in winter, spring and fall. The ruffed grouse, pheasant and gray squirrel seasons occur from fall to early winter.
Migratory game birds and Waterfowl Season
The seasons for these species will that make up this group are: coots, doves, ducks, geese, mergansers, rails, snipes, teals and woodcocks.
Like most U.S. states, Vermont requires all hunters, 16 years or older, of waterfowl to have a waterfowl stamp. These stamps can be obtained at post offices, federal wildlife refuges, and online. The youth season is often held in late September.
To stay informed on the changes that may occur in the season dates and limits, visit this link.
All migratory game bird hunters must register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP) online or via the toll-free number 1-877-306-37091
Furbearers that have hunting seasons are bobcats, badgers, red and gray foxes, opossums, raccoons, muskrat, weasel, skunks. They all share common season dates from fall to winter. However, coyote, skunk, weasel and opossum seasons are opened all year round. Read more from this link about the regulations, trapping license and changes in the season dates.
Youth Hunting Seasons
There are three Youth Hunting Seasons in Vermont that requires adult supervision or company. These seasons are Youth Spring Turkey Weekend, Youth Waterfowl Weekend, and Youth Deer Weekend. The youth hunters must have completed a hunter education certification in order to be eligible.
The Youth Turkey weekend Season is meant for hunters 15 years or younger. The state requires that the youth be licensed as well as hold a turkey hunting license. The adult accompanying the youth should be 18 years or older. The bag limit is one beaded gobbler.
The Youth Waterfowl Hunting season often takes place in early fall. To be eligible, the hunter must be 17 years or younger. 16 and 17 year olds must have state stamp and federal migratory bird hunting stamp. The adult accompanying the youth does not need to have this stamp. Click on this link to view the various bag limits for ducks, geese, mergansers and coots.
The Youth Deer Season requires that hunters be 15 years or younger. Both the youth and adult must hold a valid hunting license. The adult should be 18 years or older. The youth deer tag is free online. The bag limit is one deer of either sex.
Hunting Guides & Outfitters in Vermont
At some point in time, a hunter will require the services of people who are experts in hunting. These people are called guides and outfitters. The services they offer are very important and vital to the industry in Vermont. Kindly secure the services of anyone of the hunting guides and outfitters below:
- Whitetail Strategies Guide Service
- Locust Creek Outfitters
- Abenaki Outfitters & Guide Service
- Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters
Lodges and Inns in to accommodate hunters in Vermont
A number of businesses and organizations have established lodges and inns to provide hunters accommodation while they are out in Vermont. Here are some of them:
To view more of these lodges and inns for hunters in Vermont, please click on this link.
Tagging and Reporting Hunting Harvests in Vermont
Every killed big game must be instantly tagged. Place the tag on the carcass at a very vantage point. On this tag should be your name or conservation ID number.
The VFW requires that all successful big game harvests be promptly reported. Hunters have 48 hours to report their kill via their Harvest Report System website. Similarly, all migratory game bird hunters must register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP) online or via the toll free 1-877-306-37091. These game animals and waterfowl cannot be transported outside the state without first reporting them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Can I get a refund for licenses or permits?
A. No. Hunting licenses and permits Licenses are non-refundable and non-transferable in Vermont.
Q. I am a big wildlife enthusiast and conservationist. How do I support the department’s effort?
A. You could buy a Vermont Habitat Stamp. The monies go to the Species and Habitat Conservation Fund. For more details, please visit this VFW link.
Q. I am a disabled hunter who intends hunting in Vermont. What permit should I acquire?
A. A permanently disabled hunter must acquire a permit to be eligible to hunt from a stationary vehicle.
Q. I plan hunting with a bow and arrow. I have a hunting license. What else do I need?
A. You must complete the bowhunter education class in order to become eligible for a bowhunting license in Vermont.
Q. My uncle recently bought me a gift card for my birthday. How do I redeem this gift card?
A. Click on this link to redeem it.
Q. What is the minimum age to hunt in Vermont?
A. As of the moment, there is no legal minimum age to hunt in Vermont.
Q. My license is under revocation in another state. Can I still get a Vermont Hunting license?
A. No. To be eligible, the applicant should not be suffering from revocation in another U.S. state or Canadian province.
Q. I hold a mentored hunting license. Am I eligible to hunt moose?
A. No. You are not. You also cannot accompany anyone who holds a moose permit. You cannot participate in the youth deer or youth turkey hunting weekends. To hunt waterfowl, you must buy a federal duck stamp.
Vermont is one of the most highly regulated states in the Northeast when it comes to hunting activities. Therefore, careful attention must be paid to the state’s hunting regulations. However, this should not stop hunters from completely enjoying themselves in this state. Aside from hosting the famous Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont has large parcels of land opened to the public hunting of a varied set of game animals.
In conclusion, we hope that the above salient information makes your hunting exercise in Vermont very satisfying.