Furbearer Hunting and Trapping Seasons
Furbearer Hunting Seasons
|Jan. 10 – Feb. 7
|Red & Gray Fox
|Oct. 28, 2023 – Feb. 11, 2024 & Oct. 26, 2024 – Feb. 9, 2025
|Oct. 12 – Dec. 31
|Mar. 20 – April 19
|Opossum, Skunk, Weasel
|No Closed Season
|See VTF&W website for season
|Beaver, Otter, Mink, Fisher, Marten, Lynx, Wolf, Mountain Lion
|No Open Season
Furbearer Trapping Seasons
|Mink, Skunk, Red & Gray Fox, Raccoon, Coyote, Opossum, Weasel
|Oct. 26 – Dec. 31
|Otter, Muskrat, Beaver
|Oct. 28, 2023 – Mar. 31, 2024 & Oct. 26, 2024 – Mar. 31, 2025
|Dec. 1 – 31
|Dec. 1 – 16
|Marten, Lynx, Wolf, Mountain Lion
|No Open Season
Furbearing Animals and Trapping License Requirements
The following are classified as furbearing animals in Vermont: beaver, otter, marten, mink, raccoon, fisher, fox, skunk, muskrat, bobcat, coyote, weasel, opossum, lynx, and wolf.
Trapping License Requirements
To obtain a trapping license in Vermont, an applicant must meet one of the following requirements:
- Possess a previous or current trapping license from any state or Canadian province.
- Provide a certificate showing satisfactory completion of a trapper education course in any state or Canadian province.
- Submit a signed affidavit attesting to having held a prior trapping license.
It is mandatory for trappers to fill out and return an Annual Trapper's Report for each year they possess a trapping license.
Fur Buyer’s License
Anyone involved in dealing with pelts must obtain a valid fur buyer's license. Fur buyer’s licenses are available from Vermont Fish & Wildlife in Springfield (phone: 802-289-0613).
Trapping License Required for Wildlife Control Trapper
A person who sets traps for rabbits or furbearing animals on another person's property for defense purposes must possess a valid trapping license and complete and return a mandatory trapper report.
Prohibition of Coyote Hunting Competitions
Participating in coyote hunting competitions for prizes is illegal. The fine for a first offense is $400 to $1,000 and ten points on a hunter's license, while a second offense incurs a fine of $2,000 to $4,000 and twenty points on a hunter's license.
During the raccoon hunting season, raccoons may be shot using a .22 caliber rimfire firearm or a shotgun with #2 shot or smaller. A light may be used to illuminate and shoot a treed raccoon during the hunting season or the training season when treed by a dog or dogs.
Furbearer Hunting & Trapping Methods
Vermont's primary furbearer regulation (10 V.S.A. Appendix §44) may change during 2024. Updated regulations can be found on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife website at link. Trappers and hunters are responsible for staying informed about and following current regulations.
4.1 Daily Trap Visits
A person trapping for fur-bearing animals under this rule must visit their traps at least once every calendar day. During these visits, they are required to dispatch or release any animal caught therein.
4.2 Water and Ice Traps
When setting body gripping traps in the water or under the ice, colony/cage traps underwater, or foothold traps under the ice, specific regulations apply. In such cases, individuals must visit their traps at least once every three calendar days and promptly remove any animal caught therein.
4.3 Trap Identification
Traps set on lands other than the trapper's own must have the trapper's name and address permanently and legibly stamped or engraved on the trap. Alternatively, this information can be securely attached to the trap using rustless material.
4.4 Marking Ice Traps
All traps placed under the ice must be marked with a visible tag positioned above the ice's surface.
4.5 Foothold Traps on Land
Foothold traps set on land are subject to specific requirements:
a) Base plates must feature a center chain mount with a swivel, along with at least two additional swivels for mobility. b) Traps must be anchored with a chain ranging from a minimum of 12 inches to a maximum of 18 inches in length between the base plate and the anchoring system. c) Traps must be padded, offset, laminated, or have a minimum jaw thickness of 5/16th of an inch, or fully encapsulate the animal's foot. d) The spread of the trap jaws should not exceed 6 ¼ inches inside the widest expanse. e) If the foothold trap is triggered by downward pressure, it must be adjustable for pan tension.
4.6 Body-Gripping Traps on Land
No body-gripping traps shall be set on land unless they meet specific criteria:
a) If the trap is under 40 square inches and not baited. b) If the trap is over 40 square inches but less than 60 square inches and is set 5 feet or more above the ground. c) If the trap is over 40 square inches but less than 60 square inches and is in an anchored enclosure with specific size restrictions and trap trigger placement. d) Any body-gripping traps over 60 square inches must only be set in the water.
4.7 Bait Covering
When setting traps with meat-based bait, it is essential to cover the bait. Covering methods may include brush, branches, leaves, soil, snow, or enclosures made of various materials.
4.8 Restricted Trapping Methods
Toothed foothold traps or snares are not allowed when trapping under this section.
4.9 Seasonal Restrictions
Trapping is prohibited between December 31 and the following fourth Saturday in October, except for traps in the water, under the ice, or on a float in the water.
4.10 Possession of Live Fur-Bearing Animals
Except as provided by rules of the board or 10 V.S.A. part 4, it is prohibited to possess a living fur-bearing animal.
4.11 Possession of Fur-Bearing Animals
It is prohibited to possess a fur-bearing animal trapped outside of its legal season without written authorization from the Department, except for animals taken pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 4828.
4.12 Unlawful Possession of Fur or Skin
Possession of fur or skin of a fur-bearing animal unlawfully taken is strictly prohibited.
4.13 Prohibited Trapping Methods
Taking a fur-bearing animal by using explosives or chemical or poisonous mixtures is prohibited, except for the use of a carbon dioxide chamber in compliance with the recommendations of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
4.14 Dens and Mechanical Devices
Trapping methods that involve cutting, digging, smoking, or the use of mechanical devices other than legal traps set in accordance with these rules are not allowed when taking fur-bearing animals from dens.
4.15 Trapping Set-backs
a) Foothold traps or body-gripping traps must not be set within 50 feet of the traveled portion of legal trails, public trails, or public highways, unless they are set in the water or under ice. b) Foothold traps or body-gripping traps shall not be set within 100 feet of designated wildlife viewing areas, visitor centers, parks, playgrounds, and more, unless explicit permission is granted. However, trapping may occur with permission from schools, camps, or campgrounds.
4.16 Dispatch of Trapped Animals
Upon discovery of a live trapped fur-bearer, a trapper must immediately dispatch the animal using specific methods, including firearms, bows and arrows, crossbows, or carbon dioxide chambers in compliance with American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines.
4.17 Beaver and Muskrat Regulations
a) When trapping muskrat between March 1 and March 31, body-gripping traps are restricted to 5 inches or less. b) Specific rules apply regarding beaver and muskrat houses or dens and trap placement in proximity to these structures, with written approval required in certain cases.
4.18 Bobcat, Otter, and Fisher
a) Legal possession of bobcat, otter, and fisher skins requires tagging and marking. b) Reporting requirements and carcass handling guidelines apply when taking bobcat, otter, or fisher. c) Edible meat may be kept by the person who legally takes bobcat, otter, or fisher. d) Pelts or carcasses may not be transported out of the State of Vermont until tagged by authorized Department staff.
4.19 Raccoon Regulations
a) A person shooting raccoons during the raccoon hunting season shall use a 0.22 caliber rimfire firearm or a shotgun with #2 shot or smaller. b) A light may be used to illuminate and shoot a raccoon once treed by a dog(s) during the raccoon hunting season. A light may also be used to illuminate a raccoon once treed by a dog(s) during the training season.
4.20 Taking Coyote with the Aid of Dogs
In accordance with 10 V.S.A. § 5008 and § 5009 (b), this rule establishes a process and standards for the issuance of a permit to take coyote with the aid of dogs, either for the training of dogs or for the taking of coyote.
The purpose of this subsection is to establish a process and standards for the issuance of permits to pursue coyote with dogs, establish training and hunting seasons for the taking of coyote with the aid of dogs, and to define legal methods of take.
4.20.3 The Taking of Coyote with Aid of Dogs
a) Licenses and permits.
(1) Any person who intends to train, hunt, pursue, harvest, or in any manner take a coyote with the aid of dogs shall apply for a permit from the Commissioner on an application form provided by the Commissioner.
(2) Only applications received by the Department’s central office during the official application period will be considered. Applications must be received prior to the deadline established by the Commissioner.
(3) The Commissioner will consider only complete applications. For an application to be complete it must be legible, must contain all the information requested by the Department, must bear the applicant’s original signature, or, in the case of electronic or facsimile applications, attestation under the pains and penalties of perjury. To be considered complete the form must be accompanied by any required application fee, or means of payment, such as a valid credit card payment.
(4) The Commissioner may deny any person a permit in their sole discretion.
(5) Any person training, hunting, pursuing, harvesting, or in any manner involved in the taking of a coyote with the aid of dogs must hold a valid Coyote Dog Permit issued by the Department, or accompany a Coyote Dog Permit holder. The Permit shall be carried at all times by the permittee while taking coyote with the aid of dogs, and exhibited to a game warden, landowner, or law enforcement officer upon demand.
(6) Any person hunting, pursuing, harvesting, or in any manner involved in the taking of a coyote with the aid of dogs must hold a valid Vermont Hunting License, and use only Department Registered Dogs.
(7) In any given year, the number of permits available to non- resident hunters shall not exceed ten (10) percent of the total number of permits issued to resident hunters the previous year. If more than ten (10) percent of non-resident permit applications are received, the Department will award up to ten (10) non-resident permits on a first come, first serve basis, provided that the number of permits to be issued does not exceed 100.
b) Lottery –In the event that more than 100 permit applications are received, all those who have submitted completed eligible applications and who wish to be entered into the lottery will be entered into the lottery. The Department will hold, or cause to be held, a transparent, random drawing to select 100 permits and to ensure that not more than 10% of permits issued by the Department are issued to non-residents.
c) Legal Methods
(1) A person shall not take a coyote into their possession except by killing the coyote by legal means or methods. Legal means include utilizing a muzzleloader or gun fired at arm’s length; or bow and arrow, or crossbow.
(2) A person taking coyote with the use of a bow and arrow or crossbow shall, upon demand of a game warden or other law enforcement personnel, show proof of having a prior archery license, or of having passed a bow hunter education course in Vermont, another state or a province of Canada approved by the Commissioner.
d) Dogs and Packs
(1) A person shall not take coyote with the aid of dogs unless the person is in control of the dog(s).
(2) No person shall take a coyote with the aid of dogs by using any Unregistered Dog. No person shall have an Unregistered Dog in their possession (including in a vehicle) while hunting, pursuing, or taking a coyote.
(3) A person hunting with dogs, pursuing, and taking coyote with the aid of dogs shall attach a collar or collars with GPS functions, tracklog capability, and training/control features for remote recall; and shall attach a Department Registration Dog-Tag and a metal identification name plate with the person's name, address, and telephone number to the dog's collar.
(4) A person taking a coyote with the aid of dogs shall maintain a GPS location log of each dog taking coyote and shall maintain the log for at least 30 days after the close of the season.
(5) A person taking a coyote with the aid of dogs shall only take a coyote with a Pack of Dogs as defined in this rule. No person shall pursue, hunt, or take coyote by Relaying any Dog or Pack of Dogs.
(6) Two or more permit holders may hunt together and combine Department Registered Dog(s) to form a Pack of Dogs. The combined Coyote Dog Permit holders shall not take coyote with the aid of more than four dogs combined forming a single pack of dogs. The combined Coyote Dog Permit holders shall not possess any Unregistered Dogs while hunting, pursuing, or taking coyote with the aid of their dogs.
4.20.4 Seasons and Shooting Hours for Taking Coyote with the Aid of Dogs
a) Coyote Dog Training Season: For Vermont Resident and Nonresident Permit Holder: June 1 through September 15, all dates inclusive, except that a nonresident may train dogs to pursue coyote only while the training season is in effect in the nonresident’s home state and subject to the requirements of these rules.
b) Coyote Dog Hunting Season: December 15 through March 31, all dates inclusive.
c) Legal hours for taking coyote with the aid of dogs: One half hour before sunrise until one half hour after sunset.
4.20.5 Prohibitions applicable to Taking Coyote with the Aid of Dogs
a) A person shall not advertise, barter, exchange goods or services, or otherwise sell the use of a dog(s) for the purpose of taking coyote with the aid of dogs.
b) While taking coyote with the aid of dogs, no person shall have in their possession an Unregistered Dog while possessing Department Registered Dogs.
c) It shall be a violation for a Vermont resident to apply for a coyote dog permit for the purpose of allowing a nonresident coyote dog owner to take coyote in Vermont with the aid of dogs.
A person taking coyote with the aid of dogs shall, no later than 48 hours after the close of the season, report the taking of all coyotes during the season in a manner required by the Commissioner.
4.20.7 Landowner Permissions
A person hunting coyotes with dogs shall not release the dogs on land posted in accordance with Title 10 V.S.A. § 5201, without the written permission of the landowner. In addition, a person hunting coyotes with the aid of dogs is encouraged to seek landowner permission before releasing dogs or entering land that is not posted in accordance with Title 10 V.S.A. § 5201. Hunter education shall include the recommendation that persons hunting coyotes with dogs seek landowner permission prior to pursuing coyotes with dogs.
4.21 Taking Coyote by Bow and Arrow and Crossbow
No person shall take coyote with or without the aid of dogs, with a bow and arrow or crossbow if the arrow or bolt has an arrowhead that measures less than seven-eighths of an inch at its widest point or that has less than two sharp cutting edges.
4.22 Lynx Regulations
a) Any person who incidentally captures a lynx shall notify the Department immediately. b) Specific regulations on traps and trapping apply within Wildlife Management Unit E, including trap placement and design requirements, particularly during certain seasons.