The Vermont Statutes Online
The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
§ 5201. Notices; posting
(a)(1) An owner, or a person having the exclusive right to take game upon land or the waters thereon, who desires to protect his or her land or private pond or propagation farm over which he or she has exclusive control may maintain notices stating that:
(A) the shooting, trapping, or taking of game or wild animals is prohibited or is by permission only;
(B) fishing or the taking of fish is prohibited or is by permission only;
(C) fishing, hunting, trapping, or taking of game is prohibited or is by permission only.
(2) “Permission only signs” authorized under this section shall contain the owner’s name and a method by which to contact the property owner or a person authorized to provide permission to hunt, fish, or trap on the property.
(b) Notices prohibiting the taking of game shall be erected upon or near the boundaries of lands to be affected with notices at each corner and not over 400 feet apart along the boundaries thereof. Legible signs must be maintained at all times and shall be dated each year. These signs shall be of a standard size and design as the Commissioner shall specify.
(c) The owner or person posting the lands shall record this posting annually in the town clerk’s office of the town in which the land is located. The recording form shall be furnished by the Commissioner and shall be filled out in triplicate, one copy to be retained by the town clerk, one copy to the Commissioner, and one copy to be retained by the person having the right to post the lands. The forms shall contain the information as to the approximate number of acres posted, location in town, date of posting, and signature of person so posting the lands. The town clerk shall file the record, and it shall be open to public inspection. The town clerk shall retain a fee of $5.00 for this recording.
(d) Land posted as provided in subsection (b) of this section shall be enclosed land for the purposes herein. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961; amended 1967, No. 302 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 20, 1968; 1979, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 2013, No. 78, § 20; 2015, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 16.)
§ 5202. Private ponds, stocking
The Commissioner may, at his or her discretion, stock a private pond that allows some charitable or nonprofit organizations to use the area at no charge. In that case, the owner may prohibit the taking of fish or game by the general public under section 5201 of this title. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961; amended 1989, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1991, No. 14; 2015, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 17.)
§ 5203. Repealed. 1989, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.
§ 5204. Poaching; private preserves
(a) A person who, without the written consent of the owner or person having the exclusive right to take fish or wild animals, takes fish, game, or other animals or carries or possesses a firearm, bow and arrow, or wild animal trap in private preserve as posted under section 5201 of this title or mutilates or defaces the notice called for in subsection 5201(b) of this title shall be fined not less than $25.00 nor more than $100.00.
(b) The owner or person in control of such private preserve may recover the actual damages sustained by him or her in a civil action on this statute. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961; amended 1967, No. 302 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. March 20, 1968; 1969, No. 16, § 3, eff. March 11, 1969.)
§ 5205. Injuring notice
A person shall not damage or remove a notice maintained under the provisions of section 5201 of this title. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961.)
§ 5206. Maintaining notice one year
A person shall not maintain a notice prohibiting fishing for more than one year after such waters were last stocked. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961.)
§ 5207. Propagation farms
(a) The Commissioner may issue a license to propagate fish and wild animals and shall make and publish regulations governing such industry. The application for such a breeder’s license shall be in writing, addressed to the Commissioner, shall be signed by the applicant, and shall describe the land or waters owned or leased by such breeder to be used for such purpose and shall contain such other facts as may be required by the Commissioner. When it appears that the application is made in good faith, the Commissioner may issue such a license, which shall continue in force for one year, upon the payment of a fee of $50.00 for a new application and $10.00 for a renewal of an application. Fees collected under this section shall be deposited into the Fish and Wildlife Fund.
(b) All health testing of cultured trout shall be provided to commercial trout farms through an aquaculture inspection program conducted jointly by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and the Department of Fish and Wildlife as provided by 6 V.S.A. § 1154a and part 4 of this title. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961; amended 1991, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1993, No. 202 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003.)
§ 5208. Repealed. 2015, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 87(5).
§ 5209. Special penalty
A breeder selling game procured from lands other than lands covered by a license under section 5207 of this title, or who violates a provision of this part or a regulation issued under the provisions of sections 5207 and 5208 of this title, shall be fined not more than $100.00 and in addition thereto shall be punished as provided for such particular violation. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961; amended 1991, No. 13, § 6.)
§ 5210. Private ponds
A person owning a natural pond of not more than 20 acres or an artificial pond entirely upon his or her premises, stocked at his or her own expense with fish artificially hatched or reared, may take fish from such pond at any time for the purpose of propagation or consumption as food on his or her premises, provided that the sources of water supply 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 the expense of the State. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961.)
§ 5211. Poaching; propagation farms; injury; penalties
A person shall not, without permission, enter upon the premises of a propagation farm and take fish, or wild animals, or upon a pond as defined in section 5210 of this title and take fish, or foul the waters of such farm or pond with a substance injurious to the life or growth of fish or break or destroy a dam, reservoir, or embankment, or divert the water, or wilfully damage such farm or pond. Such person shall be liable to the owner of such premises for damages in a civil action on this section. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961.)
§ 5212. Repealed. 1997, No. 110 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.
§ 5213. Mansfield State Forest; game refuge
(a) A person shall not hunt, trap, take, or kill wild animals on that part of the Mansfield State Forest bounded by the Smugglers’ Notch road on the east, the road to the summit of Mt. Mansfield on the south and west, the summit of Mt. Mansfield on the west, and the present boundary of the State Forest on the north.
(b) The Commissioner may include in such game refuge private lands within the bounds mentioned in subsection (a) of this section as a part of such game refuge.
(c) The boundaries of such game refuge shall be marked by a suitable sign every one-half mile at conspicuous places along the roads and by cloth notices nailed on trees every 40 rods along the northerly boundary. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961.)
§ 5214. Vermin destruction
Permits for the control and destruction of vermin upon a game refuge may be granted by the Commissioner to such person and at such times as he or she shall deem advisable. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961.)
§ 5215. Game refuges; how created; regulations
(a) For a specified period of years, the Commissioner may prohibit or regulate the taking of wild animals upon public lands set aside with the approval of the Governor or upon private lands set aside with the consent of the owner thereof for game refuges. At least 30 days before such a prohibition or regulation takes effect, he or she shall file a copy of the same in the office of the town clerk of the town in which such lands lie. Notices reading “State Game Refuge; hunting is unlawful” shall be placed at conspicuous places on the boundaries of refuges.
(b) Upon receipt of a fee of $50.00, the Commissioner may issue a permit to a person, organization, or group for the purpose of rehabilitating sick or injured wild animals. For the purposes of this subsection, rehabilitation means treating the sick or injured wild animal back to a sufficient state of health so that the animal may be returned to the wild. The Commissioner shall adopt rules to implement this subsection. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961; amended 1985, No. 209 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 2, 1986; 1997, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 51, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.)
§ 5216. Migratory bird reservations; consent of State; jurisdiction
Consent of the State of Vermont is given to the acquisition by the United States by purchase, gift, devise, or lease of such land or water, or of land and water in Vermont, as the United States may deem necessary for the establishment of migratory bird reservations in accordance with the act of Congress, approved February 18, 1929, entitled, “Act to more effectively meet the obligations of the United States under the migratory bird treaty with Great Britain by lessening the dangers threatening migratory game birds from drainage and other causes by the acquisition of areas of land and of water to furnish perpetuity reservations for the adequate protection of such birds; and authorizing appropriations for the establishment of such areas, their maintenance and improvement and for other purposes,” reserving, however, to the State of Vermont full and complete jurisdiction and authority over all such areas not incompatible with the administration, maintenance, protection, and control thereof by the United States under the terms of the act of Congress. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961.)
§ 5217. Permits to operate regulated shooting ground
Upon receipt of a fee of $100.00, the Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife may issue a shooting grounds permit to operate a shooting ground upon which to propagate and release small game under regulations approved by the Commissioner and upon which to release small game when regularly propagated or purchased for shooting and other purposes. (Added 1961, No. 251, § 1; amended 1963, No. 131, § 1; 1983, No. 245 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1997, No. 72 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1997, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 52, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.)
§ 5218. Boundaries
The boundary of the licensed premises shall be posted with printed notices not more than 100 yards apart and containing such words as the Commissioner may prescribe. (Added 1961, No. 251, § 2; amended 1985, No. 209 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. June 2, 1986.)
§ 5219. Shooting regulations on regulated grounds
Such permit shall entitle the holder or holders thereof, and their guests, to kill or take, by shooting or falconry, the small game propagated or purchased and released on the premises. (Added 1961, No. 251, § 3; amended 1983, No. 245 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1995, No. 104 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1997, No. 72 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 5220. Small game released
All small game released on said regulated shooting grounds shall be fully able to care for themselves in a wild state. (Added 1961, No. 251, § 4; amended 1983, No. 245 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1997, No. 72 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 5221. Period of taking released animals
Such propagated or released small game may be taken without regard to sex, age, or bag limits. The period for taking small game on regulated shooting grounds shall be fixed by the Commissioner. (Added 1961, No. 251, § 5; amended 1983, No. 245 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1997, No. 72 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.)
§ 5222. Other game
All species of game, other than those specified or approved by the Commissioner for propagation and release found on the premises governed by such permit, may be taken on such premises only under the general provisions of the law governing the taking and possession of the same. (Added 1961, No. 251, § 6.)
§ 5223. Hunting license
(a) Every person hunting on such regulated shooting grounds shall:
(1) be the holder of a resident or nonresident hunter’s license for the current year; or
(2) be the holder of a one-day shooting ground license issued by the owner of the shooting ground on forms prescribed by the Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife. Such shooting ground license shall be valid only on the shooting ground where issued and only for taking the small game designated by the Commissioner in the permit for that shooting ground.
(b) The fee for a one-day regulated shooting ground license shall be $5.00. At the end of each calendar quarter, the owner of a shooting ground shall forward to the Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife all revenues from one-day license sales and such records of sales as may be required by the Commissioner. (Added 1961, No. 251, § 7; amended 1983, No. 245 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 1997, No. 72 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.)
§ 5224. Repealed. 1983, No. 245 (Adj. Sess.), § 7.
§ 5225. Purpose
The purpose of sections 5217-5225 of this title is to permit the orderly operation of regulated shooting grounds and to provide an additional option for sportsmen and sportswomen. Licensees shall furnish to the Commissioner whatever pertinent information he or she may request. (Added 1961, No. 251, § 9; amended 1963, No. 131, § 2; 1983, No. 245 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.)
§ 5226. Bomoseen State Game Refuge
(a) A person shall not hunt, trap, take, or kill wild animals on the Bomoseen State Game Refuge.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 5215 of this title, the boundaries of the Refuge shall be conspicuously marked by paint or notices, or both, so as to give reasonable notice. The notices shall read “State Game Refuge: Hunting, Trapping, or Shooting Prohibited.”
(c) A person who enters this refuge to hunt, trap, take, or kill wild animals or carries or possesses a firearm, bow and arrow, or animal trap or who mutilates or defaces the notices marking the boundaries of the refuge shall be fined not less than $25.00 nor more than $100.00.
(d) This section shall not restrict the possession or use of firearms by a game warden or other law enforcement officer in the performance of his or her duties. (Added 1985, No. 209 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. June 2, 1986.)
§ 5227. Sport shooting ranges; municipal and State authority
(a) “Sport shooting range” or “range” means an area designed and operated for the use of archery, rifles, shotguns, pistols, skeet, trap, black powder, or any other similar sport shooting.
(b) The owner or operator of a sport shooting range, and a person lawfully using the range, who is in substantial compliance with any noise use condition of any issued municipal or State land use permit otherwise required by law shall not be subject to any civil liability for damages or any injunctive relief resulting from noise or noise pollution, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.
(c) If no municipal or State land use permit is otherwise required by law, then the owner or operator of the range and any person lawfully using the range shall not be subject to any civil liability for damages or any injunctive relief relating to noise or noise pollution.
(d) Nothing in this section shall prohibit or limit the authority of a municipality or the State to enforce any condition of a lawfully issued and otherwise required permit.
(e)(1) In the event that the owner, operator, or user of a range is not afforded the protection set forth in subsection (b) or (c) of this section, this subsection shall apply. A nuisance claim against a range may only be brought by an owner of property abutting the range. The range shall have a rebuttable presumption that the range does not constitute any form of nuisance if the range meets the following conditions:
(A) the range was established prior to the acquisition of the property owned by the person bringing the nuisance claim; and
(B) the frequency of the shooting or other alleged nuisance activity at the range has not significantly increased since acquisition of the property owned by the person bringing the nuisance claim.
(2) The presumption that the range does not constitute a nuisance may be rebutted only by an abutting property owner showing that the activity has a noxious and significant interference with the use and enjoyment of the abutting property.
(f) Prior to use of a sport shooting range after dark for purposes of training conducted by a federal, state, county, or municipal law enforcement agency, the sport shooting range shall notify those homeowners and businesses with property abutting the range that have requested such notice from the range.
(g) If any subsection of this section is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect the other subsections of this section that can be given effect without the invalid subsection, and for this purpose, the subsections of this section are severable. (Added 1991, No. 20; amended 2001, No. 61, § 71, eff. June 16, 2001; 2005, No. 173 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 22, 2006.)
§ 5227a. Sport shooting range alternative dispute resolution
Upon request of a homeowner or business that owns property abutting a sport shooting range, a range shall, at least once, attempt to resolve through mediation an issue or dispute that the homeowner or business has concerning operation of the range. The parties to such mediation may agree upon the use of a mediator to assist in the resolution of the agreed upon issue or dispute, and the parties shall share the cost of the mediator. If the parties to the mediation are unable to resolve the relevant issue or dispute through mediation, the parties may agree to submit the issue or dispute to binding arbitration pursuant to 12 V.S.A. chapter 192 and shall share the cost of the arbitration. (Added 2005, No. 173 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 22, 2006.)
§ 5228. A fee fishing business; permit
(a) The Commissioner may issue a permit to operate a fee fishing business that shall entitle the holder and the holder’s clients to take fish from the holder’s private pond. The Commissioner may issue a permit that shall continue for one year upon the payment of a fee of $50.00. The permit may be renewed annually for $50.00 per year.
(b) Fish in the private pond shall come from a propagation farm permitted under section 5207 of this title or shall have been imported under a permit obtained pursuant to section 4605 of this title. No live fish shall be taken from the fee fishing premises.
(c) Fish taken under this section may be taken without regard to creel limits.
(d) A person fishing under the permit issued under this section is not required to hold a fishing license pursuant to chapter 105 of this title. The Commissioner may, in consultation with the industry, conduct surveys to assess the impact on fishing license sales. A person holding a permit issued under this section shall respond to questions asked in a survey conducted pursuant to this subsection.
(e) The Commissioner shall adopt rules governing operation of fee fishing businesses that are necessary to ensure that operators, growers, and fishery resources of the State are protected. The rules may include mandatory testing of fish health and imposition of a prohibition on the moving or harvesting of any fish from a fee fishing business found to contain fish that carry an infectious disease. (Added 1993, No. 63, § 1; amended 2005, No. 42, § 3.)