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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.

Title 10 Appendix : Vermont Fish and Wildlife Regulations

Chapter 001 : Game

Subchapter 001 : General Provisions

(Cite as: 10 App. V.S.A. § 12)
  • § 12. Leashed tracking dogs

    1.0 Definitions.

    For the purposes of this rule:

    1.1 “Department” means the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.

    1.2 “Leashed tracking dog” means a dog which is used to track and find dead, injured, or wounded big game pursuant to a license issued in accordance with this rule. The dog must be licensed as required by subchapter 2 of chapter 193 of Title 20.

    1.3 “Licensed” means a leashed tracking dog certificate issued pursuant to this rule, authorizing use of leashed tracking dogs as specified in this rule.

    1.4 “Licensee” means a person who is the holder of a leashed tracking dog license.

    1.5 “Physically incapacitated” means incapable of participating in the hunt due to physical injury.

    1.6 “Dispatch” means to humanely kill.

    1.7 “Big game animal” means deer and bear only.

    2.0 Prohibition.

    Except as permitted by 10 V.S.A. § 4701 and section 4 of this rule, no person may use a dog to track dead, wounded or injured big game. Law enforcement officials acting in the performance of their official duties are exempt from the provisions of this rule.

    3.0 Leashed Tracking Dog License.

    A leashed tracking dog license issued by the Department entitles the licensee to:

    3.1 Use leashed tracking dogs, during the day or at night to track and find dead, wounded or injured big game during all big game seasons and the 24 hour period immediately following the last day of a big game season.

    3.2 Dispatch wounded or injured big game animals which have been tracked and found in accordance with and pursuant to the conditions of such license.

    3.3 Temporarily possess a big game animal which has been dispatched by the licensee, or reduced to possession by the licensee, until lawfully tagged or until delivered to a State Game Warden pursuant to the conditions of the license.

    4.0 Leashed Tracking Dog License; Conditions.

    4.1 A big game hunter who has killed, wounded or injured, or reasonably believes he or she has killed, wounded or injured, a big game animal during a big game season may engage a licensee to track and recover the animal. If the hunter is physically incapacitated, the licensee may track and dispatch the animal if the licensee is personally carrying a written signed instrument from the hunter listing (1) the date, (2) the hunter’s name, address, telephone number and big game license number, and (3) a statement that the hunter has engaged the licensee to track the animal, and that the hunter has killed, wounded or injured such animal, and that the hunter is unable to accompany the licensee because of physical incapacitation.

    4.2 No person other than the licensee or, during legal hunting periods, the big game hunter who has engaged the licensee when specifically so authorized by the licensee, may carry a firearm or bow of any description while tracking dead, wounded or injured big game pursuant to this rule.

    4.3 During legal hunting periods, the hunter who has engaged the licensee must dispatch the wounded or injured big game animal when found by the licensee by means which are lawful during the season in which it was wounded or injured and in a lawful manner reduce the animal to legal possession. However, the licensee must dispatch the wounded or injured animal if the legal hunting period has ended, when the hunter is not present, or, when in the judgment of the licensee it is unsafe or otherwise inappropriate for the hunter to do so.

    4.4 The licensee may use a handgun of no less than .35 caliber with a barrel length of not less than four inches to dispatch a wounded or injured big game animal, and during the 24 hour period immediately following the last day of a big game season, provided that the licensee complies with all other provisions of federal, state and local laws and regulations concerning possession and discharge of firearms and the conditions of a license granted under this rule.

    4.5 Before tracking a dead, wounded or injured animal, the licensee must notify, by telephone or in person, the State Game Warden assigned to the area. If the warden is unavailable, his or her immediate supervisor will be notified. Notification must include the 1) name of the licensee, 2) name, address, telephone number, and big game license number of the big game hunter engaging the licensee, 3) general location of the wounded or injured animal, and 4) the name of the owner(s) of the land where the search will be conducted.

    4.6 The licensee must maintain physical control of the leashed tracking dog(s) at all times while conducting activities subject to this rule by means of a lead attached to the dog’s collar or harness. This lead must be at least twelve (12) feet in length.

    4.7 After a big game animal has been dispatched, the licensed hunter must immediately tag the carcass as required by Section 2a of part 4 Title 10 Appendix. If the hunter is physically incapacitated, the hunter must immediately tag the carcass upon delivery of the animal by the licensee. If the hunter is unavailable the licensee must report the incident to and deliver the animal to a State Game Warden or the State Game Warden’s immediate supervisor.

    4.8 The licensee must personally carry a current big game license and a valid leashed tracking dog license when conducting activities pursuant to this rule.

    4.9 The licensee must notify the department in writing, of any change of address within 30 days of that change of address.

    4.10 The licensee must submit to the department a written request for license renewal within the 30 days prior to the expiration of such license.

    4.11 The licensee must submit an annual report to the Commissioner within 15 days of the close of the last yearly big game season, which shall give all dates, locations and outcomes of tracking incidents as well as the name, address and hunting license number of each hunter and name of each State Game Warden contacted in each case.

    5.0 Leashed Tracking Dog License Qualifications.

    The applicant for a license must:

    (a) Provide proof of possession of a current Vermont big game hunting license;

    (b) Not have been convicted of, or pled guilty to, an offense under the Fish and Wildlife Law, within the previous five years which resulted in a revocation of the person’s big game, hunting, or archery license;

    (c) Submit a non-refundable application fee of $25.00 and a completed application to the Department prior to taking the written examination;

    (d) Receive a grade of 80 percent or higher on a written examination administered by the department. The examination will be offered at least once a year and will test the applicant’s knowledge of Fish and Wildlife law and regulations, dog training and handling methods and other areas of knowledge as deemed appropriate or relevant by the Commissioner.

    6.0 Leashed Tracking Dog License; Issuance.

    6.1 Applicants and licensees shall pay the following fees:

    (a) Initial license—resident—$100

    (b) Renewal—resident—$125.00



    6.2 A license is valid for five years from the date of issuance.

    6.3 A license is valid only for the individual identified on the license and is not transferable.

    6.4 A licensee who fails to renew his/her license within one year of the date of expiration must reapply and meet all the qualifications set forth in Section 5 of this rule.

    6.5 The Department may place special conditions on the license which it deems appropriate or necessary. The Department may also waive or dispense with any requirement of this rule when the Department deems it to be in the public interest to do so.

    7.0 Leashed Tracking Dog License; Suspension Or Revocation.

    A license issued pursuant to this rule shall be revoked concurrently with all other licenses upon conviction of a violation of Vermont Fish and Wildlife law pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 4502. (Added 1996, Fish and Wildlife Commissioner’s Reg. No. 1015, eff. Sept. 5, 1996.)