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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 10 Appendix : Vermont Fish and Wildlife Regulations

Chapter 001 : GAME

Subchapter 004 : FURBEARING ANIMALS

(Cite as: 10 App. V.S.A. § 44)
  • § 44. Furbearing species

    1.0 Authority.

    1.1 This rule is promulgated pursuant to 10 V.S.A. §§ 4081, 4082, 4084, 4828, and 4861. In promulgating this rule, the Fish and Wildlife Board is following the policy established by the General Assembly that the protection, propagation, control, management, and conservation of fish, wildlife, and furbearing animals in this State is in the interest of the public welfare and that the safeguarding of these valuable resources for the people of the State requires a constant and continual vigilance.

    1.2 In accordance with 10 V.S.A. §§ 4082 and 4084, this rule is designed to maintain the best health, population, and utilization levels of the regulated species.

    1.3 This rule shall apply to all persons who take or attempt to take furbearing animals by trapping or hunting.

    The purpose of this rule is to regulate the taking of furbearing animals.

    3.0 Definitions

    3.1 “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.

    3.2 “Compensation” shall mean money.

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

    3.4 “Board” means the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board.

    3.5 “Furbearing Animal” means beaver, otter, marten, mink, raccoon, fisher, fox, skunk, coyote, bobcat, weasel, opossum, lynx, wolf, and muskrat or as amended pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 4001.

    3.6 “Trapping” means to take or attempt to take furbearing animals with traps including the dispatching of such lawfully trapped furbearing animals.

    3.7 A ”Trap” means a mechanical device used to capture, kill and/or restrain furbearing animals excluding firearms, muzzleloaders and archery equipment.

    3.8 A “Tanned” pelt is one that has been treated to turn the skin into leather.

    4.0 Restrictions.

    4.1 A person trapping for furbearing animals under this rule shall visit his/her traps at least once every calendar day, except as provided in paragraph 4.2, and dispatch or release any animal caught therein.

    4.2 A person who sets body gripping traps in the water or under the ice, or foothold or cage traps under the ice shall visit his/her traps at least once every three calendar days and remove any animal caught therein.

    4.3 A person shall not set a trap on lands other than his/her own which does not have his/her name and address permanently and legibly stamped or engraved thereon, or on a tag of rustless material securely attached thereto.

    4.4 All traps under ice will be marked with a tag visible above the ice.

    4.5 A person shall not set a body gripping trap with a jaw spread over eight inches measured inside the jaws unless the trap is set five feet or more above the ground, or in the water.

    4.6 A person shall not use toothed foothold traps or snares when trapping under this section.

    4.7 A person shall not set a trap between December 31 and the following fourth Saturday in October unless the trap is in the water, under the ice, or on a float in the water.

    4.8 A person shall not possess a living furbearing animal, except as provided by rules of the board or 10 V.S.A. part 4.

    4.9 A person shall not possess a furbearing animal trapped outside of its legal season without the written authorization of the Department, not to include animals taken pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 4828.

    4.10 A person shall not possess fur or skin of a furbearing animal unlawfully taken.

    4.11 A person shall not take a furbearing animal by use of any poisonous mixture.

    4.12 A person shall not take a furbearing animal from dens by cutting, digging, smoking, by the use of chemicals, or by the use of mechanical devices.

    4.13 Beaver Muskrat.

    (a) When trapping muskrat between March 1 and March 31, body gripping traps are restricted to 5 inches or less.

    (b) A person shall not disturb or destroy a beaver or muskrat house or den or place a trap therein, thereon, or in the entrance thereof.

    (c) A person may set a trap within 10 feet of the nearest point, above the water, of a beaver house or dam only from the 4th Saturday in October through the last day of February, all dates inclusive.

    (d) Except for the setting of traps as provided under 4.13b and 4.13c, a person shall not interfere in any manner with dams, dens, or houses of beaver except upon prior written approval from the Commissioner.

    4.14 Bobcat; Otter; Fisher.

    (a) From December 17 to December 31, both dates inclusive, in order to minimize incidental bobcat harvest during the remainder of the fisher season, a person shall not set a body gripping trap with a jaw spread over 6 inches measured inside the jaws unless the trap is set 5 or more feet above the ground, or in the water.

    (b) The skins of bobcat, otter, and fisher legally taken may be possessed, transported, bought and sold only when tagged and marked as hereinafter provided.

    (c) A person who takes bobcats, otter, or fisher during these seasons shall notify authorized Department staff within 48 hours of the close of the season. Pelts shall be presented to authorized Department staff for tagging. Such tags shall remain affixed to the pelts until tanned. Carcasses shall be surrendered to authorized Department staff at the time of tagging.

    (d) No bobcat, otter, or fisher pelts or carcasses taken during these seasons shall be transported out of the State of Vermont prior to being tagged by authorized Department staff.

    (e) A person who takes bobcat, fisher, and otter pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 4828 and who desires to keep the pelt shall notify authorized Department staff with 84 hours of the taking. Pelts shall be presented to authorized Department staff for tagging. Such tags shall remain affixed to the pelts until tanned. Carcasses shall be surrendered to authorized Department staff at the time of tagging.

    4.15 Raccoons.

    (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, or dogs, during the raccoon hunting season. A light may also be used to illuminate a raccoon once treed by a dog, or dogs, during the training season.

    4.16 Lynx.

    (a) This subsection shall be effective on January 1, 2014.

    (b) Any person who incidentally captures a lynx shall notify the Department immediately.

    (c) The following regulations on traps and trapping shall only apply within the Wildlife Management Unit E.

    (1) Foothold traps set on land must be anchored using a chain or cable no longer than 18″ that is center-mounted to the trap using a swivel connection and must have at least one in-line swivel along the chain or cable.

    (2) From the fourth Saturday in October to December 31, both dates inclusive, all body gripping traps must be set:

    i. In the water, or;

    ii. Within a Canada lynx exclusion device as described below and as depicted in Diagram 1:

    a. the trap jaws shall be completely within the device;

    b. the trap springs may extend outside of device through openings no larger than 7.5″ wide by 1.5″ high;

    c. the device shall not have an opening greater than 6″ by 8″;

    d. the opening shall not be directly in front of the trap but shall instead be either on the top or side of the device;

    e. the trap set within the device shall be a minimum of 18″ from the closest edge of the opening to the trap;

    f. there shall be at least two attachment points for each side of the device where there is a joint or where panels come together;

    g. the device shall be constructed of wood or of wire mesh of 16 gauge or less wire (.05″ diameter wire or greater) and having a mesh size with openings no greater than 1.5″ X 1.5″ or 1″ X 2″; and,

    h. the trap shall be anchored outside of the device; or

    iii. Off the ground as described below and as depicted in Diagram 2:

    a. at least 5′above the ground or if snow is on the ground at least 5 feet above snow level with the exception of the 24-hour period immediately following a snowstorm;

    b. affixed to a standing tree which is free of branches below the trap or to a leaning section of pole that has not been planed or otherwise altered except for the removal of branches and is less than 4″ in diameter at the trap and is angled at least 45° along its entire length from the ground to the trap; and

    c. in an area that is free of any object within 4′ of the trap.

    (3) From the fourth Saturday in October to December 31, both dates inclusive, body gripping traps no larger than a typical 160 (inside jaw spread up to 6.5″) may also be set on the ground if placed:

    i. Under overhanging stream banks, or;

    ii. In blind sets without the aid of bait, lure or visual attractants, or;

    iii. Within a cubby constructed of artificial materials with the trap inserted at least 7″ from the front and with an opening no greater than 50 square inches as depicted in Diagram 3.

    (d) The establishment of a ten-year “Lynx Study Period” shall commence on January 1, 2014. The Department will assess the status of lynx in Vermont, identify and evaluate additional techniques and devices for avoiding incidental capture of lynx, and develop revisions to these rules in accordance with the findings of such studies and all current information. The rules set forth in this subsection 4.16 shall expire on January 1, 2024 unless such rules are either extended or amended by the Fish and Wildlife Board. The decision to extend or amend these rules shall be based on an evaluation of the following key criteria:

    (1) Reliable evidence of the presence or absence of a resident, breeding population of Canada lynx;

    (2) The availability of more effective and/or practical alternatives for avoiding the incidental capture of lynx; and

    (3) The outcome of Maine’s Incidental Take Permit application process.

    4.17 Biological Collection.

    (a) Any person who obtains a trapping license shall complete and submit an annual biological collection trapper survey for the license season to the Department, within the timeline specified by the Commissioner.

    (b) The failure to complete and submit a biological collection survey to the Department shall be a nonpoint violation under 10 V.S.A. § 4502.

    5.0 Seasons, Bag Limits. The following seasons, methods and bag limits are hereby established for the species listed. All hunting seasons will be with or without dogs, except as otherwise provided. Below is the exclusive, exhaustive list of season and means of take of furbearing animals. The taking of furbearing animals at other times or by other means, except where otherwise provided by law, is prohibited. All dates are inclusive.

    Seasons Dates Bag Limit

    5.1 Beaver

    By trapping Fourth Sat. in Oct. No limit

    through March 31

    By hunting No open season Zero

    5.2 Otter

    By trapping Fourth Sat. in Oct.- No limit

    last day of March

    By hunting No open season Zero

    5.3 Marten No open season Zero

    5.4 Mink

    By trapping Fourth Sat in Oct.-Dec. 31 No limit

    By hunting No open season Zero

    5.5 Raccoon

    By trapping Fourth Sat. in Oct.-Dec. 31 No limit

    By hunting Second Sat. in Oct.-Dec. 31 No limit

    5.6 Bobcat

    By trapping December 1-December 16 No limit

    By hunting January 10-February 7 No limit

    5.7 Fox (red or grey)

    By trapping Fourth Sat. in Oct.-Dec. 31 No limit

    By hunting Fourth Sat. in Oct. through No limit

    the second Sun. in Feb.

    5.8 Skunk Fourth Sat. in Oct.-Dec. 31 No limit

    By trapping Fourth Sat. in Oct.-Dec. 31 No limit

    By hunting No closed Season No limit

    5.9 Muskrat

    By trapping Fourth Sat. in Oct.-March 31 No limit

    By hunting March 20-April 19 No limit

    5.10 Coyote

    By trapping Fourth Sat. in Oct.-Dec. 31 No limit

    By hunting No closed season No limit

    5.14 Fisher

    By trapping December 1-December 31 No limit

    By hunting No open season Zero

    5.15 Weasel

    By trapping Fourth Sat. in Oct.-Dec. 31 No limit

    By hunting No closed season No limit

    5.16 Opossum

    By trapping Fourth Sat. in Oct.-Dec. 31 No limit

    By hunting No closed season No limit

    5.17 Wolf No open season Zero

    5.18 Lynx No open season Zero

    5.19 With the exception of state and federally listed threatened and endangered species, seasons shall not be applicable to any person, who takes a furbearing animal in defense of persons or property for compensation, in accordance with 10 V.S.A. § 4828.

    6.0 Trapping Rabbits and Furbearers in Defense of Property for a Fee.

    6.1 In accordance with Sec. 11 of Act 170 from the 2017-2018 Adj Session, the following sections and subsections of Board rules set forth in Title 10, Appendix § 44 are applicable to trapping rabbits and furbearing animals in defense of property for compensation: 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.8 (however, possession is allowed for the purpose of moving the animal to a more appropriate place for dispatch), 4.10, 4.11 (unless the animal has already been trapped), 4.14 (e), 4.16 (b), 4.17 (a) and (b). (Added 1961, No. 119, § 2, eff. May 9, 1961; amended 1966, Fish and Game Board Reg. No. —, eff. Jan. 1, 1967; 1974, Fish and Game Board Reg. No. 883, eff. Jan. 18, 1974; 1977, Fish and Game Board Reg. No. 904, § 3, eff. Jan. 1, 1978; 1977, No. 231 (Adj. Sess.); 1980, Fish and Game Board Reg. No. 917, eff. July 2, 1980; 1980, Fish and Game Board Reg. No. 925,§§ 1, 2, eff. Dec. 27, 1980; 1984, Fish and Game Board Reg. No. 949, eff. June 2, 1984; 1989, No. 36, § 2; 1995, Fish and Game Board Reg. No. 1008, eff. July 9, 1994; 2003, Fish and Wildlife Reg. No. 1008, eff. Oct. 31, 2003; 2007, Fish and Wildlife Reg. No. 1008, eff. Jan. 12, 2007; 2012 Fish and Wildlife Board Reg. eff. July 14, 2012; 2013 Fish and Wildlife Board Reg. eff. Jan. 1, 2014; 2017 Fish and Wildlife Board Reg. eff. Jan. 1, 2018; 2019, Fish and Wildlife Board Reg., eff. Jan. 1, 2020.)