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Bear Hunting In Vermont

Hunting Methods  Hunting With Dogs

Before the arrival of European settlers, Vermont was a heavily forested State making it an excellent home for bears. By the 1850s, over 75% of Vermont's forests were cleared to make way for farmland. Between deforestation and hunting, the bears suffered greatly, and their population declined as a result.


When Did Bear Hunting Start In Vermont?

Bear hunting Season laws were enforced in 1941.


Is The State Broken Down Into BMUs (Bear management units)?

The State has 93 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) All of them are open to bear hunting. 


When Is Bear Hunting Season?

Early Season: Sept 1–Nov 15

Late Season: Nov 16–24


What Weapons Are Permitted?

Archery: Longbows, Recurve bows, and Crossbows; Arrowheads at least 7/8 of an inch wide with a minimum of two cutting sides.

Firearms: Rifles of .22 caliber using rimfire cartridges; Handguns.

Muzzleloaders: Any muzzleloading rifles, shotguns, and pistols.


Can Hunters Kill Cubs?

The State recommends that hunters not shoot cubs or mothers with cubs, but do not indicate that it is illegal. 


Can Hunters Kill A Bear Over Bait?

No. The use of bait is not legal.


Is Dog Hunting Permitted In Vermont?

Yes. Hunting with dogs is legal.


What Procedure Must Hunters Follow After They Kill A Bear?

A harvested bear must immediately be tagged. The carcass must stay field dressed (Neither skinned nor quartered/cut up) until reported. Hunters have 48 hours to report the kill and take the carcass to the nearest game warden, official Fish & Wildlife Department Reporting Station, or to a person designated by the commissioner to receive the reports. At that time, a pre-molar tooth must be presented to officials.


What Is Their Reasoning For Hunting Bears?

  • Regulating bear population

  • Controlling nuisance problems

  • Recreational opportunity for sportsmen and women


What Is The Government Organization(s), That Is In Charge Of Bear Hunting/Wildlife?

  • Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (VFWD)

  • Vermont Wildlife Coalition


When Does the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department  Hold Their Meetings?

The VFWD usually holds a meeting on the third Wednesday of every month. Meeting dates, times and locations can be found here -


Are The Meetings Open To The Public?

There are many meetings open to the public. Meeting dates, times and locations can be found here -


Who Has The Power To Stop The Hunt?

The Governor and Vermont’s elected General Assembly Members have the authority to introduce and vote on proposed law changes.

Louis Porter, Commissioner of the VFWD


Groups And Organizations That Oppose Bear Hunting.

Green Mountain Animal Defenders -


Hunt Clubs And Organizations That Participate In And Fund Bear Hunting.

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department -

Vermont Bear Hound Association -

Vermont Big Game Trophy Club -

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