New Laws for Coyote Hunting with Dogs, Retrieval of Game and Fur Animals, and Best Trap Management Practices | Outside

MONTPELIER — Three new hunting or trapping laws passed by the Vermont Legislative Assembly in the 2022 session are taking effect, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

Under the new laws: hunting coyotes with dogs and training dogs to hunt coyotes will be temporarily banned in Vermont starting July 1; the retrieval and use of game and fur-bearing animals by hunters and trappers is now mandatory, with some exceptions; and the Department of Fish and Wildlife is beginning a process with the Fish and Wildlife Board and the Legislature to identify and implement new best management practices for trapping in the state.

According to S.281, hunters will only be able to pursue and take out a coyote with dogs if they are on their own property and acting in defense of a person or property, or if they have signed the authorization from a landowner who has a legitimate defense of relating to persons or property.

Under H.411, the requirement to retrieve and use certain wildlife when lawfully captured is now in effect. The requirement includes moose, deer, bear, wild turkey, gray squirrel, cottontail and snowshoe hare, game birds, crow and furbearers.

The covered wild animal is to be processed into food, fur, skin, or feathers, or used for taxidermy. This does not apply to a coyote that has been legally shot.

Exceptions include unfit animals, theft, loss of another wild animal, lack of access due to display, defense of person or property, and sick or sick.

According to S.201, the ministry has initiated a process to identify new best management practices that modernize trapping and improve the welfare of wildlife caught using traps. This will result in a recommendation from the Commissioner to the Legislative Assembly and a review of existing trapping regulations based on this recommendation by Council.

Updated trapping regulations as a result of this process are not expected until the 2023 hunting and trapping season at the earliest; no changes to trapping regulations are in effect for the 2022 season.

Links to the new laws are available on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife website, https://vtfishandwildlife.com.


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Raymond I. Langston