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New Regulations for Trapping Come into Effect January 1, 2024

Trappers must ensure they are compliant with Vermont’s new trapping regulations that come into effect on January 1, 2024.


The new regulations include a requirement that live trapped animals be killed humanely and establish standards for trap types and use of baits to reduce the risk of catching pets and non-target wildlife.  Trappers must also follow new guidelines for where traps can be placed, such as maintaining a 50 ft. setback distance from a legal trail, public trail or public highway unless set in the water or under ice.


“Vermont’s new trapping regulations will make trapping safer and more humane,” said Christopher Herrick, Commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.  “They strike a middle ground between concerns raised by both activists and trappers, and are among the most comprehensive trapping regulations in the country.”


The full set of new regulations are available on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s website.  They will be taught in the department’s required trapper education course for new trappers, and published in the department’s annual hunting and trapping lawbook starting in 2025.


The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board finalized Vermont’s new trapping regulations as part of a larger update to the state’s furbearing species ruleDuring the board’s rulemaking process, Vermont’s Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) filed an objection to elements of the new trapping regulations, including its exemption from the 50 ft. trail and highway setback for traps placed in the water or under the ice.  


LCAR’s objection does not prevent the new trapping regulations from coming into effect.  Instead, it requires the board and department to prove that the regulations are consistent with legislative intent and the requirements of administrative law if the regulations are challenged in court.