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Department History and Insignia

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has a history that extends back to 1866 when the Legislature appointed a Board of Fish Commissioners.

Historic Roxbury Fish Hatchery
Roxbury Hatchery 1914

A decade later this Board was given authority over game birds and mammals, and in 1892 the Board of Fish Commissioners was renamed the Fish and Game Commission.

These actions were the culmination of increasing public concern about fish, wildlife and their habitats. Since the arrival of European colonists in Vermont, many species had declined in abundance because of unrestricted harvests, poorly enforced laws and habitat loss. By the 1850s only 25 percent of Vermont was covered by forest due to extensive land clearing for farming. Today, almost 80 percent of the state is covered by forest, and many wildlife species have been restored.

Even though the initial focus was on game fish and animals and associated recreation, department personnel have always had a commitment to all fish and wildlife species. This was formally recognized in 1983 when the department's name was changed from Fish and Game to Fish and "Wildlife."

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department Timeline

Timeline of the department's milestones from colonial times to 2016.

Fish & Wildlife Insignia

Our insignia has meaning. Vermont Fish and Wildlife Insignia

  • The top band of 14 black and green alternate slashes: the counties of Vermont
  • The green foliage framing the wildlife species: the state’s forests
  • The splash around the fish on the left: the waters of the state
  • The band of grass on the right: field and edge land

The species shown stand for the whole wildlife community:

  • The deer, our most important single game species, stands for all mammals.
  • The trout is symbolic of all fish.
  • The ruffed grouse, Vermont’s king of game birds, represents all birds.

Other symbols:

  • The yellow & green throughout: the official state colors of green and gold.
  • The five wedges at the bottom: the five Fish and Wildlife districts.
  • The state over the districts: direction from Montpelier that benefits the whole state.

The Department’s insignia is protected under several laws and is a registered principle trademark. It cannot be used or reproduced without permission from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. For inquiries on its use, please email: