White-Tailed Deer

"Hunting" in Vermont means deer hunting. Almost all of the state's 65,000 resident hunters hunt deer at some point during the fall and more bucks are taken per square mile in Vermont than in any other New England state.

Vermont's deer herd is managed to minimize winter mortality and to improve both herd and forest health. For years "bucks-only" hunting resulted in the herd booming or crashing, depending upon winter severity. Now, regulated antlerless deer hunting through either-sex archery hunting, the youth deer weekend and a controlled permit system during the muzzleloading season.

Seasons Dates Notes
Archery

October 1-December 15, 2020 
except closed during regular November season

One legal buck may be taken anywhere in the state not to exceed the one buck annual limit
WMUs open to antlerless deer hunting in archery season will be posted in August
A crossbow may be used by anyone

Youth Deer Weekend October 24-25, 2020 One deer of either sex, no antler restriction (pending Fish and Wildlife Board approval)
Novice Weekend October 24-25, 2020

A Novice is a person who purchased their first hunting license within the past 12 months and is 16 years of age or older.

Muzzleloader Antlerless  October 29-November 1, 2020 TBD by Fish and Wildlife Board
Muzzleloader license and antlerless permit required - check website in June for permit availability 
Permit may be used during this season or during the regular muzzleloader deer season
November Rifle November 14-November 29, 2020 One legal buck may be taken anywhere in the state not to exceed the one buck annual limit
Muzzleloader December 5-13, 2020 One legal buck may be taken anywhere in the state not to exceed the one buck annual limit. Antlerless deer may be take if you have an antlerless permit

Limits

No more than four deer per year, only one may be a legal buck. Youth and novice hunters can take two legal bucks, provided one is taken during the youth or novice season, not to exceed the annual limit of four deer. No antler restrictions apply for Youth Deer Weekend.

Legal Buck

Legal Buck Definition

In Wildlife Management Units C, D1, D2 E1, E2, G, I, L, M, P, and Q a legal buck is any deer with at least one antler three inches or more in length.

In Wildlife Management Units A, B, F1, F2, H, J1, J2, K, N, and O a legal buck is any deer with at least one antler with two or more antler points one inch in length or longer.

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Regulations

Deer regulations change annually, particularly units open to antlerless archery hunting and muzzleloader antlerless permits. Check the Fish and Wildlife Board Rules page in late spring or summer.

Leashed Tracking Dog to Recover Deer

A hunter who believes they have legally killed or wounded a deer during hunting season may engage a person who has a “Leashed Tracking Dog Certificate” issued by the department to track and recover the animal during the season or within 24 hours after the season ends.

get the list of leashed Tracking Dog Handlers

See also:

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Contact Us

Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife
Commissioner Louis Porter

1 National Life Drive
Fish & Wildlife LogoDavis 2
Montpelier, VT 05620-3702
802-828-1000
fwinformation@vermont.gov

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The mission of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is the conservation of all species of fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the people of Vermont.