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Turkey Hunting in Vermont

Historical Restoration Efforts

By the mid-1800s, turkeys had vanished from Vermont due to unregulated hunting and deforestation. In 1969, Vermont wildlife biologists initiated a multi-decade effort to restore wild turkeys to the state. This endeavor began with the release of 31 New York wild turkeys into Rutland County. Today, Vermont boasts a thriving turkey population of over 45,000 birds, far surpassing their historical range. Turkeys now inhabit nearly every town in the state.

Vermont: A Turkey Hunting Destination

Vermont's unique landscape, characterized by a blend of fields, forests, and farmland, not only supports a healthy turkey population but also provides excellent hunting opportunities. Spring turkey hunters in Vermont regularly achieve success rates exceeding 25%, and more than 35% of successful hunters bag a second turkey to fill their two-bird limit. Each year, over 6,000 turkeys are harvested across the state, offering hunters a sustainable connection to the environment and over 140,000 servings of locally sourced, all-natural turkey meat.

License Requirements

To hunt turkeys in Vermont, hunters must possess the following:

  • A current hunting or combination license
  • A current turkey license with tag
  • For those using a bow or crossbow, a previous or current bow license or certification of completion of a bow hunter education course is required.

Legal Methods of Taking

Turkeys in Vermont may only be hunted using the following methods:

  • Shotgun
  • Bow and arrow
  • Crossbow

When using a firearm, only shot number 2 or smaller is allowed, and arrowheads must be at least 7/8 of an inch wide with two or more cutting edges. Rifles are prohibited for turkey hunting, and electronic calling devices, bait, live decoys, and cooperative drives are not allowed. Additionally, dogs cannot be used during the spring turkey season.

Tagging

Hunters who successfully take a turkey must promptly attach the appropriate tag to the carcass. This tag must remain on the carcass until it is prepared for consumption.

Safety Measures

Turkey hunting demands extra safety precautions. Hunters should never stalk a gobbling turkey, as the chances of getting close are slim, and it may lead to encounters with other hunters. When walking to and from the hunting site, wear blaze orange and wrap harvested turkeys in blaze orange for visibility. Use only hen calls to prevent attracting other hunters with gobbler calls. While hunting, sit against a tree with a clear field of vision and avoid positioning yourself in the line of fire of other hunters who may mistake your decoy for a live turkey.

Reporting Requirements

Within 48 hours of taking a turkey, hunters must report the harvest and exhibit the carcass to the nearest game warden, official Fish & Wildlife Department Reporting Station, or a designated commissioner representative. Online reporting options are also available. Transporting a turkey carcass out of state is prohibited without prior reporting. Visit the Vermont Fish & Wildlife website for further details on reporting procedures.

Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend in Vermont — April 27 – 28, 2024

Introduction

Vermont's Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend is a special event held on the Saturday and Sunday just before the opening day of the spring turkey hunting season. This weekend offers young hunters aged 15 or younger an exciting opportunity to experience turkey hunting. Here are the essential details:

Eligibility

Any resident or nonresident youth who is 15 years of age or younger during the weekend of the hunt can participate. To qualify, the youth must have successfully completed a hunter education course. Additionally, a qualified youth must purchase both a Vermont hunting license and a turkey license from a licensed agent. This can be done by providing proof of completing the hunter education course or evidence of previously holding a valid hunting license. The youth hunter's parent or guardian must sign the hunting license application in the presence of the license agent.

Accompaniment by an Adult

During the hunt, the youth hunter must be accompanied by an unarmed adult who is over 18 years old and holds a valid Vermont hunting license. The adult can accompany no more than two youth hunters simultaneously. The adult's role includes direct control and supervision of the youth hunter, including the ability to see and communicate with them without the use of artificial devices like radios or binoculars, except for medically necessary devices such as hearing aids or eyeglasses.

Landowner Permission

Hunting on private land with a youth turkey tag requires the landowner's permission. It's important to note that all relevant game laws and regulations, including the prohibition on baiting and road hunting, apply during Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend. Even landowners must purchase tags to hunt on their property during youth weekends.

Shooting Hours

Shooting hours for Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend are from one-half hour before sunrise to 5:00 p.m., specifically for this weekend season.

Bag Limit

During Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend, the youth hunter may take one bearded turkey. Subsequently, they can also participate in the Spring Season and take two bearded turkeys during that season. It's essential to be aware that the fine for violations during Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend will be doubled, and the fine will be assessed against the licensed adult who is accompanying the youth and responsible for their supervision.

Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend offers young hunters a unique chance to engage in the rich tradition of turkey hunting in Vermont while under the guidance of experienced adults. It's an excellent opportunity for youth to develop their hunting skills and make lasting memories in the outdoors.

Novice Turkey Hunting Weekend in Vermont  April 27 – 28, 2024

Introduction

Novice Turkey Hunting Weekend in Vermont is an exciting opportunity for individuals who are new to hunting and have purchased their first hunting license within the past 12 months. This novice season runs concurrently with the Youth Turkey Weekend and allows new hunters aged 16 or older to experience turkey hunting under specific regulations. Here are the key details:

Eligibility

To participate in the novice season, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Be 16 years of age or older.
  • Have purchased their first hunting license within the past 12 months.

License and Tag Requirements

Qualified novice hunters must possess the following:

  • A valid Vermont hunting license.
  • A turkey license.
  • A novice turkey hunting tag.

These requirements are essential to participate in the novice season, and hunters should ensure they have the necessary licenses and tags.

Accompaniment by an Adult

Novice hunters must be accompanied by an unarmed adult who holds a valid Vermont hunting license and is at least 18 years of age or older. The accompanying adult can supervise no more than two novice hunters at one time. The term "accompany" means direct control and supervision, including the ability to see and communicate with the novice hunter without the use of artificial devices such as radios or binoculars, except for medically necessary devices like hearing aids or eyeglasses.

Permission for Private Land

Novice hunters are not allowed to hunt on privately owned land without obtaining the permission of the landowner or occupant. It's crucial to respect the rights of private landowners and seek their approval before hunting on their property.

Shooting Hours

Shooting hours for the Novice Turkey Hunting Weekend are from one-half hour before sunrise to 5:00 p.m. This timing is specific to this weekend season.

Bag Limit

During the Novice Turkey Hunting Weekend, novice hunters are allowed to take one bearded turkey. Additionally, novice hunters may participate in the Spring Season and take two bearded turkeys during that season. It's essential to adhere to bag limits and hunting regulations.

Novice Turkey Hunting Weekend provides new hunters with the opportunity to gain experience and enjoy the thrill of turkey hunting in Vermont's beautiful outdoors. It's a great way for individuals who have recently taken up hunting to get started and make memorable hunting experiences.

Spring Turkey Season in Vermont

Overview

The Spring Turkey Season in Vermont offers hunters an exciting opportunity to pursue these magnificent birds in the beautiful outdoors. Here are the key details for the Spring Turkey Season in 2024:

Season Dates

  • Spring Season: May 1 – 31, 2024

Shooting Hours

Shooting hours during the Spring Turkey Season are from one-half hour before sunrise to 12:00 noon. This timing ensures a safe and controlled hunting environment.

Bag Limit

Hunters are allowed to take two bearded turkeys during the spring season. Bearded turkeys are typically males and are a common target for hunters.

Wildlife Management Units (WMUs)

All Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) are open to hunting during the spring season. This provides hunters with a wide range of locations to pursue turkeys throughout Vermont.

The Spring Turkey Season is an excellent opportunity for hunters to enjoy the outdoors, test their skills, and potentially harvest these remarkable birds.

Fall Turkey Season in Vermont

Overview

The Fall Turkey Season in Vermont provides hunters with another chance to engage in turkey hunting. Here are the key details for the Fall Turkey Season in 2024:

Shooting Hours

Shooting hours for the Fall Turkey Season are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. It's essential for hunters to refer to the Sunset/Sunrise Table to determine the exact timing for their location.

Bag Limit

During the fall season, hunters are allowed to take one turkey of either sex. This provides some flexibility in target selection.

Season Dates and WMUs

The Fall Turkey Season is divided into specific dates and Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) for hunting. Here's the breakdown:

  • Archery only: Oct. 5 – 25, 2024, in all WMUs statewide
  • Shotgun or Archery: Oct. 26 – Nov. 3, 2024, in WMUs B, D, G, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, and Q
  • Shotgun or Archery: Oct. 26 – Nov. 10, 2024, in WMUs F, K, and N

Hunters should be aware of the specific dates and WMUs for their chosen hunting method.

The Fall Turkey Season offers a different experience compared to the spring season, with its own set of challenges and rewards. It provides additional opportunities for hunters to pursue turkeys in Vermont's diverse landscape.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.