Announcements Sports & Outdoors

Urgent Action Needed Hunting Rights In Vermont

In Partnership with Vermont Traditions Coalition

Hello All,

Once more the time has come for us to step up and work together to oppose some terrible legislation at the State House. This time, our dog hunting community is under attack! This language was not in the bill when Senator Nitka introduced it! It was amended in by Senator Bray after informal discussions with folks outside of the committee room.  

This is a CRITICAL alert to ACT upon!! Please take the time and share it widely!

Details of exactly how bad this bill now is follow the instructions below. It prescribes a PERMANENT LOSS OF PRIVILEGES as a penalty! Nothing like that exists in statute!

Starting Tuesday morning, please call the Sergeant-at-Arms at (802) 828-2228 and ask them to deliver this message to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy. 

“I urge you to remove sections 15-18 (Wildlife Governance and Bear Hunting) in S.321. These sections benefit neither the people nor the wildlife of Vermont.”

I understand that this is frustrating, but it’s important to remain civil. Be polite, but firm!

Furthermore, send an email prior to this Thursday to the same effect (be sure to include your town of residence) to the senators on the committee: (Addison) (Bennington) (Franklin) (Essex / Orleans) (Orange)


The Senate Natural Resources Committee is contemplating language which would effectively end bear hunting with hounds in the state of Vermont as well as potentially creating yet another board to oversee the Fish and Wildlife Board, which guides the  Fish and Wildlife Department, which is already overseen by the Agency of Natural Resources and the Administrative Branch. 

More importantly, the bear hound language can quickly be adapted to apply to any hunting dog!

The hounding language is truly harmful!! 


1: Loses sight of a dog;

2: Has a dog get more than 528 feet away; or

3: Has a dog go on property where they didn’t have written permission …

They may not HUNT, TRAIN, OR ACCOMPANY for FIVE YEARS on a first offense; and 

will be PROHIBITED FOR LIFE on a second offense!

-It would require anyone “hunting black bear with dogs” to maintain “control” at all times.

Control is defined as:
maintaining constant visual contact and never being more than 528 feet from any dog; and

It would require that dogs not pursue a bear onto any property where the hunter does not have “prior written permission”.

Further, this bill would prohibit the Commissioner from allowing “training a hunting dog to pursue black bear” outside of the regular training season; and

-It would reduce the season for anyone “training a hunting dog to pursue black bear”

Consider these pieces carefully. 

If one removes the words “black bear” from the control pieces they read “hunting with a dog”

-If one removes the words “to pursue black bear” from the training piece, it reads, “training a hunting dog” .

Incidentally, every other type of dog training is included in this same statute. This could easily be your beagle, coon dog, foxhound, or pointer. In fact, the suggestion has already been made on the record in committee that singling out bear hounds is inappropriate and perhaps this control definition should apply to all hunting dogs.

For full text of the bill, click here, and remember, this is all new language. In fact, ALL highlighted language has been added this week. Again, this was not in the bill when Senator Nitka introduced it! DO NOT be angry with her over this.’Grady~Draft%202.1~2-21-2020.pdf

We need all hands on deck here folks! Please don’t sit this one out, and make sure to share with everyone!!! This is the worst outright attack on our hunting traditions in years!

My Best Regards,

Mike Covey
Executive Director
Vermont Traditions Coalition

Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs

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