Title 10: Conservation and Development
Chapter 103: FISH AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT
Sub-Chapter 002: Regulatory Powers Over Fish And Wildlife
10 V.S.A. § 4081. Policy
§ 4081. Policy
(a)(1) As provided by Chapter II, § 67 of the Constitution of the State of Vermont, the fish and wildlife of Vermont are held in trust by the State for the benefit of the citizens of Vermont and shall not be reduced to private ownership. The State of Vermont, in its sovereign capacity as a trustee for the citizens of the State, shall have ownership, jurisdiction, and control of all of the fish and wildlife of Vermont.
(2) The Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife shall manage and regulate the fish and wildlife of Vermont in accordance with the requirements of this part and the rules of the Fish and Wildlife Board. The protection, propagation control, management, and conservation of fish, wildlife, and fur-bearing animals in this State are in the interest of the public welfare. The State, through the Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife, shall safeguard the fish, wildlife, and fur-bearing animals of the State for the people of the State, and the State shall fulfill this duty with a constant and continual vigilance.
(c) An abundant, healthy deer herd is a primary goal of fish and wildlife management. The use of a limited unit open season on antlerless deer shall be implemented only after a scientific game management study by the fish and wildlife department supports such a season.
(d) Anually, the Department shall update a scientific management study of the state deer herd. The study shall consider data provided by Department biologists and citizen testimony taken under subsection (f) of this section.
(e) Based on the results of the updated management study and citizen testimony, the Board shall decide whether an antlerless deer hunting season is necessary and if so how many permits are to be issued. If the Board determines that an antlerless season is necessary, it shall adopt a rule creating one and the department shall then administer an antlerless program.
(f) Annually, the Department shall hold regional public hearings to receive testimony and data from concerned citizens about their knowledge and concerns about the deer herd. The Board shall identify the regions by rule.
(g) If the Board finds that an antlerless season is necessary to maintain the health and size of the herd, the Department shall administer an antlerless deer program. Annually, the Board shall determine how many antlerless permits to issue in each wildlife management unit. For a nonrefundable fee of $10.00 for residents and $25.00 for nonresidents a person may apply for a permit. Each person may submit only one application for a permit. The Department shall allocate the permits in the following manner:
(1) A Vermont landowner, as defined in section 4253 of this title, who owns 25 or more contiguous acres and who applies shall receive a permit for antlerless hunting in the management unit on which the land is located before any are given to people eligible under subdivision (2) of this subsection. If the land is owned by more than one individual, corporation or other entity, only one permit shall be issued. Landowners applying for antlerless permits under this subdivision shall not, at the time of application or thereafter during the regular hunting season, post their lands except under the provisions of section 4710 of this title. As used in this section, "post" means any signage that would lead a reasonable person to believe that hunting is restricted on the land. If the number of landowners who apply exceeds the number of permits for that district, the Department shall award all permits in that district to landowners by lottery.
(3) Any permits remaining after permits have been allocated pursuant to subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection shall be issued by the Department for a $10.00 fee for residents. Ten percent of the remaining permits may be issued to nonresident applicants for a $25.00 fee. (Added 1961, No. 119, § 1, eff. May 9, 1961; amended 1979, No. 68, § 1, eff. May 8, 1979; 1979, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.); 1979, No. 189 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. date, see note set out below; 1983, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), eff. April 13, 1984; 1989, No. 140 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1989, No. 248 (Adj. Sess.); 1991, No. 16; 1991, No. 230 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 1997, No. 99 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1997, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 53a, eff. Jan. 1, 1999; 2003, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2011, No. 54, § 2; 2011, No. 54, § 9, eff. May 31, 2011; 2013, No. 78, § 2.)