News Releases

July 22, 2009

All Young Hunters May Participate in Vermont Youth Hunts

WATERBURY, VT –Nonresident young hunters may now participate in Vermont’s special youth hunt weekends for deer and turkey. Vermont’s legislative statute governing youth deer and turkey hunts was amended to include nonresidents as well as residents, effective July 1, 2009.

“Vermont’s three special youth hunting weekends are helping to ensure that young hunters get the quality training and experiences they need for lifelong participation,” said Fish & Wildlife Hunter Education Coordinator Chris Saunders. “We wanted to help make it possible for both resident and nonresident families to enjoy a Vermont hunting experience.”

Anyone under 16 years of age who has successfully completed a hunter safety course and purchased the required licenses may obtain free youth deer hunting or youth turkey hunting tags to participate in Vermont’s special youth hunts for deer and turkey.

The young hunter must be accompanied by an unarmed adult over 18 years of age who holds a Vermont hunting license. The adult may accompany up to two young hunters. Landowner permission is required in order to hunt on private land during the youth deer and turkey hunt weekends.

Vermont’s youth deer hunting weekend is November 7 and 8 this year, the weekend before the rifle season. A young hunter who has obtained a Vermont hunting license and youth deer tag may take one deer of either sex during youth deer hunting weekend. The antler restriction that applies for other Vermont deer seasons does not apply for youth deer hunting weekend.

The next youth turkey hunting weekend will be April 24 and 25, 2010, the weekend before the May 1-31 spring turkey season. Vermont’s youth waterfowl hunt weekend will occur in late September, the dates to be announced later. Youth waterfowl hunting weekend had always been open to nonresidents.

Finding a place to hunt during the youth hunting weekends is relatively easy in Vermont.

“These youth hunts are very important positive experiences, and hunting on private land requires landowner permission during the youth hunts,” said Fish & Wildlife Operations Chief Thomas Decker. “Connecting with local landowners is very important in establishing places to hunt. Vermont also has over 300,000 acres of public lands open to hunting.”

Vermont’s youth hunting licenses are $8 for residents and $25 for nonresidents. Turkey hunting licenses, required in addition to the hunting license, are $17 for residents and $25 for nonresidents.

A 2007 survey of more than 1,600 Vermont youth hunters, past youth hunters and adult hunters confirmed that these hunts are recruiting and retaining young hunters. The majority of young hunters who participate in the youth hunt weekends (77 percent) keep hunting into adulthood. Youth hunters and their mentors are having a lot of fun, and, as a result, they want to hunt more. For the majority (69 percent) of participating young hunters, a youth hunt was their first time hunting.

The survey was conducted by Responsive Management, an internationally-recognized natural resource survey firm, on behalf of the Fish & Wildlife Department. It measured current youth hunters, past youth hunters and the general hunting population to gauge the effectiveness of the youth deer, turkey and waterfowl weekends at meeting hunter recruitment and retention goals.

The results are clear: current youth hunters, past youth hunters and their mentors were highly satisfied with their experiences, and this is translating into an increased desire to hunt in the future. Perhaps most telling of these youth seasons was that for the majority (69 percent) of youth hunters, the youth hunting weekend represented their first time hunting.

In addition, the study indicates high support among all Vermont hunters for the youth hunts with 87 percent of all the hunters surveyed supported Vermont’s youth hunts, even if they thought the hunts were impacting their chance of success. However, concerns that youths are racking up the deer before they hit sixteen years-old proved unfounded. The majority (61 percent) of youth hunters hunt only one or two youth deer weekends, and most (75 percent) fail to get a deer.

Source: Agency of Natural Resources
Last Updated at: July 22, 2009 15:13:46