§19. Rule governing the importation and possession of animals for taking by hunting

Link to law: http://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/10APPENDIX/001/00019
Published: 2015

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The Vermont Statutes Online



Vermont Fish and Wildlife Regulations








19. Rule governing the importation and possession of animals for taking by


1.0 Authority

and Application

1.1 This rule is

promulgated pursuant to 10 V.S.A. §§ 4081, 4082, and 4714.

1.2 In

promulgating this rule, the Vermont fish and wildlife board is following the

policy established by the general assembly that "the protection,

propagation control, management and conservation of fish, wildlife and

furbearing animals in this state is in the interest of the public welfare and

that the safeguarding of this valuable resource for the people of the state

requires a constant and continual vigilance," as stated in 10 V.S.A. §


1.3 In

accordance with 10 V.S.A. § 4082, this rule is designed to maintain the best

health, population and utilization levels of wild animals.

1.4 Wild animals

in Vermont belong to the people in their collective and sovereign capacity, not

in their private and individual capacities, as long recognized by the Vermont

supreme court.1 Ownership of wild animals may only be acquired subject to the

reasonable regulation as provided for by the general assembly.


=fn  1 See, inter alia, State v.

Theriault, 70 Vt. 617 (1898), Payne v. Sheets, 75 Vt. 335 (1903); State v.

Niles, 78 Vt. 266 (1906); Zanotti v. Bolles 80 Vt. 345 (1907). 

1.5 This rule

applies to any live animal that is possessed or confined for the purposes of

taking by hunting.

1.6 This rule

applies to enclosures whose purpose is to confine animals to be taken by the

means of hunting. It shall not apply to activities permitted under the

provisions of 10 V.S.A. § 5217, or 10 V.S.A Appx §§ 32 and 13.

2.0 Purpose and


The purpose of

this rule is to:

2.1 In

accordance with 10 V. S.A. § 4714, establish the necessary criteria to

implement and enforce the permit and permit process for the importation and

possession of animals for the purposes of hunting;

2.2 Maintain the

best health of the wild animals of the State, both in the wild populations and

those animals within facilities permitted under this rule;

2.3 Prevent the

introduction or spread of a disease, or parasite by imported animals that are

harmful to humans and wild animals, specifically, but not exclusively, the

spread of "Chronic Wasting Disease" ("CWD"), bovine

tuberculosis, and rabies;

2.4 Ensure the

physical health and safety of humans;

2.5 Ensure the

rights of hunting and fowling enshrined in Chapter II, Section 67 of the

Vermont Constitution;

2.6 Prohibit

entrapment of white-tailed deer and moose or any wild animal not authorized in

this regulation, even if temporary, by means of a fenced enclosure or enclosed

hunting facility; and

2.7 Maintain the

health of the white-tailed deer and moose populations by ensuring that diseases

associated with enclosed animals are not introduced into the wild and that

there are sufficient open lands for the wildlife of the State to travel, feed,

and meet all their life requirements and support population levels to

accommodate the public's interests in these resources.

3.0 Definitions


"Animals" means all members of the animal kingdom, wild or domestic.


"Application" means a document produced and published by the

department, completed by a person seeking a permit from the commissioner to

import or possess animals for taking by hunting.


"Board" means the Vermont fish and wildlife board.


"Cervid," "Cervidae," and "deer" means any member

of the Cervidae family.


"Chronic wasting disease" ("CWD") means a transmissible

spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) of cervids.


"Commissioner" means the Vermont fish and wildlife department


3.7 "CWD

susceptible cervid" means any species of the family Cervidae, or any other

family or genera, when published scientific evidence shows susceptibility to

Chronic Wasting Disease ("CWD"), including black-tailed and mule

deer, white-tailed deer, elk, red deer, and moose. Fallow deer ( Dama dama )

are excluded until susceptibility evidence is discovered.


"Department" means the Vermont department of fish and wildlife.


"Designated Employee" means an employee or agent of the permittee who

has been designated by the permittee to take a captive animal or wild animal

that has become entrapped. The names of all designated employees shall be

provided to the department, in writing, prior to being given authorization to take

any animal.


"Enclose" means to create through the use of fences, manmade

structures, or natural barriers, an area that can be used to restrict the free

movement of animals.


"Enclosure" means a structure designed to restrict the free movement

of animals and the area within that structure.


"Escape-proof/t" means so constructed that the captive animals will

remain confined under all circumstances, except when natural catastrophe or

other incidents occur over which the owner or the owner's agent has no control.

"Escape-proof" also means so constructed as to prevent ingress from

white-tailed deer and moose.


"Herd" means one or more cervids that are under common ownership or

supervision permitted under this rule and are grouped on one or more parts of

any single premises (lot, farm or ranch), and all cervids under common

ownership or supervision on two or more premises which are geographically

separated but on which cervids have been commingled or had direct or indirect

contact with one another.

3.14 "Herd

inventory" means an official list of all of the animals enclosed within

the facility including verification of the official or approved



"Hunting" means the taking of an animal by use of a firearm,

muzzleloader, bow or crossbow or other implement authorized by the general

assembly, or the Vermont fish and wildlife board to pursue or take any live



"Hunting Facility" means an enclosure created by the use of fences,

man-made structures, or natural barriers where animals are confined to be taken

by hunting. Specifically excluded from this definition are activities covered

by regulations 734 (Beagle Training) and 690 (Regulated Shooting Grounds).


"Import" means any act of transporting animals into Vermont from any

state or country.


"NAIS" means National Animal Identification System. This is a

national program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture

outlining standard operating procedures in animal identification.


"Owner" means an individual, partnership, company, corporation or

other legal entity that has legal title to an animal or herd of animals.


"Permit" means a written authorization from the commissioner

specifically granting a request to import and/or possess animals for hunting

within an authorized facility.


"Person" includes individuals, principals, agents, employees, firms,

partnerships, corporations and associations.


"Possession" means actual or constructive possession.

3.23 "Take

and taking" means pursuing, shooting, hunting, killing, capturing,

trapping, snaring and all lesser acts, such as disturbing, harrying or worrying

or wounding or placing, setting, drawing or using any net or other device

commonly used to take animals, whether they result in the taking or not; and

shall include every attempt to take and every act of assistance to every other

person in taking or attempting to take fish or wild animals, provided that when

taking is allowed by law, such a taking must be by lawful means and in a lawful


4.0 Generally

4.1 Prohibited:

It is unlawful to take by hunting any animal in an enclosed area by a person

other than the owner of the facility, spouse, the landowner's minor child,

licensed veterinarian, or designated employee as defined by this rule, unless

the facility is properly licensed as a captive hunt facility under this rule or

has been granted authorization by the commissioner.

4.2 Importation:

It shall be prohibited to import, possess or confine any live animal, to be

taken by hunting except the species listed in Section 4.5 of this rule. It

shall be unlawful to import, possess or confine to be taken by hunting

white-tailed deer and moose.

4.3 Ingress:

When any species of animal that is imported or possessed for the purposes of

hunting but not approved under 4.5 of this Rule, or any white-tailed deer or

moose becomes entrapped within an enclosure of a permitted facility, the

permittee, or an agent of the permittee shall notify the department of fish and

wildlife within the 24 hours of actual or constructive notice of the

entrapment. The department of fish and wildlife may take whatever steps under

its authority that are deemed necessary to remove and dispose of any entrapped

white-tailed deer or moose.

a) Authorization

to take by permittee: The permittee, or its designated employee, is authorized

to take an entrapped animal. Any such taking must be reported to the department

within 12 hours of the taking. Any authorized person shall immediately properly

dress the carcass and care for the meat. The entire carcass of any animal taken

or removed under this subsection is the property of the commissioner and shall

be tested for diseases as specified by the fish and wildlife department.

4.4 Escape: Any

animal approved for importation and possession under 4.5 of this Rule that

escapes any enclosure of a permitted facility shall be reported to the fish and

wildlife department within 24 hours of the permittee's actual or constructive

notice of the escape.

a) Escaped

animals:  Upon actual or constructive

notice of an escape of an approved animal from a permitted facility, the

permittee shall attempt to recapture the animal. Any such escaped animal which

remains outside the enclosure longer than 72 hours, shall be subject to being

destroyed by the department.

b) Extension:

For good cause shown, the commissioner may grant additional time for recapture

when a request for extension of time is submitted.

4.5 Allowed

Species: No species of animal may be hunted in any hunting facility except

those listed below.

a. The list of

allowed animals is as follows:

Buffalo ( Bison

bison )

Elk or wapiti (

Cervus elaphus canadensis )

Red deer (

Cervus elaphus )

Fallow deer (

Dama dama )

European wild

boar ( Sus scrofa ferus )

Spanish goat (

Capra aegagrus hircus )

Mouflan sheep (

Ovis musimon )

Corsican, Black

Hawaiian, Texas Dall, and Barbarossa sheep ( Ovis hybrids )

b. If a

permittee or applicant wishes to import and enclose a species not list in 4.a.

above for the purpose of being taken by hunting, the Board may be petitioned to

include that species. Species approved must not have an adverse effect on the

state's wildlife, and the proposed importation and/or possession will maintain

the best health, utilization and population levels of wildlife.

4.6 Season:

There shall be no closed season for any animal possessed for the purposes of

hunting if in compliance with this rule.

4.7 License: It

is unlawful for any person to take an animal in a hunting facility unless in

the possession of a valid and current Vermont hunting license.

4.8 Rare and

Irreplaceable Natural Areas: No part of the proposed enclosure will encompass

any land designated as a Rare and Irreplaceable Natural Area, as defined by the

Act 250 process.

4.9 Necessary

Wildlife Habitat: No part of the proposed enclosure will encompass any areas

designated as Necessary Wildlife Habitat as defined by the Act 250 process, or

as designated by the department.

4.10 Enclosure

Size: No hunting facility may have an enclosure less than 100 acres in size for

the purpose of taking an animal by hunting. No hunting facility may have

enclosures with total summed area greater than 1280 acres.2


=fn  2 1280 acres is equivalent to

two square miles. Limiting the size to 1280 acres reduces the risk of

interfering with populations of white-tailed deer, moose, bear and other

species that depend on large areas of land during seasonal movement to fulfill

their life requirements. 

4.11 Premises

Inspection: All facilities permitted under this rule shall be subject to

inspection by the commissioner or the commissioner's designee. Such inspections

may include, but are not limited to, records kept under this rule, perimeter

fencing, enclosed animals, and any structures within the facility. Requests for

inspection shall take place during reasonable business hours.

4.12 Record

keeping and CWD Certified Herd Program: Accurate records documenting purchases,

sales, interstate shipments, intrastate shipments, escaped animals, entrapped

white-tailed deer and moose, deaths (including harvested animals), and births

shall be established and maintained for all hunting operations.

Availability of

Documents: Documentation shall be made available to department personnel

immediately upon request.

Content of

Documents: Information provided in the records shall be kept on forms provided

by the Department. Information shall include: where animals originated, travel

(sale) history, individual animal identification, certificate of veterinary

inspection, carcass and sample identification numbers, sex, species, and age.


Enclosures: If a facility has multiple enclosures, movement of animals between

such enclosures shall be recorded as if they were separately owned enclosures.

CWD Certified

Herd Program: The owners of any CWD susceptible cervid shall enroll in the

Vermont agency of agriculture, food and market's CWD Certified Herd Program and

remain compliant with the Vermont Rules Governing Captive Cervidae as applied

to any possession or take of a CWD susceptible cervid.

4.13 Feeding:

The feeding of ruminant protein to cervids is strictly prohibited. All

facilities permitted under this rule are forbidden from feeding prohibited feed

ingredients. The storage of prohibited feed in the same area as allowable feed

is also prohibited. Feeding practices will be reviewed during inspections.

4.14 Animal

Health: Captive animals shall have sufficient food, water, and cover, as well

as a variety of topographical areas and vegetation types that are not to become

excessively degraded over time due to over-stocking of animals. Animals shall

receive humane and proper treatment in accordance with accepted agricultural or

veterinarian practices.

5.0 Requirements

of the Facility and Operation

5.1 Fencing



=fn  3 These requirements are

consistent with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Market's Rules

Governing Captive Cervidae (2006). 

a) General:

Captive animals must be contained within an escape-proof enclosure that

complies with all specifications under this rule at all times. Repeated escapes

of captive animals, or the ingress of white-tailed deer or moose is evidence of

non-compliance with this rule.



(1) Conventional

or hi-tensile perimeter fences of which at least the bottom six (6) feet must

be mesh (maximum mesh size shall be 12 1/2" x 7"). The overall height

is to be a minimum of eight (8) feet.

(2) Minimum wire

gauges - 12 1/2 gauge - conventional fence; 14 1/2 gauge - woven hi-tensile.

(3) All

perimeter gates providing access to animal holding facilities shall be kept

secured when animals are present. Gate construction shall be constructed and

maintained to prevent escape of captive animals, or ingress by white-tailed

deer or moose, by crawling under the gate, jumping over the gate, or passing

between the gate and adjacent fence.

(4) Posts - four

(4) inch minimum diameter, wood or equivalent (e.g., rust resistant steel),

spaced no more than fifty (50) feet apart (60-foot spacing is allowed if there

are at least two (2) steel posts between the wood posts). There shall be a post

or stay (wood or steel) every 20 feet. Posts must be at least eight (8) feet

above ground level. Corners shall be braced with wood or equivalent material.



a) Any animal

added to the enclosure shall have a minimum of two official/approved unique

identifiers. At least one of these identification systems shall include visible

identification and at least one shall include identification as approved by the


b) For all

animals not covered by the agency of agriculture's identification requirements,

the commissioner shall establish an identification system such as, but not

limited to, tags and tattooing. The commissioner may approve a written

identification plan generated by the permittee. All animals to be enclosed

shall be identified prior to being placed in the enclosure.

5.3 Capture

Chutes for Testing: Shall be in accordance with the rules of the secretary of

the agency of agriculture, food and markets.

5.4 Testing of

Live Animals: Shall be in accordance with the rules of the secretary of the

agency of agriculture, food and markets.

5.5 Monitoing:

Facilities operating under this rule shall allow the commissioner, or the

commissioner's designee, to inspect the permitted facility and records at any


5.6 Testing of

Harvested Animals: Shall be in accordance with the rules of the Secretary of

agriculture, food and markets.

6.0 Application


6.1 Eligibility:

Only those hunting facilities in existence prior to October 28, 2008, will be

eligible to apply for a permit subject to this rule. No new hunting facilities

for the taking of animals by hunting behind fences will be established or


6.2 It is

unlawful to import or possess any animal for the purposes of being taken by

hunting without a permit. Prior to the importation or possession of any animal

by a person, party, or corporation for the purposes of being taken by hunting

under this rule, a facility shall apply to the commissioner in writing with a

permit application designed and provided by the commissioner. The application

shall include:

a) Name, address

and phone number of the Applicant and/or Owner and/Operator if different. Name

address and phone number of any "designated employee" as defined in

this rule.

b) Map of

facility, depicting enclosure location and parcel boundaries.

c) Proof of

ownership, including title or lease.

d) Area, in

acres, of the lands to be enclosed.

e) A description

of the lands to be enclosed, including habitat and vegetative conditions

including wetlands, cover, and water sources.

f) A letter from

the department indicating that the area to be enclosed does not encompass a

Rare of Irreplaceable Natural Area, Necessary Wildlife Habitat, or other rare

community type.

g) Detail of the

two kinds of identification systems to be used at the facility as prescribed in

this rule.

h) Copies of

veterinary inspection reports certifying the disease free status of the animals

and all necessary testing in compliance with rules of the secretary of the

agency of agriculture, food and markets.

i) Documentation

showing the facility to be in compliance with all local, municipal, state and

federal licensing, zoning, taxation, and other applicable laws or regulations.

j) Any

additional information as is necessary to determine that the importation or

possession of the animals referred to complies with the purposes of this rule.

k) A permittee

shall provide a bond, secured note of credit, or equivalent instrument, equal

to the cost of decommissioning the facility. Factors in determining the cost of

decommissioning shall include, but not be limited to:  acreage, number of animals, and linear feet

of fencing.

6.3 Receipt: The

commissioner shall acknowledge, in writing, receipt of the application within

thirty (30) days of receipt. The acknowledgement shall state whether the

application is complete or deficient.


Deficiencies: If the application is administratively deficient, the

commissioner shall inform the applicant of the deficiencies and give the

applicant thirty (30) days starting the day the notice is placed in the United

States mail to correct the deficiencies. Applications that remain deficient

after the thirty (30) day period shall be deemed denied by the commissioner and

returned to the applicant.

6.5 Review: When

an application is deemed administratively complete, the commissioner shall

review the information supplied to determine if the application complies with

all parts of this rule.

6.6 Site

Inspection: Prior to final approval, the commissioner, or the commissioner's

designee, shall conduct a site inspection. The inspection shall ensure that all

parts of this rule have been verified, including the absence of white-tailed

deer or moose within the hunting facility enclosure. Any animals subject to

this rule may not be added to the premises prior to inspection and approval.

6.7 Issuance: If

the application has been deemed complete by the commissioner, the site

inspection has revealed no deficiencies, and the commissioner has found that

the applicant is in full compliance with this rule, a permit shall be issued and

a facility identification number will be assigned for future correspondence and

reporting purposes.

6.8 Denial: If

the application is denied, the commissioner shall, within thirty (30) days,

provide a written denial providing the reasons why the application was denied.4


=fn  4 See Section 8.0 of this

rule regarding appeals of a denial. 

6.9 Term:

Subject to full compliance with this rule, a permittee may apply for a renewal

every three years.

7.0 Permit


7.1 Grounds for

Revocation: The commissioner may revoke any permit issued for failure to comply

with the provisions of this rule or when there is an imminent threat of a

disease from the facility to any wildlife species of the state.


Notification: If the commissioner finds that a facility permitted under this

rule is in violation of the rules promulgated by the board or the provisions of

Part 4 of Title 10 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated, or there is an imminent

threat of disease from the hunting facility to any wildlife species of the

state, then the commissioner shall notify the permittee in writing of the

intent to revoke the permit.

7.3 Opportunity

to Cure: A permittee found out of compliance with Sections 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3 of

this rule will have thirty (30) days from the date of notification to cure the


7.4 Proceeding:

Notwithstanding the license revocation in accordance with 10 V.S.A. § 4502,

under Section 7.1 of this rule, the commissioner shall, prior to permit

revocation, provide a proceeding consistent with 3 V.S.A. § 814(c).

7.5 Emergency

Revocation: If the department finds that the public health, safety, or welfare

imperatively requires emergency action, or there is an imminent threat to any

wildlife species of the state, and incorporates a finding to that effect in its

order, summary suspension of a license may be ordered pending proceedings as

described above.

8.0 Appeals


10 V.S.A. § 4502, any person aggrieved by the commissioner's finding, order or

revocation under this rule may appeal to the superior court in Washington


9.0 Facility


9.1 Following

permit revocation, or permit abandonment, captive animals within enclosures

shall not be released from facilities.

9.2 All imported

animals and their offspring shall be subject to the requirements of 5.2 and 5.4

of this rule5. Thereafter, animals may be removed from the enclosure, or

continue within the enclosure and subject to the jurisdiction of the agency of

Agriculture, food and markets.


=fn  5 That is, all animals must

be identified and tested prior to being introduced into any other population or


9.3 Depopulated

facilities shall have at least 1/10 of perimeter fencing removed from all sides

to allow passage of wild animals in addition to the removal of all corner

fencing of the enclosures. Exceptions to this clause will be made for CWD

and/or tuberculosis-positive facilities at the discretion of the department in

accordance with most recent scientific evidence for environmental resilience of

CWD and/or tuberculosis pathogens.

10.0 Compliance

of Existing Facilities

10.1 All

existing facilities must receive a permit under this rule within one year of

its adoption or will be deemed out of compliance with this rule and subject to

the penalties allowed by law.

10.2 Hunting

facilities found operating without a valid permit shall be deemed out of

compliance with rule and subject to the penalties allowed by law. (Added 2009,

Fish and Wildlife Board Reg., eff. Jan. 4, 2009.)