The Vermont Statutes Online
Vermont Fish and Wildlife Regulations
19. Rule governing the importation and possession of animals for taking by
1.1 This rule is
promulgated pursuant to 10 V.S.A. §§ 4081, 4082, and 4714.
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. §
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:
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
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.
"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
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
"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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For good cause shown, the commissioner may grant additional time for recapture
when a request for extension of time is submitted.
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
Elk or wapiti (
Cervus elaphus canadensis )
Red deer (
Cervus elaphus )
Fallow deer (
Dama dama )
boar ( Sus scrofa ferus )
Spanish goat (
Capra aegagrus hircus )
Mouflan sheep (
Ovis musimon )
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Documents: Documentation shall be made available to department personnel
immediately upon request.
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.
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.
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.
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
of the Facility and Operation
=fn 3 These requirements are
consistent with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Market's Rules
Governing Captive Cervidae (2006).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
g) Detail of the
two kinds of identification systems to be used at the facility as prescribed in
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.
showing the facility to be in compliance with all local, municipal, state and
federal licensing, zoning, taxation, and other applicable laws or regulations.
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
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.
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
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.
Subject to full compliance with this rule, a permittee may apply for a renewal
every three years.
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.
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
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).
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
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
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
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.
of Existing Facilities
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.
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.)