Vermont | States | Outdoor Channel
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Seek Vermont - A Guide to Hunting, Freshwater and Ice Fishing

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is one of three departments in the Agency of Natural Resources. We are primarily funded by hunting and fishing license fees plus federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment and boating fuels.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has a history that extends back to 1866 when the Legislature appointed a Board of Fish Commissioners. A decade later this Board was given authority over game birds and mammals, and in 1892 the Board of Fish Commissioners was renamed the Fish and Game Commission.

These actions were the culmination of increasing public concern about fish, wildlife and their habitats. Since the state's settlement, many species had declined in abundance because of unrestricted harvests, poorly enforced laws and habitat loss. By the 1850's only 25% of Vermont was covered by forest due to extensive land clearing for farming. Today, almost 80% of the state is covered by forest, and many wildlife species have been restored.

Even though the initial focus was on game fish and animals and associated recreation, department personnel have always had a commitment to all fish and wildlife species. This was formally recognized in 1983 when the department's name was changed from Fish and Game to Fish and "Wildlife." The department is responsible for the conservation of wildlife in its broadest sense; 41 species of reptiles and amphibians, 89 species of fish, 193 species of breeding birds, 58 species of mammals, more than 15,000 insect species, and 2,000 higher plant species, plus fungi, algae, and 75 different types of natural communities.

The department is currently staffed by 130 individuals, with most working out of seven offices and five fish culture facilities. The job duties of these men and women are diverse and include such things as collecting fish and wildlife population data, protecting important wildlife habitat, raising fish, enforcing laws, developing educational materials and providing customer service through the mail and over the phone. The department owns 156 fishing access areas and 85 wildlife management areas totaling more than 133,000 acres and two youth conservation camps. The department's annual budget totals approximately 13 to14 million dollars which is primarily funded by user-based fees such as license and excise taxes on gasoline and on hunting and fishing equipment.

The department's mission is "the conservation of fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the people of Vermont." Other challenges include providing quality fish and wildlife -based recreation and reaching Vermonters with the best possible information about these resources.

Assisted by public input, the department recently developed a Strategic Plan to help direct its activities. This plan will steer the department in a common direction consistent with its mission, serving as a "contract" with the public on the types of work to be done. It also helps by prioritizing human and financial resources in the midst of staffing and funding constraints.


For more information about Vermont:

Official State Travel/Tourism Web Site:

Vermont Fish and Wildlife:

State bird: Hermit Thrush

State flower: Red Clover

State fruit: Apple



State agencies often require licenses, permits or certifications for a wide range of activities impacting fish, wildlife and boater safety. States work to prevent overcrowding and control the harvest of game on wildlife management areas. The links below will help you find license and permit information, and how to apply.