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Waterfowl Species

geese Get a HIP Registration Number »

Migratory Waterfowl laws are currently available in the Department Web Library. Waterfowl seasons are set annually in accordance with migratory bird hunting frameworks established by the federal government and will be posted here when available.

The September Canada goose season and Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend are announced in late July. The regular waterfowl seasons, as well as webless migratory gamebirds (woodcock and snipe) are announced in late August. Please check for these season dates at that time. A syllabus of migratory game bird regulations will be available in early September at Vermont hunting license agents, Federal post offices, Vermont Fish and Wildlife offices and on this web site.

Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP)
If you are hunting migratory game birds, federal law requires you to register with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP). Migratory game birds include ducks, geese, brant, coots, snipe, and woodcock. Federal and Vermont migratory waterfowl stamps are also needed to hunt ducks or geese.

waterfowl zone map Waterfowl hunters will find some surprisingly good hunting in Vermont. To maximize hunting opportunities, Vermont is divided into three waterfowl zones: the Lake Champlain Zone, which includes Lake Champlain and the adjoining Champlain Valley lowlands in Vermont and New York, the Connecticut River Zone which includes the Connecticut River and narrow portions of Vermont and New Hampshire and the Interior Vermont Zone, which includes the remainder of Vermont. A printable map with complete descriptions of these zones is available.

During the October portion of duck season, most hunting is for "puddle ducks" on shallow-water marshes, beaver flows, ponds and rivers. The most common species are mallards, wood ducks, black ducks and greenwing teal. As the season progresses and marshes begin to freeze in November, open-water hunting for migrating "diving ducks" on Vermont's larger lakes swings into full gear. Goldeneyes, lesser and greater scaup, and buffleheads are the most common diving ducks. Excellent hunting for goldeneyes and late-migrating mallards and black ducks can often be had from mid-November through the close of the season in December.

Both Canada geese and snow geese are frequently encountered in areas with farm fields that provide food in the form of waste grains and green grasses. Snow goose seasons are liberal, reflecting the record number of snow geese in the Atlantic Flyway. Canada goose hunting is available during September and again from late October through November.

The best waterfowl hunting opportunities are in the Champlain Valley, where numerous public wetlands and private farmland provide excellent hunting for ducks and geese. Elsewhere, good waterfowl hunting can also be had in the Northeast Kingdom on and along Lake Memphremagog and its tributary rivers.


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