The 2023 Vermont moose hunt application period is open for applicants to apply. Go to https://vtfishandwildlife.com/node/344 for more information on Vermont moose hunting. Vermont has two different moose lotteries. The first lottery is for the archery hunt with dates of October 1-7, and the second lottery is for the regular season with dates of October 21-26. Any legal weapon may be used on the regular lottery hunt. For 2023, Vermont will again be offering 80 either-sex moose permits through the draw. The moose drawing will be held on July 20th.
Online applications must be completed by midnight on June 21, 2023. You only submit the application fees; you do not have to purchase your license or moose tag until you have drawn the permit. Paper applications are available upon request by calling 802-828-1190.
Up to 10% of the moose hunting permits may be issued to non-resident hunters. Permittees are selected through a computer-generated random drawing. Each applicant selected in the drawing is assigned their first choice, except when the permit quota for that unit has already been filled, in which case they will be issued their next available choice.
Successful applicants will be sent a winner’s packet within a few days of the drawing. The winner’s packet will include a Moose Hunter’s Guide, Moose Permit Form, and instructions for purchasing the permit. Successful applicants have 15 days to return the completed forms and fee to Vermont’s office. If the packet is not received by the deadline, you will forfeit your winning permit and it will be redrawn.
Vermont has a five-year waiting period after accepting a moose permit. Bonus points cannot be accrued during the five-year waiting period after accepting a moose permit.
For online applications, you may use Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. For paper applications, you must send a check or money order payable to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. All application fees are non-refundable.
Successful completion of a hunter education course is required for Vermont hunters of any age who haven’t previously held a hunting license.
While there is no legal requirement, the Vermont Fish and Game Department recommends that any person hunting with a firearm or bow during hunting season should wear hunter orange.
There is no minimum age to apply and hunt moose in Vermont as long as the hunter has passed a hunter safety class. There is no minimum age to apply for bonus points.
Starting in 2006, Vermont instituted a bonus point system for the regular lottery, and in 2011, they instituted a bonus point system for the archery lottery. Unsuccessful applicants accrue one point for each consecutive year they apply for each lottery. Each point translates to a chance in the drawing – the first year you apply, you have one chance in the lottery; in the second year, you have two chances; etc. Applicants lose all accrued points if they do not apply for the lottery for one year or if they accept a moose permit. You may apply for points only for $25 each for the regular lottery or the archery lottery. You may apply online or with a paper application.
In 2022, 1,385 non-residents applied for the 7 non-resident permits available in the regular lottery and 606 nonresidents applied for the single nonresident permit available in the archery lottery.
Vermont does not have any special youth moose tags.
To take a moose, a hunter may use the following: a centerfire rifle or centerfire handgun of not less than .25 caliber, a muzzleloading firearm of not less than .45 caliber with a minimum barrel length of 20" and designed to be fired from the shoulder, a muzzleloading pistol of not less than .45 caliber with a minimum barrel length of 10", a shotgun not less than 20 gauge with slugs, or a bow of not less than 50 pound draw weight and broadheads with 7/8" cutting width with two or more cutting edges. A crossbow may be used as a means of take by any person during any hunting season that permits the use of a bow and arrow. Proof of completion of bowhunter education will be needed for successful applicants and sub-permittees holding an archery moose season permit.
Vermont will auction off three moose hunting permits in the middle of summer to applicants who submit the highest bids through a written bid process. Anyone wanting a bid package may request one by calling 802-828-1190. Bids must be received at the Department’s central office prior to the deadlines established. If you held a moose permit in the last five years, you are not eligible to participate in the moose auction. Vermont does not offer landowner tags.
If you are successful in drawing a moose permit but do not want to go, you may decline the permit. If you choose to decline a permit, you will receive a bonus point for that year, you will not lose any accrued bonus points, and you will be able to apply the next year.
The Vermont Game Commissioner may grant a one-time, one-year deferment to successful moose applicants for reasons of personal or family illness, temporary disability, or military deployment.
Each hunter who is successful in drawing a moose tag may designate one person as a subpermittee to participate in the moose hunt. The subpermittee is a person who can hunt with the permittee, and either the permittee or the subpermittee can kill the moose. Only one moose can be killed per permit, so the permittee and subpermittee must be physically in the presence of each other so that they don’t both kill a moose. A moose permit winner is not allowed to change their sub-permittee unless for reasons of personal or family illness, temporary disability, or military deployment. The change must be approved by the Vermont Game Commissioner. No person who has held a Vermont moose permit in the last five years can be a subpermittee on another hunter’s permit. No person who draws a moose permit may be a sub-permittee on another hunter’s permit in the same year. No person may be the subpermittee on more than one hunter’s permit in the same year.
You must report your moose within 48 hours of harvest. Check stations will only be available during the regular season. To report a moose after the regular season is closed, you must arrange for a biologist to meet you. If you harvest a moose during the archery season, you must report it to Northern Wildlife Taxidermy. A list of check stations and big game reporting stations can be found on Vermont’s website. A registration form will be completed when you report your moose. You will be required to mark the exact location of the harvest on a USGS map.
The permittee must travel in the same vehicle as the moose during transport to the check station.
For more information on Vermont moose hunting, go to https://vtfishandwildlife.com/hunt/find-a-place-to-hunt.
Hunting on properly posted land is illegal without written permission. Timber companies own thousands of acres of land across Vermont, especially within the Northeast Kingdom. Most timber companies allow access to their private land. As a hunter, remember that you are a guest and it is a privilege to hunt their private land.
Vermont continues to battle with heavy winter tick loads in its core moose range. Calf survival rates have been hit especially hard with an estimation of half surviving their first winter. The Department believes that to improve the health of moose in northeastern Vermont, moose population reduction is necessary to break the winter tick cycle. Research shows that a moose population with less than one moose per square mile supports relatively few winter ticks that do not impact moose populations.
To help reach this objective, Vermont will offer a moose hunt for the third consecutive year. For 2023, 80 either-sex permits are proposed – 54 rifle permits, 20 archery permits, 3 auction permits, and 3 special opportunity permits. Another 100 antlerless-only permits are also proposed. All of these hunts will only take place in E1 and E2, which are Vermont’s most densely populated units. Vermont’s archery moose hunt will take place October 1-7, 2023. Nine permits will be issued for E1, and six will be issued for E2. Hunters who draw an archery tag will have a great chance at finding a big bull with their season dates hitting the peak of the rut.
The regular season rifle hunt will take place October 21-26, 2023 and will have 54 either-sex lottery permits available, 5 of which are set aside as veteran permits. Twenty-four of the permits will be for E1, and 15 will be for E2. In addition to the either-sex permits, there will be 24 antlerless-only permits drawn for E1A and another 16 drawn for E2A. During the regular season hunt, the rut will be winding down and you can expect to cover a lot of country to find a bull.
Last year, a total of 100 moose tags were awarded in E1 and E2 and success rates for each season and permit type were close to historical averages for these WMUs. Archery hunters were able to take advantage of relatively cool and rainy conditions over the first half of the season, and a few tags were notched on mid 50" bulls. One of these bulls was taken simultaneously by Dan Farrow and his subpermittee, Zach Alix, breaking 200" gross as well as Vermont’s prior archery state record. Overall, archery permit holders in E1 had a much easier time connecting on a bull than in E2. Archery hunters in E1 reported a 50% bull harvest, while E2’s hunters reported a 17% bull harvest in 2021.
Opening weekend of the regular rifle season was tough hunting with temps in the 70s limiting most moose activity. From there, conditions improved with several days of rain and cooler weather helping most either-sex hunters in finding a bull. Between E1 and E2, 57% of either-sex tags were filled on bulls. Unlike the archery hunts, E1 either-sex hunters saw lower bull harvest rates than those of E2 with 50% success in E1 and 69% in E2.
WMUs E1 and E2 are located in the northeast corner of Vermont and have traditionally been the best areas in the state for producing trophy bulls. An argument can be made for either unit being the better of the two, but the difference between the units is marginal. E1 has had more logging cuts along with a slightly better population density, making it a little easier to turn up a bull. On the other hand, E2 is not hunted as much, providing the possibility of turning up a big, mature bull as well. Over the past few seasons, the average bull harvested in E1 has been 37 1/8" wide, while E2’s average width has come in a little better at 38 2/8" wide. Seven of the 43 bulls harvested in E1 cleared the 50" mark, while 4 of the 25 bulls taken in E2 broke the same mark.
Most moose hunters hire a moose retrieval service to assist in getting their moose out of the woods. A contact list with Vermont-approved retrieval services will be mailed to you in your moose permit package if you are successful in drawing a permit. Vermont also has some great moose outfitters that are very reasonably priced if you are looking for a guided hunt. If you draw a tag and are looking for an outfitter, give us a call as we have Endorsed Outfitters in Vermont. While Maine and New Hampshire are better trophy-producing states, Vermont produces a few really good bulls every year. Opportunities to hunt Canadian moose are rare, and with the inexpensive application fees, make sure you get your name in the hat for the Vermont moose draw!