Vt. wildlife officials propose new rules on trapping, killing coyotes

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 6:12 PM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2023 at 10:57 AM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont wildlife officials Wednesday announced new proposed limits on trapping and coyote hunting. Hunting critics have been pushing for the regulations for years, but they say the new policy falls short.

The proposed new hunting regulations come in response to two laws passed last year, Act 159 and Act 165.

“These regulations are becoming even stronger and we are improving the rules that we have to make it more humane,” said Brehan Furfey, the furbearer project leader for Vermont Fish and Wildlife.

The first regulation deals with trapping. Officials say they are eliminating the use of body-gripping traps on the ground unless specific safety measures are in place and putting new limits on where traps can be placed.

“Minimizing risk to any sort of bycatch or nontargets, minimizing risk to injury, minimizing risk to any pets,” Furfey explained. “Some examples of that are creating a buffer-- a safety buffer from roadways and trails that would be 50 feet.”

Officials are also proposing regulations for hunting coyotes with dogs, an area that currently has no rules.

“Basically, we are starting from scratch,” Furfey said.

All dogs will need to have GPS tracking and control collars. Hunters will also need permits and will be required to report any coyotes they harvest.

“This is an improvement because we didn’t have any rules. We needed to regulate the coyote with the use of dogs,” Furfey said.

But Brenna Galdenzi with the group Protect our Wildlife, was quick to condemn the proposal.

“These recommendations from Fish and Wildlife, we feel, fall short of offering any meaningful changes to wildlife,” Galdenzi said.

The group wants more humane protections for trapping.

“It leaves a lot of land where trappers can still set traps next to trails,” Galdenzi said.

Even though it creates rules for coyote hunting with dogs, Galdenzi says it’s nothing new.

“The changes that they are recommending, we believe, it’s what coyote hunters are already doing,” she said.

“We are trying to incorporate all the different points and opinions of the diverse people that we have in Vermont,” Furfey said.

There are public comment opportunities before the rules are voted on by the Fish and Wildlife Board.

Public comment will be accepted from May 17-June 30, 2023. Comments can be emailed to ANR.FWPublicComment@vermont.gov with the subject line “trapping and coyote regulations.”

Two in-person public hearings and one online public hearing will be held to provide additional opportunities for comment:

  • June 20, 2023, 6:30-8:30 p.m. - Rutland Middle School, 67 Library Avenue, Rutland Vt.
  • June 21, 2023, 6:30-8:30 p.m. - Montpelier High School, 5 High School Drive, Montpelier Vt.
  • June 22, 2023, 6:30-8:30 p.m. - Online via Microsoft Teams.

Following public comment, revisions by the department and a final vote by the board, the new regulations are expected to go into effect in January 2024.