A quiet walk down a hidden woods road, bright fall foliage coloring the canopy overhead and the crisp, cool air of an early morning — these are just some of the elements of a great Vermont upland gamebird hunting experience. Hoping to see the dramatic flush of a grouse or woodcock is, of course, another reason hunters try to get out into Vermont woodlands in the fall.
Vermont’s hunting season for ruffed grouse or “partridge,” is September 25-December 31 this year. The daily limit is 4 grouse with a possession limit of 8.
The Vermont woodcock hunting season is September 25 – November 8. The daily limit is 3 woodcock with a possession limit of 9. New this year, the season starts in conjunction with the traditional small game season opener.
Woodcock are often found in alders along brooks and near beaver ponds as well as in new-growth small timber where old fields are reverting to forest or recent timber harvests have occurred. Ruffed grouse also frequent the same habitat, and they are particularly fond of the apples they find under wild apple trees.
All migratory game bird (woodcock, common snipe, ducks, and geese) hunters must also be registered with the Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) in each state they hunt. You can register on Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s website or call toll-free 1-877-306-7091. After providing some basic information, you will receive your annual H.I.P. registration number, which is then recorded on your hunting license.
For more information on hunting in Vermont, be sure to get a copy of the 2021 Hunting & Trapping Guide and Syllabus of State and Federal Hunting Regulations for Migratory Game Birds in Vermont available free from license agents statewide and from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife website www.vtfishandwildlife.com.