Documenting coyote baiting and hounding practices near Sutton, Vermont in February 2024.

Despite legislative objections to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board’s definition of control of hounds, the first regulated coyote hunting season with dogs ran from late January to the end of March 2024. Last fall, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (VFW) testified to the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) that more than the allotted 100 permits may be required in the state’s first regulated season of the controversial sport. Yet only forty-one permits were issued. Many licensed hounders reported not hunting during the season, while nine are in violation of the new rules for not submitting a mandatory take report by April 2, 2024. In a May 1st email VFW staff stated, “The wardens are actively following up with permit holders who have not complied with the report requirement.”

Total number of coyote dog permits issued in January 2024.

The statement comes just a week after VFW Commissioner Christopher Herrick testified to House legislators that Senate Bill 258, which would prohibit coyote baiting and hunting with dogs was unnecessary because the recently concluded season resulted in “…no landowner conflicts” Herrick did not comment on any suspected violations during the abbreviated season which started in January 2024 rather than December 2023 because of the objections filed by LCAR last year. A public records request by Vermont Wildlife Patrol revealed that while 41 permits were issued in person by VFW wardens, as of May 1st only 28 of the mandatory required reports had been returned to VFW as required by the new rules.


Mandatory reporting form that 9 of the 41 permitted hounders have not returned as of May 1st, 2024.

Wallingford, Vermont coyote hounder Terence Wilbur shared these photos on his Facebook page in 2022.

A total of 55 coyotes were reportedly killed by the 28 hound hunters reporting. While most hunters took only a few coyotes during the season, one East Fairfield licensed hounder reported killing 15 coyotes on nine separate hunts between February 3rd and March 23, 2024. This information comes as S.258 remains in the House Committee on Environment and Energy where it is awaiting a vote before the legislative session ends in mid-May.

Coyotes harvested by licensed hounder during 2024 season.

Vermont Wildlife Patrol is asking Vermonters to contact their House representatives and tell them you support a YES vote on S.258 before the season for coyote hunting dog training season begins on June 1st. 20% of the licensed hunters in the first regulated season failing to report their kills is reason enough to ban this controversial practice that is obviously impossible to regulate.

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