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NO. 99. AN ACT RELATING TO WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT.

(H.764)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 4081(g) is amended to read:

(g) If the board finds that an antlerless season is necessary to maintain the health and size of the herd, the department shall administer an antlerless deer program. Any open season on antlerless deer shall be held following the regular deer season held pursuant to section 4741 of this title, except as provided in section 4086 of this title. Annually, the board shall determine how many antlerless permits to issue in each deer management district. For a nonrefundable fee of $10.00 for residents and $15.00 for nonresidents a person may apply for a permit. Each person may submit *[an unlimited number of applications. No person shall be issued more than one permit]* only one application for a permit. The department shall allocate the permits in the following manner:

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Sec. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 4084 is amended to read:

§ 4084. GAME

(a) Rules concerning wild game may:

(1) Establish open seasons, however, except as provided in section 4086 of this title, the open season for deer shall be as established under chapter 113 of this title;

(2) Establish daily, season and possession limits;

(3) Establish territorial limits for any rule under this subchapter;

(4) Prescribe the manner and means of taking any species or variety, and including reporting and tagging of game;

(5) Establish restrictions on taking based upon sex, maturity or other physical distinction of the species or variety pursued;

(6) Designate management districts for various species or varieties.

* * *

(c) After management districts have been established by the board under the authority of this section, the districts shall not thereafter be altered without approval of the general assembly; however, the board shall have authority to subdivide established districts. Thissubsection shall not apply to special management zones created under section 4086 of this title.

Sec. 3. 10 V.S.A. § 4086 is added to read:

§ 4086. SPECIAL DEER MANAGEMENT ZONE

(a) Following a public hearing held within an affected area, the board may establish by rule a special deer management zone to harvest locally overabundant deer which are:

(1) creating a hazard to human health or safety,

(2) causing substantial damage to property, or

(3) causing ecological damage.

(b) A rule adopted under this section shall establish the boundaries of the special deer management zone, authorize the taking of a specific number of antlerless or antlered deer within the zone, and establish a time and duration for a special season within the zone. A special season held under this section may be established for any time during the year.

(c) The board shall establish procedures for issuing of hunting permits for special zones. The process for issuing a permit shall include special consideration for a person who is a Vermont resident and who has an ambulatory disability as defined in subdivision 304a(a)(1) of Title 23, or who is a Vermont resident 65 years of age or older. The process may include charging of a fee for a permit application or for a permit. However, no person shall receive more than one permit for a special zone. Any deer harvested under this section shall be considered a deer taken under section 4753 of this title.

Sec. 4. 10 V.S.A. § 4252(10) is amended to read:

(10) a second archery license, which may only be purchased by a holder of an archery license, shall entitle the holder to take one wild antlerless deer, in addition to the number allowed to a holder of an archery license, with a bow and arrow pursuant to section 4744 of this title. This license shall be valid only during the twenty-three consecutive days commencing on the first Saturday in October.

Sec. 5. 10 V.S.A. § 4572(a) is amended to read:

(a) As used in this subchapter, a minor fish and game violation means:

(1) A violation of 10 V.S.A. § 4145 (violation of access and landing area rules);

(2) A violation of 10 V.S.A. § 4251 (taking wild animals and fish without a license);

(3) A violation of 10 V.S.A. § 4266 (failure to carry a license on person or failure to exhibit license); *[or]*

(4) A violation of 10 V.S.A. § 4267 (false statements in license application; altering license; transferring license to another person; using another person's license; or guiding an unlicensed person); or

(5) A violation of 10 V.S.A. § 4713 (tree or ground stands or blinds).

Sec. 6. 10 V.S.A. § 4701 is amended to read:

§ 4701. USE OF GUN, BOW AND ARROW; LEGAL DAY; DOGS

A person shall not take game except with a gun fired at arm's length or with a bow and arrow, unless otherwise provided. A person shall not take game between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise unless otherwise provided. A person may take game and fur-bearing animals during the open season therefor, with the aid of a dog, unless otherwise prohibited.

Sec. 7. 10 V.S.A. § 4705(c) is amended to read:

(c) A person while on or within ten feet of the traveled portion of a public highway shall not take or attempt to take any wild animal by shooting with a firearm or bow and arrow.

Sec. 8. 10 V.S.A. § 4713 is added to read:

§ 4713. TREE STANDS; GROUND BLINDS

(a) No person shall build, erect, maintain, use or occupy a permanent or portable tree stand or ground blind for any purpose on any private land in Vermont without landowner permission.

(b) A person building, erecting or maintaining a tree stand or ground blind shall permanently mark the stand or blind with the owner's name and address. Marking shall be legible and placed in a manner that enables a person to conveniently and easily read it.

Sec. 9. 10 V.S.A. § 4744(a) is amended to read:

(a) For the twenty-three consecutive calendar days commencing on the first Saturday in October, and the nine consecutive calendar days commencing on the first Saturday afterthe completion of the regular deer hunting season, a person may take by bow and arrow one wild deer anywhere in the state. During the period allowed after the end of the regular deer hunting season, only deer with antlers of three (3) inches or of greater length may be taken unless the board has established an antlerless deer season pursuant to section 4081 of this title. A person hunting under a second license pursuant to subdivision 4252(10) of this title may hunt only in management units designated by the board*[. The board shall determine if a person hunting under a second license]* and may take only an antlerless deer *[as well as antlered deer]*.

Sec. 10. 10 V.S.A. § 4829 is amended to read:

§ 4829. PERSON SUFFERING DAMAGE BY DEER OR BLACK BEAR

A person who suffers damage by deer to *[his]* the person's crops, fruit trees, or crop-bearing plants *[or shrubbery]* on land not posted against the hunting of deer, or a person who suffers damage by black bear to *[his]* the person's cattle, sheep, swine, poultry or bees or bee hives on land not posted against hunting or trapping of black bear is entitled to reimbursement for the damage, and may apply to the department of fish and wildlife within seventy-two hours of the occurrence of the damage for reimbursement for the damage.

Sec. 11. SUNSET; REPORT

(a) On or before January 15, 2003, the commissioner of fish and wildlife shall report to the senate committee on natural resources and energy and the house committee on fish, wildlife and water resources concerning the effectiveness of Sec. 3 of this act in controlling nuisance deer and shall recommend whether or not to repeal the sunset to that provision of law.

(b) 10 V.S.A. § 4086, relating to special deer management zones, is repealed on

July 1, 2003.

Sec. 12. 10 V.S.A. § 4261 is amended to read:

§ 4261. LOST LICENSE; CERTIFICATE

(a) A person who has lost a license other than a lifetime license *[or a permanent license]* may demand a lost license certificate from the agent of original issue. The fee shall be$5.00 which the agent may retain. If the agent of original issue is no longer selling licenses, the applicant may apply directly to the department.

* * *

Sec. 13. 10 V.S.A. § 4709(a) is amended to read:

(a) A person shall not bring into the state or possess any live wild bird or animal of any kind, unless, upon application in writing therefor, the person obtains from the commissioner a permit *[so]* to do so. The importation permit may be granted under such regulations therefor as the board shall prescribe and only after the commissioner has made such investigation and inspection of the birds or animals as she or he may deem necessary. The department may dispose of unlawfully imported wildlife as it may judge best, and the state may collect treble damages from the violator of this subsection for all expenses incurred.

Approved: April 16, 1998