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NO. 30. AN ACT RELATING TO AN OMNIBUS FISH AND WILDLIFE ACT.

(H.557)

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

Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 4252(5) and (10) are amended to read:

(5) An archery license shall entitle the holder to take one deer by bow and arrow pursuant to section 4744 of this title.

(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. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 4744 is amended to read:

§ 4744. DEER; SPECIAL SEASON FOR TAKING BY BOW AND ARROW

CROSSBOW

(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 after the completion of the regular deer hunting season, a person may take by bow and arrow *[one]* up to two wild deer anywhere in the state, only one of which may have antlers of three inches or greater. *[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 and may take only an antlerless deer.]*

(b) A person holding a permit issued under 10 V.S.A. § 4711 which sets forth that person's inability to operate a standard bow may take by crossbow *[one]* up to two wild deer anywhere in the state under this section.

Sec. 3. 10 V.S.A. § 4254(b) and (c) are amended to read:

(b) Hunting licenses. A resident or nonresident hunting license *[or]* , combination fishing and hunting license or archery license may be issued to any person, provided that the applicant prior to issue first presents:

(1) a certificate of satisfactory completion of a Vermont hunter safety course, bow hunter education course as applicable, or an equivalent approved by the commissioner; or

(2) a certificate of satisfactory completion of a hunter safety course, or bow hunter education course as applicable, in another state or a province of Canada which is approved by the commissioner; or

(3) a hunting license, *[or]* a combination hunting and fishing license, or archery license, if applicable, issued for this state or any other state or a province of Canada and valid for any license year; or

(4) other satisfactory proof that the applicant has previously held a hunting, or combination hunting and fishing license or archery license, if applicable. A hunting license or archery license may be issued to a person under 16 years of age only with the written consent of the applicant's parent or legal guardian given in the presence of the agent issuing the license.

(c) The commissioner shall provide for a course of basic instruction in the safe handling of firearms, survival training and first aid training and a course in bow hunter education. For this purpose, the commissioner may cooperate with any reputable association, organization or agency, and he or she may designate any person found by him or her to be competent to give such instruction. A person satisfactorily completing the course of instruction shall receive from the instructor a certificate in evidence thereof. No fee shall be charged for a course of instruction provided under this subsection.

Sec. 4. 10 V.S.A. § 4711 is amended to read:

§ 4711. CROSSBOW HUNTING; PERMIT

A person who is impaired to the degree that he or she cannot operate a standard bow may obtain a permit to take game with a crossbow. The permit fees shall be $25.00 for a permanent permit and $5.00 for a temporary permit. A person applying for this permit must personally appear before the commissioner of fish and wildlife, or his or her designee, with certification from a licensed physician that he or she is so disabled. The commissioner may obtain a second medical opinion to verify the disability. Upon satisfactory proof of the disability, the commissioner may issue a permit under this section. The permit shall set forth whether it was issued because of an inability to use a standard bow, and be attached to the license. The holder of the permit shall carry it at all times while hunting, and produce it on demand for inspection by any game warden or other law enforcement officer authorized to make arrests.

Unless it is uncocked, a person shall not possess or transport a crossbow in or on a motor vehicle, motorboat, airplane, snowmobile, or other motor-propelled craft or any vehicle drawn by a motor-propelled vehicle except as permitted under subsection 4705(e) of this title.

Sec. 5. 10 V.S.A. § 4713(b) is amended to read:

(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 read it conveniently and easily *[read it]*. This subsection shall not apply to a landowner building, erecting or maintaining a tree stand or ground blind on his or her own land.

Sec. 6. 10 V.S.A. § 4714 is added to read:

§ 4714. IMPORTATION AND POSSESSION OF ANIMALS FOR

HUNTING

(a) A person shall not import or possess any live animal for the purpose of taking by hunting, unless the commissioner has issued the person an importation and possession permit. The fish and wildlife board shall adopt rules necessary to establish, implement and enforce the permit and permit process.

(b) An application for a permit shall be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection certifying that the animal has been inspected, is not showing signs of contagious diseases, and has been tested in accordance with rules of the commissioner of agriculture, food and markets. The commissioner of fish and wildlife may inspect animals being imported under an importation and possession permit and may dispose of unlawfully imported or possessed animals. The state may collect treble damages for expenses incurred in enforcing a violation of this subsection.

Sec. 7. 6 V.S.A. § 1151(2) is amended to read:

(2) "Animal" or "domestic animal" means cattle, sheep, goats, equines, fallow deer, red deer, reindeer, American bison, swine, poultry, pheasant, Chukar partridge, Coturnix quail, psittacine birds, ferrets, camelids, ratites (ostriches, rheas, and emus). The term shall include cultured trout propagated by commercial trout farms. However, an animal, including any of those listed in this subdivision, which is imported, possessed or confined for the purpose of hunting it, shall be a wild animal and regulated by the fish and wildlife board and commissioner of fish and wildlife under the provisions of part 4 of Title 10.

Sec. 8. LICENSE AGENTS; HUNTING WITH A CROSSBOW; MOOSE

SEASON; STUDIES

On or before January 15, 2000, 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 on the following:

(1) Recommendations for improving the system for using agents to sell fish and wildlife licenses. The commissioner shall consider:

(A) whether qualifications for license agents other than town clerks should relate solely to the applicant's ability to fiscally manage a license agency based on his or her credit history and record of convictions;

(B) whether to consider geographic dispersion of agents and the total number of agents that can be effectively managed;

(C) alternate sales methods; and

(D) how to shorten the time for processing an application to not more than 60 days.

(2) Procedures the commissioner uses for issuing and monitoring crossbow hunting permits and recommendations for improvements to the procedures.

(3) An assessment of the feasibility for changing moose season dates. The commissioner shall consider

(A) sound wildlife management practices;

(B) compliance with the 1998-2007 moose management plan; and

(C) other sporting seasons, outdoor activities, and the concerns of landowners.

Sec. 9. SCHEDULE OF FISH AND WILDLIFE FINES AND PENALTIES

The commissioner of fish and wildlife shall evaluate and recommend increased fines and penalties, establish waiver fines and penalties, and create a consolidated statutory fine and penalty section for violations of state fish and wildlife laws and regulations. In recommending appropriate fines and penalties, the agency shall take into consideration the presumed economic benefit to the violator, the harm to the impacted fish and wildlife of the state, the number of times the violator has violated the specific fish and wildlife law or regulation, and the amount of the waiver fines and penalties for violations of Title 23. The schedule shall follow the format used for snowmobiles and motorboats in sections 3207 and 3317 of Title 23. The secretary shall submit such draft legislation to the House and Senate Committees on Judiciary, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy and the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources by January 15, 2000.

Sec. 10. EFFECTIVE DATES

(a) Secs. 1 and 2 of this act, relating to taking of deer by bow hunters, and Sec. 4, relating to a crossbow hunting permit, shall take effect on January 1, 2000.

(b) Sec. 3 of this act, relating to a bow hunter education course for applicants for an archery license, shall take effect on January 1, 2001.

(c) The remaining sections of this act shall take effect on July 1, 1999.

Approved: May 19, 1999