Hunters embarking on their first deer season are encouraged to take advantage of Vermont’s second annual novice weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 23 and 24.
Novice weekend is designed to give teenagers and adults who are new to hunting a chance at the same mentored experience that many younger hunters receive during Vermont’s concurrent youth deer hunting weekend, which is three weeks before the opening day of the regular rifle deer hunting season in November.
It is also a chance for seasoned hunters to share their knowledge of deer behavior and hunting, woods craft, and to pass on safe hunting practices and responsible behavior. During the 2020 novice weekend, 1,062 new hunters harvested 126 deer with support from their experienced hunter mentors.
“We know that new hunters, especially new adult hunters, are more successful when they have strong social support like a reliable hunting mentor,” says Nicole Meier, hunter education program coordinator. “The importance of mentorship to the future of hunting cannot be overstated.”
To be eligible for Novice Weekend, new hunters must be 16 years of age or older; have successfully completed a hunter education course; have purchased their first hunting license or hunting and fishing combination license within one year of the first day of novice weekend; possess a free novice weekend tag in addition to their hunting license; and be accompanied by an unarmed adult, 18 years or older, who holds a Vermont resident hunting license or hunting and fishing combination license.
Details on each of these requirements, and additional guidance, can be found on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s novice weekend web page.
New hunters who are interested in novice weekend can contact the Hunter Education Program staff with questions by phone at (802) 828-1193 or by email at HunterEducation@vermont.gov.”