In May 2008, Bill Hickok and Roy Kilburn submitted two petitions to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board about starting an archery-only moose season. Charlie Palmer, an avid bowhunter, and Cedric Alexander, lead moose biologist for the Fish and Wildlife Department, had promoted an archery-only season for years. In March 2010, a formal proposal for a special season was presented to the Fish and Wildlife Board and was defeated, but it was reintroduced and in February 2011 it passed. A short time later the Vermont Bowhunters Association was founded.

In 2012, VBA submitted a petition to the F&W Board to extend the bowhunting season from a start date of September 15 to an end date of December 15. That proposal was only partly realized with the addition of five days, but in the new 10 Year Big Game Management Plan adopted by the F&W Department, they have reconsidered their position. The bowhunting season now runs from October 1 through December 15 and is only closed during the regular gun season. This marks the first time that we can hunt during the “chase phase” of the rut. There are other changes as well that give us even more opportunities, such as a special early bow season in urban areas with high concentrations of deer.

The VBA is in large part responsible for these changes, as over the last few years we have fostered a good working relationship with the Department and Board and have helped their understanding of how important a tool bowhunting can be. We must remember, however, that the three-year test period of these new rules ends in 2022. The Board and Department will be reviewing the new rules in the coming months and seeking input from concerned parties. This is a major focal point for the VBA in 2023 and we need all of our membership to chime in and let us know your experiences with the new rules.

We have petitioned the F&W Board for a youth archery season, and have also started a conversation about a special bear baiting season. Unfortunately, there isn’t currently enough support for either of these initiatives, but we will continue to advocate for them.
We are happy to be sending two youths between the ages of 12 and 15 to their choice of conservation camps in the summer, either Buck Lake Camp in Woodbury or Kehoe Camp in Castleton.

We have several events throughout the year to promote our sport. We have Open Houses at various clubs and sporting goods store throughout the state. The VBA sponsors our Annual Shoot, which in the past was held in Morrisville at Lamoille Valley Fish and Game Club and before that at Whistling Arrow Archery Club in East Montpelier. We are looking for another location for 2023. We also hold an additional shoot at a roving location that moves around the state. In past seasons it was held in St. Johnsbury at the Caledonia Sportsman’s Club and Bennington at Catamount Bow Hunters. VBA will also be presented again at the Yankee Sportsman’s Classic.
All event dates and times are currently in the planning process and we hope to announce details early in 2023. Every year we produce the Green Card that has dates, times, and locations of various shoots throughout the state.

So, what’s the VBA doing for you? As always, the VBA is working toward improving the bowhunting experience for all bowhunters by continuing to advocate for issues that are important to bowhunters and archers throughout the state. In essence, we’ve got your back, and we’re paying attention to the forces that can affect bowhunting and archery in good and bad ways. Every person that joins the VBA makes our voice stronger. Membership has its benefits. Whether you’re on your stand October 1 or the December 15 or any day in between, you’ll know that you helped make it possible. Please contact us for more about what the VBA is doing for you and how you can take part!