New deer hunters encouraged to participate in Novice Weekend

MONTPELIER, Vt. – Hunters embarking on their first deer season are encouraged to take advantage of Vermont’s second annual novice weekend.

Novice weekend this year is Saturday, Oct. 23 and Sunday, Oct. 24. To be eligible for this opportunity, 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,
  • 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 webpage.

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. It is also a chance for seasoned hunters to share their knowledge of deer behavior and hunting, woodcraft, 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 Hunter Education Program Coordinator Nicole Meier. “The importance of mentorship to the future of hunting cannot be overstated.”

New hunters who are interested in novice weekend can contact Hunter Education Program staff with questions by phone at 802-828-1193 or by email at

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