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MONTPELIER — Hunters embarking on their first deer season are encouraged to take advantage of Vermont’s third annual novice weekend.

Novice weekend this year is Saturday, Oct. 22 and Sunday, Oct. 23. 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

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Be accompanied by an unarmed adult, 18 years or older, who holds a Vermont resident hunting license or hunting and fishing combination license

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, woodscraft, and to pass on safe hunting practices and responsible behavior. During the 2021 novice weekend, 530 new hunters harvested 54 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.”

The department invites new hunters who are interested in novice weekend to contact our Hunter Education Program with questions. The Hunter Education Program can be reached by phone at 802-828-1193 or by email at Hunter Education@vermont.gov.