(a) A person shall not bring into, transport into, transport within, transport through, or possess in the State any live wild bird or animal of any kind, including any manner of feral swine, without authorization from the Commissioner or his or her designee. The importation permit may be granted under such regulations therefor as the Commissioner shall prescribe and only after the Commissioner has made such investigation and inspection of the birds or animals as she or he may deem necessary. The Department may dispose of unlawfully possessed or imported wildlife as it may judge best, and the State may collect treble damages from the violator of this subsection for all expenses incurred.
(b) No person shall bring into the State from another country, state, or province wildlife illegally taken, transported, or possessed contrary to the laws governing the country, state, or province from which the wildlife originated.
(c) No person shall place a Vermont-issued tag on wildlife taken outside the State. No person shall report big game in Vermont when the wildlife is taken outside the State.
(d) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the Commissioner or duly authorized agents of the Department of Fish and Wildlife from bringing into the State for the purpose of planting, introducing, or stocking or from planting, introducing, or stocking in the State any wild bird or animal.
(e) Applicants shall pay a permit fee of $100.00.
(f)(1) The Commissioner shall not issue a permit under this section for the importation or possession of the following live species, a hybrid or genetic variant of the following species, offspring of the following species, or offspring or a hybrid of a genetically engineered variant of the following species: feral swine, including wild boar, wild hog, wild swine, feral pig, feral hog, old world swine, razorback, Eurasian wild boar, or Russian wild boar (Sus scrofo Linnaeus). A feral swine is:
(A) a domestic pig that is outside of an enclosure for more than 96 hours and is free roaming on public or private land;
(B) an animal that exhibits at least one of the following skeletal characteristics:
(i) skull characteristics of an elongated snout or sloping appearance with little or no stop at the eye line;
(ii) a shoulder structure with a steep or predominate ridge along the back appearance, known as a razorback;
(iii) hindquarters proportionally smaller than the forequarters lacking natural muscling found in commercial species; or
(iv) visible tusks; or
(C) an animal that is genetically determined to be a Eurasian wild boar or Eurasian wild boar-domestic pig hybrid as characterized with an appropriate genome-wide molecular tool.
(2) The definition of feral swine under subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not include feral swine collared and used by State or federal wildlife damage management entities, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, to determine the location of free-ranging feral swine.
(3) This subsection shall not restrict or limit the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets to regulate the importation or possession of the domestic pig as livestock or as a domestic animal under Title 6 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated. At the request of the owner of a domestic pig that is outside of its enclosure, the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets may assist the owner in capturing and confining the domestic pig. In providing assistance to the owner of a domestic pig under this subdivision (f)(3), the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets may request support or guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
(4) Any feral swine may be removed or destroyed by the Department; the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets or a designee; or the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services. The Department shall notify the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets prior to removal of or destruction of a feral swine as defined in subdivision (f)(1)(A) of this section.
(5) The Department shall notify the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets of the disposition of feral swine.
(6) Any person who kills a feral swine in Vermont shall report to a State game warden and shall present the carcass to the State game warden within 24 hours.
(7) The State or its designee shall not be liable for damages or claims associated with the removal or destruction of feral swine, provided that the actions of the State agents or designees are reasonable. The removal or destruction of feral swine shall be deemed reasonable where:
(A) the Department has acted in accordance with subdivision (4) of this subsection (f); and
(B) the Department determines that the swine:
(i) is a threat to public safety;
(ii) has harmed or posed a threat to any person or domestic animal;
(iii) has damaged private or public property; or
(iv) has damaged or is damaging natural resources, including wetlands; vernal pools; wildlife and their habitats; rare and irreplaceable natural areas; or rare, threatened, or endangered species; or
(v) the Department determines that the swine constitutes or could establish a breeding feral swine population in Vermont.
1961, No. 119, § 1; 1967, No. 46; 1973, Adj. Sess., No. 178, § 4; 1983, Adj. Sess., No. 158; 1991, Adj. Sess., No. 230, § 25; 1997, Adj. Sess., No. 99, § 13; 1997, Adj. Sess., No. 155, § 45; 2003, Adj. Sess., No. 163, § 16; 2013, No. 78, § 15, eff. June 7, 2013; 2017, Adj. Sess., No. 170, § 9, eff. July 1, 2018; 2019, Adj. Sess., No. 129, § 21, eff. July 1, 2020.