A measure that would allow sportsmen in the Green Mountain State to use suppressors while harvesting game is headed to Vermont Gov. Phil Scott.

The proposal, S.281, was ordered delivered to Governor by the state Senate this week after a prior 89-49 approval from the Vermont House. The bipartisan bill, originally relating to hunting coyotes with dogs, was amended during its trip through the legislature to tweak state suppressor laws with the blessing of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. 

The effort to pass the bill was spearheaded by state Rep. Patrick Brennan, R-Chittenden, co-chair of the Vermont Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, the lawmaker who helped legalize suppressors in the state in 2015, scuttling a 103-year ban on the items. 

"For the past seven years, law-abiding citizens in Vermont have enjoyed suppressor ownership, but their use has been restricted to sport shooting at ranges only," said Brennan in a statement. "With the passage of S. 281, Vermont outdoorsmen and women finally have the ability to protect their hearing and the hearing of the youth hunting community as well. This bill was a long time in the works, but it has finally come to fruition thanks to the cooperation of many, most especially the Department of Fish and Wildlife and its Commissioner."

According to the American Suppressor Association, at least 40 states have already codified the right to use suppressors while hunting. The organization, the trade and advocacy group for the American suppressor industry, points out there are many benefits to using a suppressor in the field including hearing protection and safer hunting due to the fact that many sportsmen eschew the use of ear protection in the field, a reduction in noise complaints from those who live near hunting lands, and an increase in accuracy which translates to more humane hunts.

Once signed by Scott, the new law will take effect on July 1, just in time for this fall's hunting season. 

Statistics published by federal regulators put the number of NFA-registered suppressors in Vermont at 3,528 as of May 2021, the most current data available. 

Banner image: A Marlin M1895 in .45-70 fitted with a SilencerCo Hybrid 46M suppressor.