Virginia Deer Hunting Laws and Regulations

Virginia Deer HuntingVirginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

4010 West Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23230
Phone: 804-367-1000
Email: dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov
Website: www.dgif.virginia.gov

Virginia Deer Impact, Ecology and Populations

There are an estimated 1 million Deer state wide. The economic impact of Virginia deer hunting is estimated to be $700 million annually. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries  is in charge of monitoring deer regarding numbers, managed hunts, enforcing laws and regulations. They monitor the balance of deer in relation to economic, ecological and safety needs of the state. They implement programs designed to control the deer population. Damage from deer includes farm crops, plant extinction, forest damage, yard damage, plant extinction, forest damage car accidents and the spread of disease. They monitor the deer population for diseases such as Chronic Wasting disease, Epizootic Hemorrhagic disease, Tuberculosis, Lyme disease and Parasites. Deer-auto collisions have averaged at 38,000 per year over the past 4 years with 2 deaths per year and 400 injuries connected to deer-vehicle accidents yearly. The average annual Virginia deer harvest over the past 10 years has been 225,000 per year.

Virginia Deer Hunting Laws & Regulations

All Virginia deer hunting must be conducted while possessing a valid and current hunting license. It is illegal to use food, salt, or minerals to feed or attract deer from September 1 through January 7, statewide.  It is illegal to feed deer at any time in  Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties and in the City of Winchester. There are specific seasons in different regions of the state. There are specific rules for hunting Antlered and Antlerless Deer.

All hunters (unless they have an exemption) are required to validate a tag on there deer at the place of kill prior to moving the deer. You must take an approved hunter education course, pass and carry your certificate while hunting if you are 12-15 years of age. or if you are 16 years and older and are hunting with your first hunting license. It is unlawful to hunt deer with dogs, except that dogs may be used to track wounded or dead deer.

It is unlawful to do the following while Virginia deer hunting: Discharge a firearm or archery tackle in or across or within the right-of-way of any public road.Cast a light attached to a vehicle or from a vehicle beyond a roadway upon places used by deer without written permission of the landowner or at anytime while in the possession of a rifle, shotgun, pistol, archery tackle, or speargun. Handle any firearm in a reckless manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. Shoot or attempt to take any wild bird or animal from any vehicle, except as otherwise provided by law.
Kill or attempt to kill any deer while in a boat or other type of watercraft. Hunt with arrows to which any drug, chemical, or toxic substance has been added or explosive-head arrows. Use radio tracking equipment, except on dogs or on raptors permitted by a falconry permit, to aid in the chase, harvest or capture of wildlife.

Blaze Orange Requirements during the firearms and youth deer days must wear specific colors and specifications (www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/general.asp)

There are different areas to hunt. (www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/publiclands.asp#pals) Department Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) maintain 39 areas of over 200,000 acres.  Some National Forests have designated hunting areas and seasons. Some Federal Refuges allow for Virginia deer hunting. Public Access Lands For Sportsmen (PALS) offers 19,000 acres of private land in Dickenson County to public hunting, fishing and trapping.

Virginia Deer Hunting Season

Hunting Hours

Hunting is not allowed on Sundays. In hunting season you can hunt from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset

Quota Hunting

(www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/quotahunts)
Quota hunts are offered by random drawings. There is an application fee.

Managed Hunts

(www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/managedhunts)
Typically selected by on-site random drawings or by application through the local Resource Office.

Virginia Deer Hunting Licensing and Costs

Every person who is required to have a license must carry it during any Virginia deer hunting. A deer license is required in addition to a hunting license. A National Forest Stamp, State Forest Stamp, County Damage Stamp, and Bonus Deer Permits, if applicable, are also required. Archery License is required in addition to a hunting license if hunting with a bow and arrow Crossbow license is required in addition to a hunting license if hunting with a crossbow during any archery season. Muzzleloading license is required in addition to the hunting license if hunting with a muzzleloading firearm during any muzzleloader deer season. A trapping license is required to trap. There are Residency Qualifications and different rates for Non-Residents.

Website: www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/licenses.asp

Virginia Resident Hunting Licenses

Sportsman’s License (age 16 and older) $133.00
Hunting License (age 16 and older)  $23.00
County or City Hunting License (age 16 and older)
For county or city of residence only  $16.00
Bear, Deer, Turkey License (age 16 and older) $23.00
Archery License   $18.00
Crossbow License  $18.00
Muzzleloading License  $18.00
Resident Bonus Deer Permit (6 antlerless tags) $18.00
National Forest Permit $4.00
Virginia State Forest Use Permit $16.00

Virginia Deer Hunting – Conclusion

More details on Virginia deer hunting can be found at the following links:

Overview of Hunting: www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/
Overview of Hunting Deer: www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/deer.asp

For other hunting laws and regulations, please see our page of US Deer Hunting. We hope this information on Virginia deer hunting was useful, and that you continue to enjoy the sport.

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