Source: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Go to Outdoors Hunting Section

Go to Outdoors Section


Spacer

Spacer

Virginia Hunting Regulations

Hunting Licenses and Permits

Licenses

All persons, with the following exceptions, must purchase the proper licenses before hunting or trapping:

  • Landowners, their husband or wife, children and minor grand-children do not need a license to hunt, trap or fish within the boundaries of their now lands and inland waters.
  • Tenants, on the land they rent and occupy, are not required to have a license, but must have the written permission of the landowner.
  • Residents 65 years of age and over do not need a license to hunt or trap on private property in their county of residence.

Everyone, including those exempted above, choosing to take more than 3 deer per license year on private land, must purchase and use bonus deer permits or use special permits (DCAP and DMAP) which are valid only on private land.

  1. Those entitled to buy resident licenses are:
  2. Persons who have physically resided in the city, county or state for six consecutive months immediately preceding the date of application for license
  3. Persons who have been domiciliary residents of the state for at least two months upon approval of a completed affidavit to be furnished by the Game Department
  4. Legal voters
  5. Members of the armed forces if they reside in the Commonwealth and are on active duty and are stationed at military installations within, or on ships based in the Commonwealth
  6. Students residing in Virginia who are enrolled in bonafide Virginia schools
  7. Unnaturalized owners of real property in Virginia who have resided in a county for 5 years immediately prior to making application for a license may apply for resident licenses only in the county where they qualify.

Every person of whom a license is required must carry such license and shall show the same immediately upon demand of any officer whose duty it is to enforce the game and inland fish laws, or upon the demand of any owner or lessee, or any employee or representative of such owner or lessee, upon whose land or water such person may be hunting, trapping or fishing.

Note: All waterfowl hunters with or without a hunting license must purchase a federal waterfowl stamp, except those under 16 year of age.

Mandatory Hunter Education Requirements

The following persons are required to present a hunter education certificate in order to purchase a hunting license:
  • All persons who are 12-15 years of age
  • All persons who are 16 years of age or older who have never been issued a hunting license

Persons who may be issued a hunting license without presenting a hunter education certificate are:

  • Any person 16 years of age or older who presents a previously issued hunting license.*
  • Any person 16 years of age or older who certifies that he or she has held a previously issued hunting license by signing the license carrier.
  • Any person under the age of 12.**
  • Any person while on horseback hunting foxes with hounds, but without firearms.

*Virginia accepts and recognizes all states and countries hunting licenses and hunter education credentials for the purpose of complying with mandatory hunter education requirements. These may be in the form of an identification card or certificate.

**Youngsters (under the age of 12) must be accompanied and directly supervised by a parent, legal guardian or an adult (designated by the parent or guardian) when hunting. The supervising adult must possess a valid Virginia hunting license.

License Year
Licenses and permits are good from July 1 through June 30. This period constitutes a "license year" as referred to in seasons and bag limits.

Fees
A $.50 issuance fee will be added to each license

Resident License Fees

Lifetime license to hunt (bear, deer, turkey license and all special stamps are required in addition to this license): $250

County or city resident to hunt in county or city of residence: $5

State resident to hunt statewide: $12

State resident junior to hunt statewide (15 years and under): $7.50

State resident bear, deer, turkey license to hunt bear, deer and turkey statewide required in addition to county or state hunting license, or senior citizen or lifetime license: $12

State resident junior bear, deer, turkey license to hunt bear, deer and turkey statewide (15 years and under) required in addition to state resident junior hunting license: $7.50

Total and permanently disabled resident special lifetime license to hunt only (bear, deer, turkey license and all special licenses are required in addition to this license: $5

Total and permanently Disabled Veteran resident lifetime license to hunt and fish: $5

Senior citizen resident (age 65 and over) license to hunt (bear, deer, turkey license and all special stamps are required in addition to this license): $1

Senior citizen resident (age 65 and over) license to trap: $1

State resident muzzleloading license to hunt statewide: $12

State resident archery license to hunt statewide: $12

Damage stamp to hunt deer and bear in Floyd, Highland, Rockbridge, and Scott counties, in addition to other licenses, and sold only by the clerks of those counties: $1

County or city resident to trap in county or city of residence: $10

State resident to trap statewide: $35

Resident bonus deer permit (2 tags) valid only on private lands in counties and cities where deer hunting is permitted: $12

Nonresident License Fees

State nonresident lifetime license to hunt: $500

State nonresident to hunt statewide: $60

State nonresident 3-day trip license to hunt statewide: $30

State nonresident muzzleloading license to hunt statewide: $25

State nonresident bear, deer, turkey license to hunt deer, bear and turkey statewide, required in addition to hunting license: $60

State nonresident archery license to hunt statewide: $25

State nonresident damage stamp to hunt deer and bear in Floyd, Highland, Rockbridge and Scott counties: $5

State nonresident to hunt on shooting preserves: $12

State nonresident license for trapping: $150

State nonresident bonus deer permit (2 tags) valid only on private lands in counties and cities where deer hunting is permitted: $25

Miscellaneous Fees

National forest permit to hunt, fish or trap on national forests, required in addition to hunting license (holders of senior citizen license excepted): $3

Permit to hunt or trap on Appomattox-Buckingham, Cumberland-Prince Edward and pocahontas State Forests (sold by the Dept. of Forestry and local license agents) may be obtained from Forest Headquarters: $10

Federal migratory bird hunting stamp to take migratory waterfowl, required of persons 16 years of age and over in addition to hunting license and sold at U.S. Post Offices: $15

Virginia migratory waterfowl stamp (voluntary): $5

Hunting Hours

  • One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset for nonmigratory birds and game animals except during spring gobler season
  • One-half hour before sunrise until 12 noon, during spring gobler season.
  • Bobcat, foxes, raccoons, and opossums may be hunted by day or night during authorized seasons.
  • Migratory game birds, waterfowl, and special resident goose¾see special pamphlets for hunting these species.

Blaze Orange Requirements

Every hunter or person accompanying a hunter during a general firearms deer season, except those listed below, shall wear a blaze orange hat or blaze orange upper body clothing that is visible from 360 degrees or display at least 100 square inches of solid blaze orange material at shoulder level within body reach and visible from 360 degrees. Blaze orange is not required during the special muzzleloading deer season(s). Waterfowl hunters, individuals participating in hunting dog field trials and fox hunters on horseback without firearms are not required to wear blaze orange.

Lands: Federal Refuges

Chincoteague
Deer may be hunted during the archery season by permit obtainable at refuge headquarters. Firearms hunting is scheduled from a limited number selected by drawing. For details write Refuge Manager, Box 62, Chincoteague, Virginia 23336.

Presquile
Some gun and bow hunting available. Hunters selected by drawing. Bowhunters must qualify before being eligible for drawing. For details, write Refuge Manager, Box 620, Hopewell, Virginia 23860.

Dismal Swamp
Some deer hunting is permitted. For details write Refuge Manager, Box 349, Suffolk, Virginia 23434.

Back Bay
Some deer hunting is permitted. For details write Refuge Manager, 4005 Sandpiper Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456.

Eastern Shore Some deer hunting is permitted. For details writer Refuge Manager, 5003 Hallett Circle, Cape Charles, Virginia 23310.

State Parks
Hunting is allowed in designated areas of Pocahontas, Occoneechee, Fairy Stone, Sailor’s Creek Battlefield and Grayson Highlands State Parks. Controlled hunts are held at Caledon State Natural Area, Chippokes, False Cape and York River State Parks. Contact the parks for more information. Loaded weapons are not allowed in state parks outside these designated areas.

National Parks
Hunting is prohibited in all national parks.

National Forest-Game Department Regulations

It shall be unlawful to have in possession a bow or gun which is not unloaded and cased or dismantled, in the national Forests and on Department-owned lands and on lands managed by the Department under cooperative agreement except during the period when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey, and waterfowl, in all counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and on national Forest lands east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and migratory game birds in all counties east of the Blue Ridge.

It shall be unlawful to possess or transport a loaded gun in or on any vehicle at any time on National Forest lands or Department-owned lands. "Loaded gun" shall be defined as a firearm in which ammunition is chambered or loaded in the magazine or clip, when such magazine or clip is found engaged or partially engaged in a firearm. The definition of a loaded muzzleloading gun will include a gun which is capped or has a charged pan.

The word "possession" shall include, but not be limited to, having any bow or firearm in or on one’s person, vehicle or conveyance.

It shall be unlawful to chase with a dog or train dogs on National Forest lands or Department-owned lands except during authorized hunting, chase or training seasons that specifically permit these activities.

Access Roads -- Hunter access roads on Department lands normally open to motor vehicles will be open as indicated (weather permitting): Statewide: 1st Saturday in October to 2nd Saturday in February and 1stt Saturday in April to 3rd Saturday in May.

Any motor driven vehicle using roads normally open to motor vehicle on Department and National Forest lands shall conform with all state laws for highway travel. No cross country travel is permitted. All terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-road vehicle (ORV) travel is permitted only on designated National Forest roads and trails.

Foot travel is invited on roads closed to motor vehicles.

Structure -- It is unlawful to construct, maintain, or occupy any permanent structure, except by permit, on Department-owned lands and National Forest lands. It is unlawful to maintain any temporary dwelling on Department-owned land for more than 14 consecutive days. Persons constructing or occupying such structures are responsible for complete removal of temporary structures. Tree Stands -- It is unlawful to construct, maintain or occupy any permanent tree stand on Department-owned lands and National Forest lands. Portable tree stands, which are not permanently affixed, may be used.

Camping Policy -- Except as otherwise posted, primitive camping is permitted on Department-owned lands. Camping is prohibited on or within 100 yards of any Department-owned or controlled boat ramp or fishing lake. On the George Washington/Jefferson National Forest camping for more than 21 consecutive days without having terminated Forest occupancy for a minimum of 10 days within a 31 day time period is prohibited.

Hunting on Private Property

It is unlawful to hunt on private property without the permission of the landowner.

Hunters must have permission to track or retrieve wounded game onto private property.

Posted Property: It is unlawful to hunt on posted property without written permission of the landowner.

Landowners may post their property by any of the following methods:

  • Using a paint mark of aluminum paint consisting of a vertical line of at least two inches in width and at least eight inches in length, no less than three feet and not more than six feet from the ground or normal water surface and visible when approaching the property.
  • Signs which specifically prohibit hunting, fishing or trespassing on the property.
Property not posted: It is unlawful to hunt any unposted property without permission of the landowner and is punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Back to the top

Spacer

WashingtonPost.com
Navigation image map
Home page Site Index Search Help! Home page Site Index Search Help!