Updates Related to COVID-19 »

The Radford Hunt: Frequently Asked Questions


The Radford Quota Hunt will NOT take place in 2020 due to ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Virginia and the United States. To reduce risk to public health and safety the Radford Hunt has been cancelled for 2020. Hunters who have applied to the Radford Hunt in 2020 will be automatically refunded their application fee. No Radford Hunt application points will be awarded in 2020. All Radford hunters’ and applicants’ points from 2018 and earlier will remain intact. The Department looks forward to resuming the Radford Hunt in the future.

Will the Radford Hunts be affected by COVID-19?

We are monitoring the situation with COVID-19 but do not know what circumstances will be in the fall. Our response and the Department of the Army’s response will be informed by state and federal guidance at that time. Because safety of the public, Department staff, and our Radford partners takes precedence over the Radford hunt opportunity, the Department may cancel or modify operational procedures of the hunt to maintain consistency with the Governor’s guidelines for group activities and social distancing. Applicants who are drawn to hunt will be notified of any changes or precautions that may be required due to the pandemic. For the latest information on closures, cancellations, or modifications to Department facilities and programs, please visit the “Updates Related to COVID-19” page.

How do I apply for the Radford Hunt?

You can apply for the Radford Hunt at GoOutdoorsVirginia.com (available July 1, 2020).

Phone and mail-in applications are no longer being accepted for any of the Department’s Quota Hunts.

What is the deadline for my application?

Your application must be received on or before JULY 31, 2020 to be included in the drawing.

Do I use both my DWR customer number and a Radford key number to apply?

Beginning in 2020 you use only your DWR customer number to apply. If you applied for a Radford hunt before 2016 you have a unique Radford key number. You will not enter your Radford Key Number on your 2020 application. However, it is a good idea to retain the number for your files.

What are the 2020 hunting season dates for the Radford Hunts?

  • October 17: Archery, antlerless only
  • October 24: Archery, either-sex
  • November 7: Shotgun, antlerless only (This is a special DPOP hunt, essentially the same as our regular season hunts)
  • November 14: Shotgun, either-sex
  • November 18: Shotgun, either-sex
  • November 21 Shotgun, either- sex
  • December 2: Shotgun, antlerless only
  • December 5: Shotgun, antlerless only

How many applications does DWR receive for the Radford hunts?

Between about 1,000 and 1,300.

How many hunters can hunt on an archery hunt?

50 for each hunt, maximum.

How many hunters can hunt on a shotgun hunt?

30 for each hunt, maximum.

Do I have to have a Hunter Safety Course in order to shotgun hunt at Radford?

Yes. Starting in 2008 the Department of Defense requires that anyone shotgun hunting on the facility must have taken a Hunter Safety Class at some time in the past.

NEW! Does the Radford Arsenal require hunters who are drawn to have a Background Check?

Yes. The Radford Arsenal Security staff will conduct a Background Check on all hunters who are drawn to hunt. In past years, hunters had to obtain and submit a background check from their State Police. Beginning in 2020, hunters will not have to obtain and submit a background check themselves. However, the Radford Arsenal Security staff will conduct an in-house background check on all applicants who are drawn to hunt. Only those who are drawn to hunt are required to have a check performed. You do not need to have a background check performed in order to apply for the hunt.

Department of the Army Security Statement: You may be prohibited from hunting on the Radford Army Ammunition Plant if you have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Recent conviction of other types of misdemeanors may also disqualify you from hunting on the installation depending on the nature of the misdemeanor conviction. For further information on Radford Security Policy only, contact 540-731-5787.

Do I have to participate in a doe hunt before I am allowed to apply for a buck hunt?

Yes. Hunters must alternate between antlerless (doe) and either-sex (buck) hunts. Your first hunt must be antlerless. Once you have participated in an antlerless hunt the next hunt you are qualified to apply for is an either-sex (buck) hunt. Once you have hunted an either-sex hunt, your next hunt must be antlerless again, and so on.

How does the “point system” for the computer drawing work?

Each year a hunter applies he/she is awarded one point. Points accumulate until a hunter is drawn to participate in a hunt. Once a hunter has participated in a hunt his/her points roll back to zero and the point accumulation process begins again with the next year’s application.

Why do you use a point system?

Each year between 1,000 and about 1,300 hunters put in for the Radford hunt. Using a point system ensures that each hunter who continues to apply will eventually get to hunt. The computer draws from those applicants who have the highest number of points first. Using a point system takes most of the “luck” factor out of the system.

Can I apply to hunt with a buddy?

Yes, you can apply with a co-applicant on the same application. When applying with a co-applicant for an either-sex hunt, BOTH applicants’ most recent hunt must have been for antlerless deer. When applying with a co-applicant for any hunt, standing for the drawing will be based on whichever of the two applicants has the lower number of points.

How old do I have to be to apply?

You must be at least 12 years old to apply to hunt at Radford.

Can I hunt at Radford if I am under the age of 18 on the day of my hunt?

Yes. However, hunters under the age of 18 on the day of their hunt must be accompanied by a licensed, non-hunting adult.

How long does it take to get into a hunt?

It varies depending on how many applicants we get in a given year. Typically, archery hunters complete a full hunt cycle (one antlerless hunt and one antlered buck hunt) in a shorter time than shotgun hunters.

Can I choose my own hunting date?

No. Hunters are assigned hunting dates by computer drawing.

What if I cannot hunt on the day I am picked for?

Please contact the DWR Blacksburg office at (540) 961-8304 as soon as possible.

Can I use a portable tree stand?

Portable tree stands may be used during archery hunts only. Portable stands used during archery hunts must be placed within 50 yards of the permanent stand the hunter is assigned to. Screw in tree steps may be used for portable bow stands.

How do I get to Gate 20?

Successful applicants will be notified by mail and will receive a map to Gate 20.

Can I bring in a two-way radio to talk to my buddy?


Can I bring in a cellular phone?


Can I bring in a camera?


Can I bring a video camera?


Can I bring a rangefinder?

Yes. You are encouraged to use a rangefinder.

Can I bring a chemical hand warmer?

Yes, you can bring chemical hand warmers. However, no spark or flame producing hand warmers are allowed.

Can I hunt in the same stand as my hunting buddy/son/wife/husband/daughter?

No. Each hunter is assigned his or her own stand. Only one hunter may occupy a stand. However, an exception exists for hunters under 18 years of age because they must be accompanied in their stand by a non-hunting adult. The adult must possess a valid hunting license.

What time is check in?

Check in is at 4:30 am at Gate 20.

Do I have to use a buck tag off my license?

Yes. If you kill a buck you must use a buck tag off your license.

Do I have to use a doe tag off my license?

No. Special doe tags (DMAP) will be provided for antlerless deer killed.

What are the antler criteria for shooting a buck?

Quality deer rules require that bucks harvested must have a 15.5-inch or greater maximum outside spread.

What time is the hunt over?

Hunters will be picked up at their stands by 4:00 pm.

Can I leave early?

Yes. You can make arrangements to leave early on the day of your hunt.

Can I scout the area before the hunt?

No. The RAAP is a restricted entry area and hunters may enter the facility only on the day of their hunt.

What kind of skills test do bow hunters have to take?

Bow hunters must pass a skills test in order to hunt. Applicants who are drawn to bow hunt will be notified by mail regarding locations where skills tests will be offered. Hunters must be able to shoot 2 of 3 arrows into a 9-inch target at 20 and 30 yards in order to qualify.

Can I go out of the facility during my hunt and then come back in and continue hunting?


Are crossbows allowed?

Yes, crossbows are allowed.

Can I hunt with a rifle?

No. Gun hunters must use a 20 gauge or larger shotgun. Shotgun slugs are the only ammunition allowed for gun hunters.

Can my shotgun have a scope on it?

Yes. We encourage hunters to use a scope on their shotgun.