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General Information & Hunting Regulations

Hunting Hours

(See sunrise-sunset table)

  • One half-hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset for nonmigratory birds and game animals except during spring turkey season.
  • One half-hour before sunrise until 12 noon during spring turkey season, except the last 20 days when the hunting hours are one halfhour before sunrise until sunset.
  • One half-hour before sunrise to sunset for Youth/Apprentice Spring Turkey Hunting Weekend.
  • Hours for bear hound training season are from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.
  • Bobcats, foxes, raccoons, and opossums may be hunted by day or night during authorized seasons.
  • Nuisance species may be taken day or night.

Sunday Hunting

Hunting is allowed on Sundays except under the following circumstances:

  • within 200 yards of a house of worship or any accessory structure thereof.
  • to hunt or kill any deer or bear with a gun, firearm, or other weapon with the aid or assistance of dogs.

Note: The General Assembly passed a law in 2022 allowing Sunday hunting on public land for all game species. Many public landowners are taking advantage of this new hunting opportunity and opening their public lands for hunting on Sundays. For details on how public landowners will implement Sunday hunting on their lands please contact the public landowner.

Sunday Hunting in Virginia: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Sunday Hunting Opportunities on Public Lands in Virginia

Department of Wildlife Resources lands – Open for Sunday hunting with the following exceptions:

  • Dove hunting on Amelia, Big Survey, Briery Creek, Cavalier, Chickahominy, Clinch Mountain, Crooked Creek, Dick Cross, Fairystone, Featherfin, Gathright, Goshen, Hardware River, Hidden Valley, Highland, Horsepen, James River, Little North Mountain, Mattaponi, Mattaponi Bluffs, Oakley Forest, Pettigrew, C.F. Phelps, Powhatan, Rapidan, Robert W. Duncan, Stewarts Creek, Thompson, Ware Creek, and White Oak Mountain will be limited to opening day, Labor Day, Wednesdays and Saturdays during the first segment of the dove season (September 2 – October 19).
  • Waterfowl hunting on the James River WMA is permitted only on the opening day, Wednesdays, and Saturdays of the duck and goose seasons.
  • Waterfowl hunting on the Mattaponi Wildlife Management Area is permitted only on October 11-14, and on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays of the duck and goose seasons.
  • Game Farm Marsh WMA is open for hunting on Friday, Saturday, and Monday of the October segment of the duck season (October 11, 12 and 14), and on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays during the November (Nov. 20-Dec 1), and December–January (December 19–January 31) segments of the duck season. Hunters may not occupy the area before 5:00 a.m. and must vacate the area by 1:00 p.m. Hunting on Friday and Saturday of the October segment (October 11and 12) and on the opening day of the November segment (November 20) and the December–January segment (December 19) will be by Quota hunt only. Outside of the duck season segments listed above, waterfowl hunting on Game Farm Marsh is open with no restrictions on hunt days, times, or hunter numbers.
  • Waterfowl hunting on and within 500 yards of the Ware Creek WMA is permitted (except portions of Philbates Creek) on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays of the duck and goose seasons. Hunters may not occupy their hunting location until 5 a.m. and hunting must end by 1 p.m.
  • Waterfowl hunting at Doe Creek WMA is open to walk-in hunting on Saturdays only for half days during the last two segments of the general waterfowl season. Hunters may hunt until 1:00 p.m. and must have all decoys up and be away from the impoundments by 2:00 p.m. The area is open on Sundays for scouting and wildlife viewing.
  • Waterfowl hunting on the Robert W. Duncan WMA is permitted only on October 11-14 and on Thursdays and Sundays of the duck and goose seasons.
  • Waterfowl hunting on Mattaponi Bluffs WMA is permitted only on October 11-14, and at any time during the multi-species quota hunt period by the selected individuals and guests, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays after the quota hunt period (January 8-29; February 8 youth/veteran’s day). Hunters drawn to participate in quota hunts on the Department’s Wildlife Management Areas should refer to the Hunter Selection Notice Fulfillment materials for Sunday hunting information.

George Washington and Jefferson National Forest – Open for Sunday hunting.

Virginia State Forests – Hunting is allowed on many of the State Forest properties in Virginia including: Appomattox- Buckingham State Forest, Big Woods State Forest in Sussex County, Browne State Forest in Essex County, Channels State Forest in Washington and Russell Counties, Charlotte State Forest (waterfowl hunting limited to Monday, Wednesday and Saturday), Chilton Woods State Forest in Lancaster County (dogs may not be used to hunt bear or deer), Cumberland State Forest, Devil’s Backbone State Forest in Shenandoah County (archery & black powder only), Dragon Run State Forest in King and Queen County, First Mountain State Forest in Rockingham County (archery & black powder only), Lesesne State Forest in Nelson County (archery & black powder), Moore’s Creek State Forest in Rockbridge County (must be accessed by hiking across George Washington & Jefferson National Forest) and Prince Edward Gallion State Forest. All of the above State Forests will allow Sunday hunting.

Hunting is not allowed on 8 State Forests — some with Deed Restrictions such as Niday Place State Forest & Bourassa State Forest, Crawfords State Forest, and others with access limitations for the public such South Quay State Forest, Old Flat State Forest and Hawks State Forest, and some with such high public use that safety is a concern such as Zoar State Forest and Paul State Forest.

Hunting will also be allowed on Matthews State Forest in Grayson County (archery only in designated areas), Chesterfield State Forest in Chesterfield County (archery only for all species — this does not include the urban archery season), and Sandy Point State Forest in King William County, however these State Forests will remain closed to Sunday hunting. Conway Robinson State Forest in Prince William County and Whitney State Forest in Fauquier County will remain lottery permit only hunts.

A valid State Forest Use Permit and valid hunting license is required and may be purchased from license agents or online. Hunting is allowed on these properties only in accordance with state hunting regulations. No motorized vehicles, including ATVs, are permitted on gated roads and trails whether the gate is open or closed.

Further information on regulations governing the use of specific State Forest properties for hunting or other recreational activities is available at the Virginia Department of Forestry’s website or by calling 804-492-4121.

Fort Walker: See the Fort Walker iSportsman page for the most up to date information.

Fort Barfoot: See the Fort Barfoot iSportsman page for the most up to date information.

Fort Belvoir: See the Fort Belvoir iSportsman page for the most up to date information.

Marine Corps Base Quantico: See the Quantico iSportsman page for the most up to date information.

National Wildlife Refuges – Sunday hunting opportunities will vary among individual refuges, hunters should check the hunting regulations on individual refuge web sites for specific details.

John H. Kerr Reservoir – Open for Sunday hunting

John W. Flannagan Reservoir – Open for Sunday hunting

Philpott Lake – Open for Sunday hunting

Blaze Color Requirements

When hunting any species during a firearms deer season and on youth/apprentice deer hunting weekend:

  • Every hunter (see exceptions below), or persons accompanying a hunter, shall wear a solid blaze colored (blaze orange or blaze pink) hat or solid blaze colored upper body clothing that is visible from 360 degrees or display at least 100 square inches of solid blaze colored material at shoulder level within body reach and visible from 360 degrees.
  • Hats may have a bill or brim color or design other than solid blaze color. Hats shall not be in “camo” style, since the latter is designed to prevent visibility. A logo, which does not detract from visibility, may be worn on a blaze colored hat.
  • Hunters using an enclosed ground blind (pop-up, chair, box, etc.) that conceals them from view shall display at least 100 square inches of solid blaze colored material, visible from 360 degrees attached to or immediately above the blind. This blaze color is in addition to any worn on the hunter’s person. During the muzzleloader seasons for hunting deer with a muzzleloading firearm, every muzzleloader deer hunter and every person accompanying a muzzleloader deer hunter shall wear solid blaze colors as specified above except when they are physically located in a tree stand or other stationary hunting location.


  • Blaze colored clothing is not required of waterfowl hunters, dove hunters, individuals participating in hunting dog field trials, and fox hunters on horseback without firearms.
  • Hunters hunting with archery tackle during an open firearms deer season in areas where the discharge of firearms is prohibited by state law or local ordinance are exempt from the blaze color requirement.
  • Other than muzzleloader deer hunters, blaze colored clothing is not required of any hunters hunting during the muzzleloader deer seasons.



A pneumatic-powered air gun that fires an arrow. Explosive propellant arrowguns may not be used for hunting in Virginia.


Bait shall mean any food, grain, or other consumable substance that could serve as a lure or attractant; however, crops grown for normal or accepted agriculture or wildlife management purposes, including food plots, shall not be considered as bait.

Blaze Colors

The term “blaze colored” in reference to clothing or other items required for specific safe hunting practices shall be one of two colors: 1) solid blaze orange means a safety orange or fluorescent orange hue, or 2) solid blaze pink means a safety pink or fluorescent pink hue.

Dismal Swamp Line

Beginning at a point on Rt. 10 where it intersects the Isle of Wight County line, then along this highway to its intersection with the corporate limits of Suffolk, then through Suffolk to its intersection with Rt. 642 (White Marsh Road) and then along this highway in a southwest direction to Rt. 604 (Desert Road), and then southerly along this highway to the North Carolina state line.


An unmanned aerial vehicle, aircraft, or similar device, guided by remote control or onboard computers.

DWR or Department

Department of Wildlife Resources

Furbearer Species

Furbearer means beaver, bobcat, fisher, fox, mink, muskrat, opossum, otter, raccoon, skunk, and weasel.

Game Animal

Game animal means bear, bobcat, deer, elk, fox, rabbit, raccoon, and squirrel.

Hunting and Trapping

The act of or the attempted act of taking, hunting, trapping, pursuing, chasing, shooting, snaring, or netting birds or animals, and assisting any person who is doing the same, regardless of whether birds or animals are actually taken.

Hunting Weapon

Is any weapon allowable for hunting as defined in 29.1-519 of the Code of Virginia.

Nonmigratory Game Birds

Nonmigratory game bird means grouse, pheasant, bobwhite quail, and turkey.

Migratory Game Birds

Migratory game birds means species of waterfowl (ducks, geese, brant, swans and mergansers) and webless species (coots, doves, gallinules, moorhens, rails, snipe, and woodcock).

Nuisance Species

The following animals: house mouse, Norway rat, black rat, coyote, groundhog, nutria, feral hog, European starling, English sparrow, mute swan, and pigeon (rock dove) are designated as nuisance species and may be taken at any time by use of a firearm or other weapon (unless prohibited by local ordinances) and on some public lands during certain time periods (see National Forest-Wildlife Department Regulations).

Other Wildlife

It is unlawful to take, possess, transport, release, or sell all other wildlife species not classified as game, furbearer, or nuisance, unless otherwise specifically permitted by law or regulation.

Prohibited Lands

Prohibited lands are any parcels of property, public or private, where established rules and regulations for public access or explicit permission (verbal or written) have not been granted to hunt upon or enter the property.

Route 29 Line/Amherst County

The Route 29 “line” in Amherst County is defined as Business U.S. 29 from the James River to its intersection with U.S. 29 just south of the town of Amherst continuing north on U.S. 29 to the Tye River.


United States Fish and Wildlife Service


Wildlife Management Area

East & West of the Blue Ridge

Counties colored blue are west of the Blue Ridge and those counties in white are east of the Blue Ridge.

An image detailing which counties are found east and west of the Blue Ridge; the split occurs at the Appalachian mountain range

West of the Blue Ridge:

  • Alleghany
  • Augusta
  • Bath
  • Bland
  • Botetourt
  • Buchanan
  • Carroll
  • Clarke
  • Craig
  • Dickenson
  • Floyd
  • Frederick
  • Giles
  • Grayson
  • Highland
  • Lee
  • Montgomery
  • Page
  • Pulaski
  • Roanoke
  • Rockbridge
  • Rockingham
  • Russell
  • Scott
  • Shenandoah
  • Smyth
  • Tazewell
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wise
  • Wythe

Hunting With Dogs

The hunting of deer or bear with a gun, firearm, or other weapon with the aid or assistance of dogs on Sunday is prohibited.

  • Dogs may be used to pursue wild birds and animals during hunting seasons where not prohibited.
  • Section 18.2-136 of the Code of Virginia decriminalizes trespass in certain instances related to dog retrieval. That section provides: “Fox hunters and coon hunters, when the chase begins on other lands, may follow their dogs on prohibited lands, and hunters of all other game, when the chase begins on other lands, may go upon prohibited lands to retrieve their dogs, falcons, hawks, or owls, but may not carry firearms or bow and arrows on their person or hunt any game while thereon. The use of vehicles to retrieve dogs, falcons, hawks, or owls on prohibited lands shall be allowed only with the permission of the landowner or his agent. Any person who goes on prohibited lands to retrieve his dogs, falcons, hawks, or owls pursuant to this section and who willfully refuses to identify himself when requested by the landowner or his agent to do so is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.”
  • Tracking dogs maintained and controlled on a lead may be used to find a wounded or dead bear, deer, or turkey statewide during any archery, muzzleloader, or firearm season for these species, or within 24 hours of the end of such season, provided that those who are involved in the retrieval effort have permission to hunt on or to access the land being searched. Licensed hunters engaged in such tracking may possess any weapon permitted for hunting and may use such weapon to humanely kill the wounded bear, deer, or turkey being tracked, including after legal hunting hours. Such weapon shall not be used to hunt, wound, or kill any animal other than the animal being tracked, except in self-defense.
  • It is unlawful to use dogs when hunting any species with archery tackle during any archery season, except bear hounds may be used during the youth/apprentice bear hunting weekend.
  • It is unlawful to chase with dogs or hunt with dogs or to attempt to chase or hunt with dogs any wild animal from a baited site or to train dogs on any wild animal from a baited site. Furthermore, it shall be unlawful to place, distribute, or maintain bait or salt for any wild animal for the purpose of chasing with dogs, hunting with dogs, or training of dogs. When hunting or training with dogs, a baited site will be considered to be baited for 30 days following the complete removal of all such bait or salt.
  • It is unlawful to intentionally cripple or otherwise harm any game animal for the intent of continuing a hunt, or chase, or for the purpose of training dogs. Upon treeing, baying, or otherwise containing an animal in a manner that offers the animal no avenue of escape, the person or the hunting party shall either harvest the animal if within a legal take season and by using lawful methods of take or terminate the chase by retrieving the dogs and allowing the animal freedom to escape for the remainder of the same calendar day.
  • It is unlawful to dislodge an animal from a tree for the intent of continuing a hunt, or chase, or for the purpose of training dogs.
  • It shall be unlawful to engage in hunting with a dog unless the dog has a tag securely fastened to the collar which displays the name of the owner/custodian and current phone number for that individual.

Training Dogs

The training of dogs on live wild animals is considered hunting and you must have a valid hunting license while training; it is unlawful during the closed season except as noted below.

  • You may train dogs during daylight hours on squirrels and nonmigratory game birds on private lands and on rabbits from 1/2 hour before sunrise until midnight on private lands. Participants shall have no weapons other than starter pistols in their possession and no wild animals shall be taken. Weapons may be in possession when training dogs on captive raised and properly marked mallards and pigeons so that they may be immediately shot or recovered.
  • You may train dogs on National Forest or Department-owned lands only during authorized training seasons that specifically permit these activities.
  • You may train dogs on quail on the Amelia Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Cavalier WMA, Chickahominy WMA, Dick Cross WMA, Mattaponi WMA, and White Oak WMA, and on designated portions of the C. F. Phelps WMA from September 1 to the day prior to the opening date of the quail hunting season, both dates inclusive. No weapons other than starter pistols may be in possession, and pen-raised birds may not be released.
  • Pen-raised quail may be released at any time on private land with landowner permission. However, birds can only be shot during the regular quail season. Regular bag limits apply.
  • You may train dogs during daylight hours on rabbits and nonmigratory game birds on the Weston WMA from September 1 through March 31, both dates inclusive. Participants in this dog training season shall have no weapons other than starter pistols in their possession, shall not release pen-raised birds, and must comply with all regulations and laws pertaining to hunting. No game shall be taken.

Hunting on Private Property

Trespass violations, posting property, and access issues are all concerns that affect a landowner’s decision to allow hunting.

Hunters are reminded that it is unlawful to hunt on private property without the permission of the landowner, and hunters must have the permission of the landowner to track or retrieve wounded game on private property.

On Posted Property

It is unlawful to hunt without written permission of the landowner and is punishable by a fine of up to $2500 and/or 12 months in jail.

On Unposted Property

It is unlawful to hunt any unposted property without permission of the landowner and is punishable by a fine of up to $500. A landowner may post their property by any of the following methods:

  • Using aluminum or purple color paint, paint a vertical line at least 2 inches in width and at least 8 inches in length, no less than 3 feet and not more than 6 feet from the ground or normal water surface and visible when approaching their property.
  • Placing signs that specifically prohibit hunting, fishing, or trespassing on their property.

Landowner Liability

For landowners, finding responsible hunters can provide many benefits for both the landowner and sportsmen allowed access to the property. There are benefits of having responsible hunters included as an important part of the landowner’s wildlife management plan, especially if they are absentee or do not hunt themselves. There are many in-kind benefits of such relationships including road maintenance, habitat improvement, security, and safety. Hunt clubs are also helpful, and lease fees can offset property taxes. Information on locating responsible hunters can be found by contacting local civic groups like Ruritans, or 4-H Clubs, sporting goods shops, and area landowner contacts that participate in Tree Farm or Stewardship Programs. Members of sportsmen’s conservation organizations that are dedicated, reputable partners with DWR promote safety, ethical practices, habitat improvement, and scientific management of wildlife.


Concern about legal liability for recreationists prevents some landowners from permitting hunting on their property. However, the Virginia General Assembly has addressed this concern in Virginia Code Section 29.1-509. Amended in 1982, this law exempts landowners who provide recreational opportunities to the public from liability for injury or damages, provided:

  • the landowner does not charge a fee.
  • there is no gross negligence or “willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, or structure” on the property.

The property owner should eliminate obvious hazards such as open wells and falling down buildings, or fence off and identify with warning signs any hazard that cannot be eliminated, such as a rock quarry. The landowner may consider insuring their property subject to casualty by obtaining comprehensive liability insurance. These are relatively inexpensive additions to standard and homeowner insurance policies. Sportsmen can be asked to help provide financial or other support in return for permission to access private property. Fundamentally, sportsmen are responsible for their own safety and for any damages they cause to the property of others. Individual permission cards include codes of ethical conduct while the cardholders are on the property. Furthermore, landowners can require sportsmen to show proof of insurance. Sportsman insurance is available through insurance companies and national sportsman organizations.

Sale and Purchase of Legally Harvested Game

It is unlawful to sell, barter, or purchase any wild bird or wild animal carcass or parts thereof. There are exceptions and a general representation of these are listed below for your reference and is not intended to be all-inclusive. Specific exceptions and requirements are identified in the Code of Virginia and the Virginia Administrative Code.


  • Except for taxidermy mounts referenced below, no portion of a black bear may legally be bought or sold.

Deer and Elk

  • The hair, hide, tail, sinew, skull, antlers, bones, and feet as well as products made from these parts may be bought and sold.

Furbearers (beaver, bobcat, coyote, fisher, fox, mink, muskrat, nutria, opossum, otter, raccoon, skunk, and weasels)

  • Any hunter, trapper, or person engaged in the business of fur farming can sell raw pelts and unskinned carcasses of legally taken and possessed furbearers at any time.
  • Any person who purchases, consigns, or trades in raw pelts and unskinned carcasses of furbearers is required to have a Fur Dealer Permit, except when the pelts or carcasses are to be tanned or used in taxidermy mounts for personal use and not for resale, trade, or other commercial purposes.
  • Any person can buy or sell tanned pelts, skinned carcasses, taxidermy mounts, or other furbearer parts (skulls, teeth, claws, bones, glands, secretions, etc.) at any time.
  • Legally harvested opossums and raccoons may be bought and sold during the open hunting season.

Migratory Game Birds (brant, coots, doves, ducks, gallinules, geese, mergansers, moorhens, rails, snipe, swans, and woodcock)

  • No portion of a migratory game bird may be bought or sold.

Wild Turkey and Small Game (bobwhite quail, pheasants, rabbits, ruffed grouse, and squirrels)

  • The skins, pelts, skulls, bones, teeth, claws, feet, tails, hair, feathers, beard, spurs, taxidermy mounts, and other non-meat parts as well as products made from these parts may be bought and sold.
  • Legally harvested rabbits and squirrels may be bought and sold during the open hunting season.

Taxidermy Mounts

  • Under specific conditions, unclaimed mounts of native wildlife or their processed hides may be sold by a Virginia licensed taxidermist with the exception of migratory waterfowl, migratory birds and state and federally listed threatened and endangered species.
  • A licensed Virginia auctioneer or licensed auction firm may sell wildlife mounts and processed hides (including bears, but not migratory game birds) which have undergone the taxidermy process.

Unlawful Methods

Penalties for a violation may include hunting or trapping privilege revocation for one year to life and forfeiture of firearms. A person found guilty of a violation a second time within three years of a previous conviction shall have their hunting or trapping privilege revoked by the court trying the case.

It is unlawful to:

  • Hold in captivity any live wild birds or wild animals outside the limits allowed by regulations without a permit.
  • Hunt adjacent to forest fires.
  • Use antler traps.
  • Willfully and intentionally impede the lawful hunting or trapping of wild birds or wild animals.
  • Kill or cripple and knowingly allow any nonmigratory game bird or game animal to be wasted without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the animal and retain it in possession.
  • Hunt while under the influence of intoxicants or narcotic drugs.
  • Take or attempt to take wild animals and wild birds by the use or aid of recorded animal or bird calls or sounds or recorded or electrically amplified imitation of animals or bird calls or sounds; provided, that electronic calls may be used on private lands for hunting bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, and foxes with written permission of the landowner and on public lands except where specifically prohibited.
  • Destroy or harass the nest, eggs, den, or young of any wild bird or animal, except nuisance species, at any time without a permit as required by law.
  • Occupy any baited blind or other baited place for the purpose of taking or attempting to take any wild game bird or wild game animal or to put out bait or salt for the purpose of taking or killing any wild game bird or wild game animal, except for the purpose of trapping furbearing animals.
  • Destroy, mutilate, or take down “posted” signs or litter. Conviction of littering can result in loss of hunting license.
  • Exceed the bag limit or possess over the daily limit of any wild bird or animal while in the forests, fields, or waters of this state.
  • Use live birds or animals to decoy or call game.
  • Possess or transport any wild bird or wild animal or the carcass or the parts thereof, unless specifically allowed and only in accordance with regulations.
  • Sell or purchase any wild bird or wild animal carcass or parts thereof, except as specifically permitted by law.
  • Offer for sale, sell, offer to purchase, or purchase a hunt guaranteeing the killing of a deer, bear, or wild turkey. This law doesn’t prevent a landowner from leasing land for hunting.
  • To possess or use deer scents or lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids while taking, attempting to take, attracting, or scouting wildlife in Virginia.
  • 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.
  • Hunt or assist another to hunt during any open season on the same calendar day and the same property where a drone (unmanned aerial vehicle) was used to locate or scout for any wild animal.
  • Hunt or attempt to kill or trap any species of wild bird or wild animal after having obtained the daily bag or season limit during such day or season. However, any properly licensed person, or a person exempt from having to obtain a license, who has obtained such daily bag or season limit while hunting may assist others who are hunting game by calling game, retrieving game, handling dogs, or conducting drives if the weapon in possession is an unloaded firearm, unloaded arrowgun, a bow without a nocked arrow, or an unloaded crossbow. Any properly licensed person, or person exempt from having to obtain a license, who has obtained such season limit prior to commencement of the hunt may assist others who are hunting game by calling game, retrieving game, handling dogs, or conducting drives, provided said person does not have a firearm, bow, crossbow, or arrowgun in their possession.

Unlawful Feeding of Certain Wildlife

Not only is it illegal to hunt, chase with dogs, or attempt to kill game birds and animals from a baited site, it is also illegal to feed some wildlife under certain circumstances. The Department does not encourage the feeding of wildlife at any time of the year. Feeding restrictions help control the transmission of diseases, wildlife conflicts, littering concerns, and enforcement issues about hunting with bait.

  • It is unlawful to place or direct the placement of, deposit, distribute, or scatter food or salt capable of attracting or being eaten by bear, deer, or turkey year round on National Forest and Department-owned lands.
  • Cities and towns have the authority to prohibit the feeding of deer by local ordinance. Contact localities for details.
  • Department regulation makes it illegal to place, distribute, or allow the placement of food, minerals, salt, carrion, trash, or similar substances to feed or attract the following:
    • Deer and Elk:
      • – September 1 – first Saturday in January; statewide. Attractants must be removed by September 1.
      • During any open deer or elk season; statewide
      • Year round in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties, as well as those counties listed, which are associated with the management of CWD in Virginia (towns and cities within included).
    • Bears: year round; statewide
    • All species: Illegal to feed any wild animal when the feeding results in property damage, endangers people or wildlife, or creates a public health concern

Upon notification by Department personnel, if anyone continues with any of these activities for any purpose and it results in the presence of species mentioned previously in this box, such person shall be in violation of the law and subject to a fine of up to $500. No part of this regulation shall be construed to restrict bonafide agronomic plantings (including wildlife food plots) or distribution of food to livestock.

All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Laws

No ATV shall be operated:

  • On any public highway, or other public property, except as authorized by proper authorities or to the extent necessary to cross a public highway by the most direct route.
  • By any person under the age of 16, except that children between the ages of 12 and 16 may operate ATVs powered by engines of no less than 70 cubic centimeters nor more than 90 cubic centimeters displacement.
  • By any person unless he is wearing a protective helmet of a type approved by the Superintendent of State Police for use by motorcycle operators.
  • On another person’s property without the written consent of the owner of the property or as explicitly authorized by law.
  • With a passenger at any time, unless vehicle is designed and equipped to be operated with more than one rider. The above does not apply to members of the household or employees of the owner or lessee of private property on which the ATV is operated.

Earn A Buck (EAB) Questions and Answers

What is EAB?

EAB is a regulation designed to control and/or reduce deer populations by increasing the antlerless deer kill within a deer management unit (county, city, or town).

When is EAB in effect?

During any open deer hunting season (archery, muzzleloading, and firearms) in defined areas (see below) except that antlered bucks may not be killed during antlerless only deer seasons (e.g, urban archery deer season(s) or special early or late antlerless only firearms deer seasons). Antlerless deer killed during the early portion of the urban archery deer season or during a special early antlerless only firearms deer season do count towards EAB.

Where is EAB in effect?

  • All lands (public and private) in Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties.
  • All lands (public and private) in Prince William County (except on Department of Defense lands).
  • Private lands in Accomack, Albemarle, Amherst (west of Rt. 29), Augusta, Bedford, Botetourt, Carroll, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Floyd, Franklin, Frederick, Greene, Grayson, Hanover, Henrico, James City, Madison, Montgomery, Orange, Page, Prince George, Pulaski, Rappahannock, Roanoke, Rockingham (east of Rts. 613 and 731), Shenandoah, Stafford, Warren, Wythe, and York counties.
  • Within the incorporated limits of all towns and cities (except the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach). NOTE:  Just because a property’s address has a city or town address, it does not mean the property is within the actual limits of the city or town.

Can I shoot an antlered buck first under EAB?

Yes, deer hunters in all EAB areas may kill one antlered buck, when antlered bucks are legal, without having first killed an antlerless deer (doe or button buck). However, as noted above, antlered bucks are not legal during the urban archery deer season or during special early or late antlerless only firearms deer seasons.

Do deer hunters have to kill an antlerless deer first in an EAB county?

No, during those seasons when antlered deer are legal, the first deer killed in any EAB area may be an antlered buck or an antlerless deer (a doe or button buck).

Do antlerless deer killed in EAB county X count towards the EAB requirement in EAB county Y?

No. Deer taken in one EAB county, city, or town do not “carry over” to any other EAB county, city, or town. Each county, city, or town is its own separate deer management unit with regards to EAB.

Do antlerless deer killed outside an EAB county in a non EAB county count towards the EAB requirement in an EAB county?

No. Only antlerless deer taken in EAB county X count towards the EAB requirement in county X.

Do antlerless deer killed in an EAB county carry over from year to year?

No. An individual county’s EAB requirement starts anew each fall.

Should I shoot an antlerless deer first in an EAB area?

It depends, but yes, in most cases.  EAB does not require that an antlerless deer be harvested first, but in many cases it is recommended that a hunter harvest an antlerless deer first to stay “ahead” of the EAB regulation. With an antlerless deer (or two) harvested early in the season, a hunter now has two (or three) “valid” buck tags available for use should a buck show up in front of their stand. The most risky situation is for a hunter to harvest a small antlered buck first.  In this situation, they must shoot an antlerless deer (or two) next, but the next deer they see might be a really big buck they cannot legally kill.  To prevent this from happening, deer hunters should try to stay “ahead” in EAB (i.e., always have an available buck tag) instead of getting “behind” in EAB (i.e., having to shoot an antlerless deer next).

Does EAB affect the daily or season deer bag limit?

No. The normal daily and season deer bag limits still apply.

Why require EAB?

The Department’s Deer Management Plan calls for current deer populations to be reduced in all EAB areas, and traditional liberal deer regulations have not completely achieved that objective.

Has EAB been successful?

Yes, the original goal of EAB was to increase the female deer kill to greater than or equal to 50% in EAB counties. Since it was first initiated in fall 2008, EAB has resulted in females composing greater than or equal to 50% of the total deer kill in the overwhelming majority of EAB counties annually.

What does “license year” mean for EAB?

For the purposes of this section, the term “license year” defines the period between July 1 and June 30 of the following year.

Earn a Buck (EAB)

Deer taken in one EAB county, city, or town do not “carry over” to any other EAB county, city, or town. Each county, city, or town is its own separate management unit with regards to EAB.

Do deer killed on out-of-season kill permits count toward EAB?

No. Taking a deer on a kill permit is not considered hunting; therefore, deer killed on a kill permit do not count toward hunting season bag limits or other requirements, like EAB.

For more information about Earn a Buck, please see the Deer Hunting Regulations and Seasons section.