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Bear Hunting Firearms Seasons

Hunting Regulations Icon Virginia Hunting

 

Early Firearms Bear Season

October 1 through 3:

In the counties of Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Bland, Botetourt, Buchanan, Clarke, Craig, Culpeper, Dickenson, Fairfax, Fauquier, Giles, Greene, Highland, Lee, Loudoun, Madison, Montgomery (northwest of I-81), Page, Prince William, Pulaski (northwest of I-81), Rappahannock, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Scott, Shenandoah, Smyth (northwest of I-81), Stafford, Tazewell, Warren, Washington (northwest of I-81), Wise, Wythe (northwest of I-81).

Closed

Firearms Bear Seasons

October 1 through January 5:

In the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach.

November 26 through January 5:

In the counties of Albemarle, Alleghany, Amherst, Arlington, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Bland, Botetourt, Caroline, Chesterfield, Clarke, Craig, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Frederick, Giles, Goochland, Greene, Hanover, Henrico, Highland, Loudoun, Louisa, Madison, Montgomery, (northwest of I-81), Nelson, Orange, Page, Powhatan, Prince William, Pulaski (northwest of I-81), Rappahannock, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Smyth (northwest of I-81), Spotsylvania, Stafford, Tazewell, Warren, Washington (northwest of I-81 and east of Route 19), Wythe (northwest of I-81), and on the Clinch Mountain and Hidden Valley Wildlife Management Areas and Channels State Forest and within the incorporated limits of any independent city, not listed, that allows bear hunting.

December 3 through 22:

In the counties of Carroll, Floyd, Franklin, Grayson, Henry, Montgomery (southeast of I-81), Patrick, Pulaski (southeast of I-81), Smyth (southeast of I-81), Washington (southeast of I-81), Wythe (southeast of I-81).

December 3 through January 5:

In the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Washington (northwest of I-81 and west of Route 19), and Wise.

Exception

  • Clinch Mountain and Hidden Valley Wildlife Management Areas and Channels State Forest (see November 26 –January 5 season).

December 3 through 8:

In the counties of Amelia, Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Charles City, Charlotte, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Essex, Gloucester, Greensville, Halifax, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, King George, King William, Lancaster, Lunenburg, Mathews, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, New Kent, Northumberland, Nottoway, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, Prince George, Richmond, Southampton, Surry, Sussex, Westmoreland, and York.

Closed

In the counties of Accomack and Northampton.

Legal Methods and Restrictions

Special restrictions apply to specific firearms use during this season. See Legal Use of Firearms and Archery Tackle, General Hunting Information, and Local Firearms Ordinances for details.

  • Modern firearms
  • Arrowguns are allowed
  • Archery tackle (excludes slingbows)
  • Muzzleloading firearms

Bear Hound Training/Chase Season

No Black Bear May Be Taken During This Season.

Hours

4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., including Sundays.

See maps for dates and locations.

Licenses Required

Same for hunting seasons where bears can be taken. See licenses, stamps, and permits section for appropriate required licenses.

Unlawful Methods

  • It is unlawful to have in possession a firearm, archery tackle or any weapon capable of taking a black bear while participating in the bear hound training season. The meaning of “possession” for the purpose of this section shall include, but not be limited to, having a firearm, bow, crossbow, or any weapon capable of taking a black bear in or on one’s person, vehicle, or conveyance. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders on General Hunting Information.)
  • 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.

Dogs May Not Be Used to Hunt Bears:

  • During the firearms deer season in the counties west of the Blue Ridge and in the counties of Amherst (west of Rt. 29), Bedford, and Nelson (west of Rt. 151).
  • During the first 14 hunting days of the firearms deer season in Madison and Greene counties.
  • During the firearms bear season in the counties of Campbell (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Carroll (east of the New River), Fairfax, Floyd, Franklin, Grayson (east of the New River), Henry, Loudoun, Montgomery (south of I-81), Patrick, Pittsylvania (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Pulaski (south of I-81), Roanoke (south of I-81), and Wythe (southeast of the New River or that part bounded by Rt. 21 on the west, I-81 on the north, the county line on the east, the New River on the southeast and Cripple Creek on the south), and in the city of Lynchburg.
  • On the Amelia, Chester F. Phelps, Featherfin, G. Richard Thompson, Mattaponi, Merrimac Farm, Oakley Forest, Parker’s Branch Tract on Big Woods, Pettigrew, and Ware Creek Wildlife Management Areas.
  • When hunting during the archery or muzzleloading bear seasons, except in certain counties during the youth/apprentice bear hunting weekend (see Bear Hunting Regulations).
  • On Cavalier WMA dogs may only be used during the Bear Hound Training Season from August 12 through 31.
  • On Sundays while in possession of a weapon. The meaning of “possession” for the purpose of this section shall include, but not be limited to, having a firearm, bow, crossbow, or any weapon capable of taking a black bear in or on one’s person, vehicle, or conveyance. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders on General Hunting Information.)