Deer Hunting Information

Hunting Regulations Icon Virginia Hunting

Firearms Either-sex Deer Hunting For Incorporated Cities and Towns

  • Deer of either sex may be taken full season in the incorporated limits of any city or town in Virginia that allows deer hunting except in the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach, but only with the specific weapons authorized by each individual city or town.
  • Earn a buck applies to all cities and towns except Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach.

Legal Methods and Restrictions During Firearms Deer Seasons

Special restrictions apply to specific firearms use during this season. See Legal Use of Firearms

  • Modern firearms.
  • Hunters are allowed to use archery tackle or muzzleloading firearms to deer hunt during the firearms deer season with the following conditions:
    • all hunters are required to comply with the either-sex deer hunting days for the firearms deer season.
    • use of muzzleloading firearms is allowed only if not otherwise restricted.
    • muzzleloader deer hunters must wear blaze color during the firearms deer season.
    • archery deer hunters must wear blaze color during the firearms deer season except when hunting in areas where the discharge of firearms is prohibited.

Dogs May Not Be Used For Deer Hunting

  • West of the Blue Ridge.
  • East of the Blue Ridge in Bedford, Fairfax, Franklin, Henry, Loudoun, Northampton, and Patrick counties, and Amherst (west of Rt. 29), Campbell (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Nelson (west of Rt. 151), Pittsylvania (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), and the City of Lynchburg.
  • On Sunday while in possession of a weapon.
  • When hunting during archery and muzzle­loading seasons and on the Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Weekend.
  • On many military areas. Check individual Post regulations.
  • On Amelia, Cavalier, Doe Creek, Featherfin, Mattaponi, Merrimac Farm, Pettigrew, Chester F. Phelps, G. Richard Thompson, and Ware Creek Wildlife Management Areas.
  • During the first 14 hunting days of the firearms deer season in Madison and Greene counties.

Tracking Dogs

Tracking dogs maintained and controlled on a lead may be used to find a wounded or dead bear or deer statewide during any archery, muzzleloader, or firearm bear or deer hunting season, 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 and do not have any weapons in their possession. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders.)

For more information on tracking dogs go to www.unitedbloodtrackers.org.

Elk Hunting

  • Elk of either sex, antlered or antlerless, may be taken during any open deer season using weapons legal for deer during that season (except that elk season is closed in the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise.)
  • The taking of an elk counts toward the hunter’s daily and license year bag limit for deer.
  • Licenses, tag validation, and checking requirements for elk are the same as for deer.
  • It is unlawful to destroy the identity (sex) of any harvested elk until checked. Elk may be dismembered to pack it out from the place of kill. The identity of the sex and all parts of the carcass must be present when the elk is checked.
  • Slingbows cannot be used.

Successful hunters, upon checking an elk, must contact the Department at (804) 367-0044 to schedule the collection of biological samples for disease testing. This number is intended only to make arrangements to obtain tissue samples from harvested elk. No other game checking or other wildlife issues will be answered using this number. For general wildlife questions, call (804) 367-1000 during normal business hours.

Do Not Feed Deer or Elk

Department regulation makes it illegal to place or distribute food, salt, or minerals to feed or attract deer or elk:

  • from September 1 through first Saturday in January statewide.
  • year-round in Buchanan, Clarke, Dickenson, Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, and Wise counties (including the cities and towns within).
  • in any city, town, or county during any deer or elk hunting season.
  • Nor, upon written notification by Department personnel, shall any person continue to place or distribute any food, salt, mineral or similar substances for any purpose if the placement of these materials results in the attraction of and/or feeding of deer. No part of this regulation shall be construed to restrict bonafide agronomic plantings (including wildlife food plots) or distribution of food to livestock.