Deer Hunting Regulations
East of the Blue Ridge (except on National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties)
The bag limit for deer shall be two a day, six a license year. Of the six-deer limit, no more than three may be antlered deer and at least three must be antlerless deer (unless noted in the exception below).
- The daily bag limit for deer shall be unlimited in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties (including the cities and towns within). However, no more than three antlered deer may be killed in a license year.
West of the Blue Ridge and on National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties
The bag limit for deer shall be two a day and five a license year. Of the five-deer limit, no more than two may be antlered deer and at least three must be antlerless deer (unless noted in the exceptions below).
- Only one deer per day may be taken on National Forest lands statewide and Department-owned and Department-managed lands west of the Blue Ridge.
- If a deer hunter kills two antlered bucks in a license year in Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Highland, or Rockbridge County, at least one of the bucks must have at least four antler points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers.
- Only one elk per day may be taken statewide.
Bag Limit Exceptions
- Deer hunters, including those exempt from purchasing a license, on private land and authorized public lands may take more than the license-year bag limit of antlerless deer by using bonus deer permits or special permits (DCAP, DMAP, and DPOP).
- DCAP, DMAP, and DPOP tags do not count against the daily or season bag limit.
Antlered and Antlerless Deer
- Either-sex deer tags (commonly called “buck” tags) may be used on antlered or antlerless deer.
- Antlerless-only deer tags (commonly called “doe” tags) may only be used on antlerless deer.
- Antlered deer must have antlers visible above the hairline.
- An antlered deer must be tagged with an either-sex deer tag.
- Antlerless deer may only be taken during designated either-sex deer hunting days during the archery season(s), muzzleloading season(s), and firearms season(s). Youth deer hunters, see Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Weekend and Youth and Apprentice Antlerless Deer Regulation provisions on Deer Hunting Youth Hunting.
- Antlerless deer (does, button bucks, and shed-antlered bucks) may be tagged with an antlerless-only deer tag or an either-sex deer tag.
- Button bucks, male fawns approximately six months old, are considered antlerless deer. The hair covered bumps on a button buck’s head are not antlers. They are the pedicels from which the antlers will grow the next year.
- Antlered deer that have shed their antlers, usually in late December or early January, are also considered antlerless deer.
Antler Point Restrictions
Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Highland, and Rockbridge Counties
If a deer hunter kills two antlered bucks in a license year, at least one of the bucks must have at least four antler points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers (in each of the counties listed above).
Wildlife Management Areas
Antler point restrictions (APRs) are in effect on the Parkers Branch Tract of the Big Woods WMA, the Quality Deer Management area/portion of the Fairystone WMA, all of the Featherfin WMA. Antlered deer must have at least four antler points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers to be legally harvested. See informational kiosks at these locations for specific details and APR boundaries.
- Are valid for one year from date of purchase.
- Are valid for antlerless deer only.
- Are valid only on private lands and authorized public lands.
- Are valid only on designated either-sex deer hunting days.
- Are valid during all archery, muzzleloader, and firearms deer seasons.
- Allow deer to be taken in addition to the license year bag limit.
- Do not allow the daily bag limit to be exceeded.
- Are not valid on National Forest and Department-owned lands.
- Are not valid in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties.
- Come with no restriction on number that may be purchased and used.
Q: Are deer cover scents/lures legal in Virginia?
A: Yes, but there are two restrictions. First, they are illegal if they are used in a way where a deer can lick or consume it. A good rule of thumb about these products is if a deer can only smell it, it is a cover scent and it is legal. If a deer can lick and ingest it, it is considered bait and it is illegal. Second, the possession or use of deer scents/lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids from deer is also illegal.
Q: Five western counties have an antler point restriction (APR) limiting deer hunters to killing one small antlered buck per license year. If I deer hunt in two of these counties, can I legally kill a small buck in one APR county and then another small buck in a second APR county in the same license year?
A: Yes, the APR restrictions are county specific.
Q: In the five counties with an antler point restriction is there a specific order in which the deer must be killed within each county?
A: No. The rule limits hunters to killing one small buck per year. It does not specify the order. For example, if a hunter killed a small buck first, his or her next buck would have to be a big buck (have 4 or more points on one side). However, if they killed a big buck first, their second buck could legally be a small buck or a second big buck.