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Deer Hunting Regulations

Hunting Regulations Icon Virginia Hunting

General Information

Bag Limits

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).

Exception

  • 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 one 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).

Exceptions

  • The daily bag limit for deer shall be two a day on private lands in Clarke, Frederick, Roanoke, Shenandoah, and Warren counties (including the cities and towns within).
  • If a deer hunter kills two antlered bucks in a license year in Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge, Rockingham, or Shenandoah County, at least one of the bucks must have at least four antler points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers.

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.

Bonus Deer Permits

  • 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.

Antlered and Antlerless Deer

Deer Tags

  • 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

  • Antlered deer must have antlers visible above the hairline.
  • An antlered deer must be tagged with an either-sex deer tag.

Antlerless Deer

  • 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 Antlerless Deer Regulation provisions.
  • 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. When checking a shed-antlered buck by telephone or Internet, it should be checked as an antlered deer with zero antler points.

Antler Point Restrictions

Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge, Rockingham, and Shenandoah 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.

Fairystone and Featherfin WMAs

On the Quality Deer Management Area of the Fairystone WMA and Featherfin WMA a legal antlered deer is a deer with at least four antler points, one inch or longer, on one side.