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Deer Hunting Seasons

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Archery Deer Seasons

Early Archery Season

October 6 through November 16:

Statewide.

Late Archery Season

December 2 through January 5:

  • In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amherst (west of Route 29), Bedford, and Nelson (west of Route 151).
  • In all areas west of the Blue Ridge unless noted in the season exception below.Season Exception: Clarke and Floyd counties and on private lands in Frederick County.

December 3 through January 5:

  • On the Chester F. Phelps WMA and on National Forest Lands in Frederick County.

December 1 through January 5:

  • In the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line), and Virginia Beach.

December 16 through January 5:

  • In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Floyd, Franklin, Henry, and Patrick.

Archery Either-Sex Deer Hunting

Deer of either sex may be taken full season during the early and late archery deer seasons, including the cities of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp Line), unless otherwise noted below.

  • Only antlered deer may be taken during the early and late archery deer seasons on Coalfield PALS (Public Access Lands) in Dickenson and Wise counties.

Northern VA Late Antlerless-only Archery Season

During this season only antlerless deer may be taken.

April 1, 2019 through April 28, 2019:

  • In Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties (including the cities and towns within).

Urban Archery Deer Seasons

During this season only antlerless deer may be taken. Earn A Buck (EAB) applies to all the cities (except Chesapeake and Suffolk) and all the towns listed below and in the counties of Fairfax, Prince William (except DOD land), and Roanoke (except on National Forest and Department-owned lands). See Deer Hunting Earn a Buck.

September 1 through October 5 and January 6, 2019 through March 31, 2019:

  • Within the incorporated limits of the cities of Charlottesville, Chesapeake (except on Department-owned lands), Colonial Heights, Danville, Emporia, Franklin, Fredericksburg, Galax, Hopewell, Lexington, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Newport News, Poquoson, Radford, Richmond, Staunton, Suffolk, and Winchester; and in the towns of Altavista, Amherst, Bedford, Blacksburg, Blackstone, Boones Mill, Buchanan, Chatham, Christiansburg, Farmville, Front Royal, Halifax, Hurt, Independence, Irvington, Kenbridge, Pearisburg, Pulaski, Richlands, Rocky Mount, Saltville, Smithfield, Stuart, Tazewell, Victoria, West Point, and Wytheville; and in the counties of Chesterfield (may be limited to certain areas, see website), Fairfax, James City, Prince William (except DOD land), Roanoke (except on National Forest and Department-owned lands), Stafford, and York.
  • Archery or crossbow deer hunters hunting during the early urban archery deer season are required to wear blaze color on the Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Weekend. For exceptions to the blaze colored requirement see General Hunting Information.
  • Lists of properties available for hunting are not maintained by the Department or local governments.
  • Go to www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/urban-archery-season for local restrictions and other urban archery information.
  • All other “normal” deer regulations apply (e.g., daily and season bag limits, tagging and checking, DMAP, DCAP, EAB, special antler restrictions, etc.).

Legal Methods and Restrictions During Archery Deer Seasons

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

  • Archery tackle.
  • Persons with a disability that prevents them from drawing a bow or crossbow may hunt with an arrowgun during the special archery season provided they have in possession an authorization form provided by the Department that has been completed by their physician.
  • Broadhead widths must be at least 7/8-inch wide or expand upon impact to 7/8-inch.
  • It is unlawful to use explosive head arrows or arrows to which any drug, chemical, or toxic substance has been added.
  • It is unlawful to use dogs, except that dogs may be used to track wounded or dead deer (see Hunting with Dogs, General Hunting Information).
  • It is unlawful to have a firearm in possession except that a muzzleloading firearm, as defined in the muzzleloader deer seasons section, may also be in possession when and where there is an overlap with a muzzleloading deer season where deer hunting with a rifle or muzzleloading firearm is permitted. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders on General Hunting Information.)

Muzzleloader Deer Seasons

In all areas where hunting with a muzzleloading rifle is permitted.

Note: Deer hunters west of the Blue Ridge Mountains may take both of their season limit of two antlered deer during the early muzzleloading season.

Muzzleloader deer hunters and persons accompanying a muzzleloader deer hunter shall wear blaze color, except when physically located in a tree stand or other stationary hunting locations.

Early Muzzleloader Season

November 3 through 16:

There is no early muzzleloader season in the cities of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, or Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line) since it occurs during the general firearms season.

Antlered deer may be taken every day of the season. Antleress deer may only be taken on the designated either-sex deer hunting days listed below.

Either-sex Deer Hunting East of the Blue Ridge:

November 3 through 16 (full season):

In all areas (including Merrimac Farm WMA and Occoneechee State Park) unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 10: On State Forest lands, State Park lands (except Occoneechee State Park), Department-owned lands (except Merrimac Farm WMA), and Philpott Reservoir.
  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

Either-sex Deer Hunting West of the Blue Ridge:

November 3 through 16 (full season):
  • On private lands in Carroll, Clarke, Floyd, Frederick, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, Scott, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.
November 10 and November 12 through November 16:
  • On private lands in Botetourt County.
November 10:
  • On private lands in Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Bland, Craig, Giles, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham (except on private lands west of Routes 613 and 731), Smyth, Washington, and Wythe counties, and on the Highland WMA.
Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days:
  • On all National Forest and Department-owned lands in all counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains (except the Highland WMA).
  • In Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Rockingham (west of Routes 613 and 731), Russell, Tazewell, and Wise counties.
  • On Channels State Forest, Grayson Highlands State Park, Hungry Mother State Park, PALS (Public Access Lands) in Dickenson County, and Flannagan Reservoir.
  • Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies (except on public and private lands in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties).

Late Muzzleloader Season East of the Blue Ridge

December 15 through January 5:

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amherst (west of Route 29), Bedford, Franklin, Henry, Nelson (west of Route 151), and Patrick, and in the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line), and Virginia Beach.

Either-sex Deer Hunting East of the Blue Ridge:

December 15 through
January 5 (full season):
  • In the counties of Amherst (west of Route 29 except on National Forest lands), Bedford (except on National Forest lands), Franklin, Henry, Nelson (west of Route 151 except on National Forest lands), and Patrick.
December 31 through January 5:
  • In the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line), and Virginia Beach.
January 5:
  • On National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties.

Late Muzzleloader Season West of the Blue Ridge

December 15 through January 5:

Season Exception:
  • There is no late muzzleloader season in Clarke County and on private lands in Frederick County since it occurs during the general firearms season.

Either-sex Deer Hunting West of the Blue Ridge:

December 15 through
January 5 (full season):
  • On private lands in Carroll, Floyd, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.
December 31 through January 5:
  • On private lands in Augusta, Bland, Botetourt, Craig, Giles, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham (except on private lands west of Routes 613 and 731), Scott, Smyth, Washington, and Wythe counties.
January 5:
  • In Alleghany, Bath, Dickenson, Highland, Lee, Rockingham (west of Routes 613 and 731), Russell, Tazewell, and Wise counties.
  • On all National Forest and Department-owned lands in all counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • On Channels State Forest, Grayson Highlands State Park, and Hungry Mother State Park.
Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days:
  • In Buchanan County. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation does not apply.

Legal Methods and Restrictions During Muzzleloading Deer Seasons

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.

  • Only muzzleloading firearms, .45 caliber or larger, loaded from the muzzle of the gun.
  • Muzzleloading firearms must be single shot, capable of firing only a single bullet or saboted bullet (.35 caliber or larger).
  • Flintlock, percussion, or electronic ignitions are permitted.
  • Must use at least 50 grains of black powder or black powder equivalent.
  • Muzzleloading pistols which meet the four restrictions listed above are legal.
  • It is unlawful to have in immediate possession any firearm other than a muzzleloading firearm while hunting with a muzzleloader. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders on General Hunting Information.)
  • Smokeless powder is allowed in muzzleloading firearms designed for it. Never use smokeless powder in a muzzleloading firearm that is not specifically designed for it.
  • Scopes are permitted.
  • For the purposes of transportation in a vehicle, muzzleloading firearms are considered “unloaded” when all powder has been removed from the flashpan, or the percussion cap, primer, or battery has been removed from the firearm.
  • Arrowguns are allowed.
  • It is unlawful to hunt deer with dogs, except that dogs may be used to track wounded or dead deer (see Hunting with Dogs, General Hunting Information).
  • It is lawful to carry archery tackle when and where there is an overlap with a deer archery and muzzleloader season.

Muzzleloader Either-Sex Deer Hunting for Incorporated Cities and Towns

  • Deer of either sex may be taken full season during the muzzleloader seasons within the incorporated limits of any city or town in the Commonwealth that allows deer hunting (except in the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach) and only with the weapons (archery tackle and/or muzzleloaders) authorized by each individual city or town.
  • Earn a buck applies to all cities and towns except Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach (see Deer Hunting Earn a Buck).

Bowhunters Needed for Survey

The Department has an ongoing statewide bowhunter survey to obtain information on bear, deer, turkey, small game, and furbearer populations. Participants will receive an annual survey form to complete during the early archery deer season and a copy of the results after they are compiled. To participate, please contact Mike Fies with your mailing address at mike.fies@dgif.virginia.gov.