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Deer Hunting Seasons

Hunting Regulations Icon Virginia Hunting

Archery Deer Seasons

Early Archery Season

October 7 through November 17:

Statewide.

Late Archery Season

December 3 through January 6:

  • 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 4 through January 6:

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

December 1 through January 6:

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

December 17 through January 6:

  • 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 PALS (Public Access Lands) in Dickenson County.

Northern VA Late Antlerless-only Archery Season

During this season only antlerless deer may be taken.

March 26, 2018 through April 29, 2018:

  • 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 and Roanoke (except on National Forest and Department-owned lands).

September 2 through October 6 and January 7, 2018 through March 25, 2018:

  • 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, Poquoson, Radford, Richmond, Staunton, Suffolk, and Winchester; and in the towns of Altavista, Amherst, Bedford, Blacksburg, Blackstone, Boones Mill, 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, Roanoke (except on National Forest and Department-owned lands), 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.
  • 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, and Local Firearms Ordinances.

  • Archery tackle.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 4 through 17:

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

Either-sex Deer Hunting East of the Blue Ridge:

November 4 through 17 (full season):

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

  • November 11: 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.

Either-sex Deer Hunting West of the Blue Ridge:

November 4 through 17 (full season):

  • On private lands in Carroll, Clarke, Floyd, Frederick, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, Scott, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.

November 11 and November 13 through November 17:

  • On private lands in Botetourt County.

November 11:

  • 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.

Late Muzzleloader Season East of the Blue Ridge

December 16 through January 6:

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 16 through

January 6 (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.

January 1 through 6:

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

January 6:

  • On National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties.

Late Muzzleloader Season West of the Blue Ridge

December 16 through January 6:

Season Exception:

  • Closed 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 16 through

January 6 (full season):

  • On private lands in Carroll, Floyd, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.

January 1 through 6:

  • 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 6:

  • 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.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • It is unlawful to hunt deer with dogs, except that dogs may be used to track wounded or dead deer (see Hunting with Dogs.
  • It is lawful to carry archery tackle when and where there is an overlap with a deer archery and muzzleloading season.
  • Deer of either sex may be taken full season during the muzzleloading 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.
  • 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 location.

Firearms Deer Season

*Denotes Earn a Buck (EAB) County

Antlerless deer may only be taken on designated either-sex deer hunting days.

November 18 through December 2

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amherst (west of Rt. 29), Bedford*, Botetourt, Carroll, Craig, Giles, Grayson, Montgomery*, Nelson (west of Rt. 151), Pulaski, Roanoke*, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren*, and Wythe.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 18 through December 2 (full season):

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 25 and December 2: On National Forest lands and Department-owned lands in Carroll County and on National Forest lands in Craig, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, and Wythe counties and on Big Survey WMA.
  • December 2: On private lands west of Routes 613 and 731 in Rockingham County.
  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On National Forest and Department-owned lands in Botetourt and Roanoke counties and on National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, Grayson, Nelson, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren counties and on portions of Grayson Highlands State Park, Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

November 18 through December 2

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Lee, Page, Rockbridge, Russell, and Tazewell.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 25, December 1 and 2:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On National Forest and Department-owned lands in Rockbridge County, on National Forest lands in Lee, Page, and Tazewell counties, and on Clinch Mountain and Hidden Valley WMAs, and Channels State Forest. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

November 18 through January 6

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Accomack, Albemarle, Arlington*, Clarke*, Culpeper (see season exception for C. F. Phelps WMA below), Fairfax*, Fauquier* (see season exception for C. F. Phelps WMA below), Frederick* (see season exception for National Forest lands below), Greene, Hanover, Henrico, Isle of Wight, James City, Loudoun*, Madison, Northampton, Orange, Prince George, Prince William*, Rappahannock*, Southampton, Stafford, Suffolk (west of the Dismal Swamp line), Surry, Sussex, and York.

  • In Arlington County*, City of Hampton*, and City of Richmond* (in the City of Richmond: archery only, no special permit is required for archery deer hunting). Note: Local Ordinances prohibit the discharge of firearms in these areas (see Local Firearms Ordinances.
  • In the City of Lynchburg* (on private lands for which a special permit has been issued by the Chief of Police).
  • In the City of Newport News*: archery only, no special permit is required for archery deer hunting.
  • In Fairfax County*, firearm hunting is restricted by location and parcel size. Contact the Div. of Animal Control, 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 for details. No parcel size restrictions exist for archery deer hunting.

Season Exception:

November 18 through December 2:

On C.F. Phelps WMA and National Forest lands in Frederick County.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 18 through

January 6 (full season):

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 25, December 2, and December 9 through January 6: On Rapidan WMA.
  • November 25 and January 6: On G.R. Thompson WMA.
  • November 25 and December 2: On C.F. Phelps WMA.
  • November 25, December 2, and January 1 through 6: On the Big Woods WMA (including the Parkers Branch Tract) and Big Woods State Forest.
  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On National Forest lands in Frederick County, on the Carlisle and Stewart tracts of the Hog Island WMA, and on the Ragged Island WMA. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

Northern VA Early and Late Anterless-only Firearms Deer Seasons

During these seasons only antlerless deer may be taken.

Early: September 2 through October 6

Late: January 7, 2018 through March 25, 2018

In the counties of Arlington*, Fairfax*, Loudoun*, and Prince William* (including the cities and towns within). Local firearm ordinances prohibit the discharge of firearms in Arlington County. In Fairfax County*, firearm hunting is restricted by location and parcel size. Contact the Div. of Animal Control, 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 for details. No parcel size restrictions exist for archery deer hunting.

All legal deer hunting weapons including bows, crossbows, muzzleloaders, pistols, shotguns, and rifles are legal. Local firearm ordinances still apply.

All other “normal” deer regulations apply (e.g., daily and season bag limits, tagging and checking, DCAP, DMAP, EAB, etc.).

November 18 through January 6

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Caroline, Charlotte, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Essex, Gloucester, Greensville, King & Queen, King William, Lunenburg, Mathews, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, Nottoway, and Prince Edward.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 25, December 2, and January 1 through 6:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 25, December 2, and December 9 through January 6: On Featherfin WMA (by quota hunt only).
  • November 25, December 2, and January 1 through 6: On Briery Creek, Dick Cross, Horsepen Lake, and Mattaponi WMAs.
  • November 25 and December 2: On Appomattox-Buckingham and Prince Edward State Forests.

November 18 through January 6

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amelia, Charles City, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Halifax, King George, Lancaster, New Kent, Northumberland, Powhatan, Richmond and Westmoreland.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 25, December 2, and December 25 through January 6:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 25, December 2, and December 25 through January 6: On Powhatan WMA.
  • November 25, December 2, and January 1 through 6: On Amelia WMA.
  • November 25 and December 2: On Cumberland State Forest.
  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On Chickahominy WMA. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

November 18 through December 2

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Augusta, Scott, Smyth, and Washington.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 25 and November 27 through December 2:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On National Forest and Department-owned lands in Augusta County and on National Forest lands in Scott, Smyth, and Washington counties, and on Clinch Mountain and Hidden Valley WMAs, Hungry Mother State Park, and Channels State Forest. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

November 18 through December 16

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Henry and Patrick.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 25, December 2, and December 4 through 16:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 25 and December 11 through 16: On Fairystone Farms and Turkeycock Mountain WMAs, designated areas of Fairystone State Park, and Philpott Reservoir.

October 1 through November 30

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

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

October 14, October 21, and November 18 through November 30: In all areas.

November 18 through December 2

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days in all areas.

Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation does not apply.

November 18 through December 16

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Floyd and Franklin.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 18 through December 16 (full season):

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 25 and December 11 through 16: On Philpott Reservoir and Turkeycock Mountain WMA.

November 18 through January 6

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amherst (east of Rt. 29), Campbell, Goochland, Louisa, Nelson (east of Rt. 151), Pittsylvania and Spotsylvania. Note: Dogs may not be used for deer hunting in Campbell County (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad) and in Pittsylvania County (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad).

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 25, December 2, and

December 9 through January 6:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 25 and January 1 through 6: On James River WMA.
  • November 25 and January 6: On White Oak Mountain WMA.

November 18 through December 2

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Alleghany, Bath, Bland, and Highland.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 25 and December 2:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 25 and December 2: On National Forest lands in Bland County and on the Highland WMA.
  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer
  • hunting days: On National Forest and Department-owned lands in Bath County and on National Forest lands in Alleghany and Highland counties. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.