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Deer Hunting Seasons

Hunting Regulations Icon Virginia Hunting

Archery Deer Seasons

Early Archery Season

October 1 through November 18:

Statewide.

Late Archery Season

December 4 through January 7:

  • 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.

  • In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amherst (west of Route 29), Bedford, and Nelson (west of Route 151).

December 5 through January 7:

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

December 1 through January 7:

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

December 18 through January 7:

  • 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 Season

During this season only antlerless deer may be taken.

March 27, 2017 through April 30, 2017:

  • 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.

September 3 through 30 and
January 8, 2017 through March 26, 2017:

  • Within the incorporated limits of the cities of 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, Chatham, Christiansburg, Farmville, Front Royal, Halifax, Hurt, Independence, Irvington, Kenbridge, Pearisburg, Pulaski, Richlands, Rocky Mount, Saltville, Smithfield, Stuart, Tazewell, West Point, and Wytheville; and in the counties of Chesterfield, 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 orange on the Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Weekend.
  • Lists of properties available for hunting are not maintained by the Department or local governments.
  • Go to www.HuntFishVA.com/hunting/urban-archery 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 for details.

  • Archery tackle (including crossbows).
  • 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.
  • 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 orange, except when physically located in a tree stand or other stationary hunting locations.

Early Muzzleloader Season

November 5 through 18:

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 5 through 18 (full season):

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

  • November 12: 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 5 through 18 (full season):

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

November 12 and November14 through November 18:

  • On private lands in Botetourt County.

November 12:

  • On private lands in Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Bland, Craig, Giles, Highland, Page, Pulaski, Rockbridge, Rockingham (except on private lands west of Routes 613 and 731), Scott, Smyth, Washington, and Wythe counties.

Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days:

  • On National Forest and Department-owned lands in all counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • On private lands in Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Rockingham (west of Routes 613 and 731), Russell, Tazewell, and Wise counties.
  • On Channels State Forest, Grayson Highlands State Park, PALS (Public Access Lands) in Dickenson County, and Flannagan Reservoir.

Late Muzzleloader Season East of the Blue Ridge

December 17 through January 7:

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 17 through

January 7 (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 2 through 7:

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

January 7:

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

Late Muzzleloader Season West of the Blue Ridge

December 17 through January 7:

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 17 through

January 7 (full season):

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

January 2 through 7:

  • On private lands in Augusta, Bland, Botetourt, Craig, Giles, Page, Pulaski, Rockbridge, Rockingham (except on private lands west of Routes 613 and 731), Scott, Smyth, Washington, and Wythe counties.
  • On National Forest and Department-owned lands in Carroll, Craig, Bland, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, and Wythe counties.

January 7:

  • On private lands in Alleghany, Bath, Dickenson (north of Route 83), Highland, Lee, Rockingham (west of Routes 613 and 731), Russell, Tazewell, and Wise counties.
  • On National Forest and Department-owned lands in Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Botetourt, Dickenson (north of Route 83), Frederick, Grayson, Highland, Lee, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Scott, Shenandoah, Smyth, Tazewell, Warren, Washington, and Wise counties.
  • On Channels State Forest, Grayson Highlands State Park, and Flannagan Reservoir.

Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days:

  • On private lands in Buchanan and Dickenson (south of Route 83) counties.
  • On PALS (Public Access Lands) in Dickenson 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 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 (.38 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.
  • 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 (east of the Dismal Swamp line), and Virginia Beach and in the cities and towns of Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties and only with the weapons (archery tackle and/or muzzleloaders) authorized by each individual city or town.
  • Muzzleloader deer hunters and persons accompanying a muzzleloader deer hunter shall wear blaze orange, except when physically located in a tree stand or other stationary hunting location.

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.

Tree Stand Safety Guidelines

  • Use a full-body safety harness to secure yourself to the tree. Stay attached whenever you are off the ground. Minimize slack in the tether so that if you fall, it will not be very far. This reduces the risk of injury and may allow you to climb back into your stand. Hanging in a harness for a long time may cause irreversible injury or death. Have a plan for self-rescue.
  • Never climb with equipment; use a haul line to get your unloaded gun or bow into and out of the tree stand. Crossbows may be raised while cocked, but should never be loaded with an arrow until you are securely in the stand and ready to hunt. It can be dangerous to try to cock a crossbow while in a tree.
  • Keep manufactured tree stands in good working condition. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Many falls occur because of the failure of homemade stands, especially as they age. It is best to avoid them.
  • While most manufactured tree stands are safe if used properly, they are occasionally found to be defective and recalled. To find out if your stand has been recalled, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website at www.CPSC.gov.

Additional Information on safety harnesses:
www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/education

Firearms Deer Seasons

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

2016-17_deer_map_revised

November 19
through December 3

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*, Shenandoah, Warren*, and Wythe.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 19 through December 3 (full season):

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 26 and December 3: On National Forest lands and Department-owned lands in Carroll and Roanoke counties and on National Forest lands in Craig, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, and Wythe counties and on Big Survey WMA.
  • December 3: On National Forest lands and Department-owned lands in Botetourt County and on National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, Nelson, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.
  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On National Forest lands in Grayson County and on portions of Grayson Highlands State Park. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

November 19 through
December 3

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

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 26, December 2 and 3:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • December 3: On National Forest and Department-owned lands in Rockbridge County and on National Forest lands in Page County
  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On National Forest lands in Lee and Tazewell counties and on Clinch Mountain WMA, Channels State Forest, and Hidden Valley WMA. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

November 19 through January 7

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, Greensville, Hanover, Henrico, Isle of Wight, James City, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun*, Madison, Northampton, Northumberland, Orange, Prince George, Prince William*, Rappahannock*, Richmond, Southampton, Stafford, Suffolk (west of the Dismal Swamp line), Surry, Sussex, West­moreland, 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.
  • 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* a special landowner permit is required to firearms deer hunt on private lands. Contact the Div. of Animal Control, 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 for details. No special police permit is required for archery deer hunting.

Season Exception:

November 19 through December 3:

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

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 19 through

January 7 (full season):

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 26, December 3, December 10, and December 12 through January 7: On Rapidan WMA.
  • November 26 and January 7: On G.R. Thompson WMA.
  • November 26 and December 3: On C.F. Phelps WMA.
  • December 3: On National Forest lands in Frederick County.
  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On the Carlisle Tract of the Hog Island WMA, and 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 3 through 30

Late: January 8, 2017 through March 26, 2017

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. To firearms deer hunt on private lands in Fairfax County a special landowner permit is required (see above).

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 19 through January 7

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Dinwiddie, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, and Prince Edward.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 26, December 3, and January 2 through 7:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 26, December 3, December 10, and December 12 through January 7: On Featherfin WMA (by quota hunt only).
  • November 26, December 3, and January 2 through 7: On Briery Creek, Dick Cross, and Horsepen Lake WMAs.
  • November 26 and December 3: On Appomattox-Buckingham and Prince Edward State Forests.

November 19 through January 7

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amelia, Caroline, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Fluvanna, King and Queen, King William, and Powhatan.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 26, December 3, and December 26 through January 7:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 26, December 3, and December 26 through January 7: On Powhatan WMA.
  • November 26, December 3 and January 2 though 7: On Amelia and Mattaponi WMAs.
  • November 26 and December 3:On Cumberland State Forest.

November 19 through
December 3

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

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 26 and November 28 through December 3:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • December 3: On National Forest and Department-owned lands in Augusta County, and on National Forest lands in Rockingham County and on private lands west of Routes 613 and 731 in Rockingham County.
  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: 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 19 through December 17

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

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 26, December 3, and December 5 through 17:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 26 and December 12 through 17: 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 8, October 15, and November 18 through November 30: In all areas.

November 19 through December 3

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 19 through December 17

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

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 19 through December 17 (full season):

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 26 and December 12 through 17: On Philpott Reservoir and Turkeycock Mountain WMA.

November 19 through January 7

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amherst (east of Rt. 29), Campbell, Charles City, Essex, Gloucester, Goochland, Halifax, Louisa, Mathews, Middlesex, Nelson (east of Rt. 151), New Kent, 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 26, December 3, December 10, and December 12 through January 7:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 26 and January 2 through 7: On James River WMA.
  • November 26 and January 7: On White Oak Mountain WMA.
  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On Chickahominy WMA. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

November 19 through
December 3

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

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

November 26 and December 3:

In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 26 and December 3: On National Forest lands in Bland County.
  • December 3: On National Forest lands in Alleghany County and on National Forest and Department-owned lands in Bath and Highland counties.

*Denotes Earn a Buck (EAB) County