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Deer/Elk Hunting Information

Hunting Regulations Icon Virginia Hunting

It is illegal to possess or use deer scents or lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily

fluids while taking, attempting to take, attracting, or scouting wildlife in Virginia.

Firearms Either-sex Deer Hunting For Incorporated Cities and Towns

  • Deer of either sex may be taken full season in the incorporated limits of any city or town in Virginia that allows deer hunting (except in the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach), but only with the specific weapons 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.

Legal Methods and Restrictions During Firearms Deer Seasons

Special restrictions apply to specific firearms use during this season. See Legal Use of Firearms, General Hunting Information, and Local Firearms Ordinances for details.

  • Modern firearms.
  • Arrowguns are allowed
  • Air rifles must be .35 caliber or larger
  • Hunters are allowed to use archery tackle or muzzleloading firearms to deer hunt during the firearms deer season with the following conditions:
    • all hunters are required to comply with the either-sex deer hunting days for the firearms deer season.
    • use of muzzleloading firearms is allowed only if not otherwise restricted.
    • muzzleloader deer hunters must wear blaze color during the firearms deer season.
    • archery deer hunters must wear blaze color during the firearms deer season except when hunting in areas where the discharge of firearms is prohibited.

Dogs May Not Be Used For Deer Hunting

  • West of the Blue Ridge.
  • East of the Blue Ridge in Bedford, Fairfax, Franklin, Henry, Loudoun, Northampton, and Patrick counties, and Amherst (west of Rt. 29), Campbell (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Nelson (west of Rt. 151), Pittsylvania (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), and the City of Lynchburg.
  • On Sunday while in possession of a weapon.
  • When hunting during archery and muzzle­loading seasons and on the Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Weekend.
  • On many military areas. Check individual Post regulations.
  • On Amelia, Cavalier, Doe Creek, Featherfin, Mattaponi, Merrimac Farm, Oakley Forest, Parker’s Branch Tract on Big Woods, Pettigrew, Chester F. Phelps, G. Richard Thompson, and Ware Creek Wildlife Management Areas.
  • During the first 14 hunting days of the firearms deer season in Madison and Greene counties.

Tracking Dogs

Allowed (see General Hunting Information for details).

Elk Hunting

Elk hunting is closed in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise Counties.

In All Areas Outside of Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise Counties:

Any elk (bull, cow, or calf) can be taken on any day of an open deer season (archery, muzzleloader, or firearms) in the county/locality in which the individual is hunting. Legal weapons for taking elk coincide with legal weapons for deer during that specific season except that elk may not be taken with a slingbow or air rifle.

Checking requirements for elk are the same as those for deer, but the animal should be checked in as an elk. Successful elk hunters must contact the Department at (804)367-0044 to schedule a time for collection of biological samples. This number is ONLY intended for making arrangements for tissue sample collection from harvested elk. It is illegal to destroy the sex identity of any harvested elk until checked. Elk may be dismembered to pack it out of the place of kill but the sex and all parts of the carcass (except internal organs) must be present when the elk is checked.

  • The taking of an elk counts toward a hunter’s daily and seasonal bag limits for deer.
    • An animal with antlers above the hairline counts toward a hunter’s either-sex (buck) deer limit.
    • An animal without antlers counts toward a hunter’s daily and seasonal antlerless deer limit.
  • Elk cannot be harvested on DPOP, DMAP, or DCAP tags.