Public Hunting Lands
Wildlife Management Areas
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries maintains 41 management areas totaling more than 200,000 acres for the benefit of all citizens for a variety of wildlife-related outdoor recreational opportunities. Thirty-nine management areas are open for some type of hunting. These lands are purchased and maintained with hunting, fishing, and trapping license fees and with Federal Assistance in Wildlife Restoration funds, derived from the sale of hunting-related equipment. We encourage the public to visit these areas to enjoy wildlife, habitats, and the bountiful natural resources found there.
* Some or all hunting by quota drawing.
** Hunting is not allowed.
# Managed hunt opportunities offered.
Wildlife Management Area: General Rules and Regulations
These lands are held in trust by the Department to conserve habitat for wildlife. The goal of the Wildlife Management Area system is to: Maintain and enhance habitats that support game and nongame wildlife while providing opportunities to hunt, fish, trap, and view wildlife. Other uses of WMAs may be allowed by written authorization of the Director, as long as they do not interfere with the goals and uses of WMAs.
NOTE: Not all activities listed below are available on each WMA, check our website at www.dgif.virginia.gov/wma for specific WMA information.
- Any person 17 years of age or older accessing a DGIF Wildlife Management Area or Fishing Lake must have in possession one of the following valid Virginia licenses/permits: freshwater fishing license, hunting license, trapping license, boat registration, or DGIF Access Permit.
- Primitive camping is permitted for up to 21 consecutive days when occupants are engaged in authorized activities. No more than 3 camping units are permitted per site.
- Camping is prohibited on or within 100 yards of any boat ramp, fishing lake, or at other specific sites as posted.
- It is unlawful to leave a campfire unattended. From February 15 to April 30 campfires are allowed only between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and midnight.
Disabled Hunter Access
- Trails are open to manual and power wheelchairs and personal mobility assistive scooters (for indoor/outdoor use) designed primarily to assist people with disabilities. Individuals are encouraged to use caution when selecting trails, as many were designed for foot traffic only. Terrain may make them unsuitable for personal mobility devices.
- Electric vehicles up to 54 inches in width are permitted only on designated trails.
- It is lawful to chase with dogs or train dogs on Department-owned lands only during authorized hunting, chase, or training seasons that specifically permit these activities.
- Dogs must be leashed at all times outside of open hunting, chase, or training seasons.
- It is unlawful to have in possession or in a vehicle a bow, crossbow, or any firearm that is not unloaded and cased or dismantled:
- While on Department-owned lands west of the Blue Ridge except when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey, or waterfowl.
- While on Department-owned lands east of the Blue Ridge except when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey, waterfowl, or migratory game birds.
- Except when possessing a permit issued by the Department.
- Except when possessing a handgun and a valid concealed carry permit issued by a Circuit Court.
- It is unlawful to possess or transport a loaded gun in or on any vehicle at any time on a WMA.
- Target shooting is permitted only on designated ranges.
Fishing, Boating, & Swimming
- Refer to the current Virginia Freshwater Fishing Regulations digest and posted signs for special fishing rules which apply to this WMA.
- It is unlawful to use boats propelled by a gasoline motor, sail, or mechanically operated recreational paddle wheel unless otherwise posted.
- Swimming is prohibited unless otherwise posted. Anglers, hunters, and trappers actively engaged in fishing, hunting, or trapping may wade in public waters.
- Only rod and reel angling is permitted. All other methods of take (trotlines, juglines, limblines, etc.) are prohibited.
- Activities involving groups of more than 12 persons require written authorization from the Department.
- Display or consumption of alcoholic beverages in public is prohibited.
- Commercial activities are prohibited except by written authorization from the Department.
Horseback/Bicycle Riding & Hiking
- Horseback and bicycle riding only on roads and trails designated for these uses. No riding in cultivated or planted fields, or on eroded areas.
- Hiking is welcome.
- Riders, cyclists, and hikers should be mindful of all open hunting and trapping seasons. Please avoid engaging in these activities when they may interfere with hunters, anglers, and wildlife watchers.
- A blaze colored hat or clothing is recommended for non-hunters during hunting seasons.
Hunting & Trapping
- Refer to the current Hunting & Trapping in Virginia guide and posted signs for special hunting or trapping rules which apply to the wildlife management areas.
Resource & Property Damage
- It is unlawful to construct or occupy any permanent structure (including a permanently-affixed tree stand) except by Department permit.
- It is unlawful to cut, mutilate, destroy, or remove vegetation or to remove other minerals, artifacts or other property from this area. Metal detecting/artifact hunting is prohibited.
- Berry picking and gathering of mushrooms or other fruits is allowed.
- It is unlawful to damage, deface, or remove any building, gate, fence, sign or other property.
- No posting of unauthorized signs, notices, and flyers anywhere on the WMA.
Special Antler Rules
- It shall be unlawful to kill an antlered deer on Featherfin Wildlife Management Area or on the special Fairystone Quality Deer Management Area unless the deer has at least four antler points, 1 inch or longer, on either the right or left antler.
- Motor vehicles are prohibited behind barricades or gates designed to prevent entry or within areas otherwise posted to prohibit motor vehicles.
- Operation of ATVs and other unlicensed motor vehicles is prohibited.
- Cross-country motor vehicle travel is prohibited.
- Motor vehicles, campers, and trailers may be parked on Department-owned lands only when the owners/responsible party are engaged in authorized activities.
For more information on the Department’s Wildlife Management Area System: www.dgif.virginia.gov/wma.
Public Ranges on WMAs and National Forests
The Department has public sighting-in ranges available at the Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) listed below. These ranges were built for sportsmen to properly sight-in their firearms before going afield during the hunting seasons. All Department public sighting-in ranges are handicapped accessible. Range rules and hours of operation are prominently posted at each range to promote shooting safety and proper care of the facilities. Range users must adhere to posted rules and hours of operation. No reservations are required. Any person 17 years of age or older accessing a WMA or DGIF fishing lake must have in their possession a valid hunting, freshwater fishing, or trapping license; current boat registration, or Access Permit. Shooters are limited to one hour of shooting when range is full. Be sure to bring your own paper targets, cardboard backing, clothespins, and tape. In order to help maintain the ranges, all target materials and brass must be removed for proper disposal off site. “Leave No Trace.” Specific hours and dates of operation, range rules, scheduled closures, travel directions, and other information is posted on the Department website at www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/sighting-in-ranges.
The use of firearms at public ranges during closed general firearms hunting seasons is restricted to the area within the established range boundaries for target shooting purposes only. Such weapons are required to be unloaded and cased or dismantled on all national forest and department-owned lands outside the range boundaries during this period.
Department Sighting-In Ranges
Amelia Wildlife Management Area:
Six covered bench positions from 25–100 yards for rifle, muzzleloader, and shotgun patterning at stationary paper targets; area for clay bird shooting (bring own thrower and targets). Pistol shooting is prohibited. General dates of operation are September 1 to March 31. With the exception of state holidays, the range is closed on Mondays for maintenance. For information contact: Forest Regional Office, (434) 525-7522.
Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area:
Ten covered bench shooting positions from 25–100 yards for rifle, muzzleloader, and shotgun sighting-in at stationary paper targets. Additional covered area for stand up shotgun patterning. Pistol and clay target shooting are prohibited. General dates of operation are September 1 to March 31. With the exception of state holidays, the range will be closed on Mondays for maintenance. For information contact: Charles City Regional Office, (804) 829-6580.
Clinch Mountain Wildlife Management Area:
Six covered bench-rest stations from 25–100 yards for rifle, muzzleloader, and shotgun patterning at stationary paper targets. Pistol and clay target shooting are prohibited. General dates of operation are September 1 to March 31. With the exception of state holidays, the range will be closed on Mondays for maintenance. Snow and ice may result in temporary range closures in January, February, and March. For information contact: Marion Regional Office, (276) 783-4860.
Gathright Wildlife Management Area:
Six covered bench-rest stations from 25–100 yards for rifle, muzzleloader, and shotgun patterning at stationary paper targets. Pistol and clay target shooting are prohibited. General dates of operation are September 1 to March 31. With the exception of state holidays, the range will be closed on Mondays for maintenance. For information contact: Verona Regional Office, (540) 248-9360.
C. F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area:
Six covered bench-rest stations from 25–100 yards for rifle, muzzleloader, and shotgun patterning at stationary paper targets. Pistol and clay target shooting are prohibited. General dates of operation are September 1 to March 31. With the exception of state holidays, the range will be closed on Mondays for maintenance. For information contact: Fredericksburg Regional Office, (540) 899-4169.
White Oak Mountain Wildlife Management Area:
Six covered bench positions from 25–100 yards for rifle, muzzleloader, and shotgun patterning at stationary paper targets. Pistol and clay target shooting are prohibited. General dates of operation are September 1 to March 31. With the exception of state holidays, the range will be closed on Mondays for maintenance. For information contact Forest Regional Office, (434) 525-7522.
NOTE: The Department reserves the right to manage the use and access of these facilities as deemed appropriate. These facilities are subject to emergency closures.
National Forest Shooting Ranges
These ranges are open sunrise to sunset during the operating season. Users must bring their own paper targets to all ranges. Use stationary paper targets only. Moving targets, including skeet and/or clay targets, are prohibited except at the Blacksburg Range where clay targets are allowed. No tracer or incendiary type ammunition is allowed. Shooters under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited. All of the ranges have vault toilet restroom buildings. None of these sites have drinking water.
The Blacksburg Shooting Range in Montgomery County:
Two facilities: an 18-lane rifle/pistol range with covered benches for firing at stationary paper targets for up to 100 meters, and a single position shotgun (trap) range for shooting clay targets. Archery is allowed at the shotgun range. Shooting benches and restrooms are wheelchair accessible although some shooters will need assistance with hanging and retrieving targets. This year-round range is closed on Mondays for cleaning. For information contact: Eastern Divide Ranger District, (540) 552-4641.
The Bath County Shooting Range:
A 5-lane range with covered benches for shooting stationary paper targets at 50–100 yards. Pistols and rifles are allowed. Shotguns are allowed only when shooting at a stationary paper target. Shooting at any moving target is strictly prohibited. This range is open year round. For information contact: Warm Springs Ranger District, (540) 839-2521.
The Hite Hollow Shooting Range in Augusta County:
A 6-lane rifle for shooting approximately 50, 100, and 150 yards, and a 2-lane pistol range for shooting approximately 25 yards. Both of these facilities have covered benches. This range is open from May 2 through December 31. For information contact: North River Ranger District, (540) 432-0187.
The Low Moor Shooting Range in Alleghany County:
Provides a 5-lane rifle range for shooting 50 and 100 yards, and a 3-lane pistol range for shooting up to 25 yards. Shotguns are allowed only when shooting at a stationary paper target. Shooting at any moving target is strictly prohibited. Both ranges offer covered benches. This range is open year round. For information contact: James River Ranger District, (540) 962-2214.
The Pott’s Slope Shooting Range in Craig County:
Provides a 9-lane, covered bench, rifle and pistol range for shooting targets at 25, 50, and 100 yards. No shotguns or moving targets are allowed. Shooting benches and restrooms are wheelchair accessible although some shooters will need assistance with hanging and retrieving targets. This range is open year round, but is closed on Tuesdays for cleaning. For information contact: Eastern Divide Ranger District, (540) 552-4641.
The West Side Shooting Range:
Provides 8 shooting lanes of various lengths for rifles, shotguns and pistols. All 8 lanes have covered shooting benches. No moving targets are allowed. This range is open from May 2 to December 31. For more information contact: North River Ranger District, (540) 432-0187.
The Wythe Shooting Range:
Offers a total of 10 lanes with covered benches. Five are dedicated pistol lanes (25 yards only), three are dedicated rifle lanes (100 yards) and the final two are intermittent lanes where targets can be set at 7, 10, 15, 25, 50, and 100 yards. No shotguns, moving targets or archery allowed. This range is open year round. For more information, contact: Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area, (800) 628-7202.
NOTE: On National Forests, please remember firearms may be discharged for target practice only at established shooting ranges. Discharging a firearm in a developed recreation site is dangerous and prohibited. For more information contact: the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest Headquarters at 5162 Valleypointe Parkway, Roanoke, VA 24019, or call (540) 265-5100.
Day use fees are required on certain recreation areas. Please visit the George Washington/Jefferson National Forest website, www.fs.usda.gov/gwj, or contact the appropriate office below for more information on fees and seasonal pass information.
Supervisor’s Office(540) 265-5100
North River(540) 432-0187
James River(540) 962-2214
Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area(276) 783-5196
Eastern Divide(540) 552-4641
Warm Springs(540) 839-2521
It shall be unlawful to have in possession a bow, crossbow, or any firearm which is not unloaded and cased or dismantled on all National Forest lands statewide, or on Department-owned lands and on lands managed by the Department under cooperative agreement in counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains except during the period when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey or waterfowl on these lands; and on Department-owned lands and on lands managed by the Department under cooperative agreement in counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains except during the period when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey, waterfowl or migratory game birds on these lands. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders.)
It shall be unlawful to possess or transport a loaded firearm or loaded crossbow in or on any vehicle at any time on National Forest lands or Department-owned lands. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders.)
“Loaded firearm” is defined as a firearm in which ammunition is chambered or loaded in the magazine or clip, when such magazine or clip is found engaged or partially engaged in a firearm.
The definition of a loaded muzzleloading firearm will include a firearm which is capped, or has a charged pan, or has a primer, or battery installed in the firearm.
The definition of a “loaded crossbow” is a crossbow that is cocked and has either a bolt or arrow engaged or partially engaged on the shooting rail or track of the crossbow, or with a “trackless crossbow” when the crossbow is cocked and a bolt or arrow is nocked.
The word “possession” shall include, but not be limited to, having any bow, crossbow, or firearm in or on one’s person, vehicle, or conveyance.
It is unlawful to chase with a dog or train dogs on National Forest lands or Department-owned lands except during authorized hunting, chase, or training seasons that specifically permit these activities on these lands.
Collecting any portion of the American ginseng plant for personal or commercial use from the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests and Department-owned lands is prohibited.
Commercial hunting or fishing outfitter activities on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests require a permit from the National Forest.
Hunter access roads on Department lands seasonally open to motor vehicles will be open (weather permitting) from the last Saturday in September to the 2nd Saturday in February and the 1st Saturday in April to the 3rd Saturday in May.
Opening and closing dates of hunter access roads on National Forest lands may vary by ranger district. Opening and closing dates are determined by management considerations for the areas accessed by these roads. Contact the local ranger district listed at left for opening and closing dates on specific roads.
Any motor driven vehicle using roads normally open to motor vehicles on Department and National Forest lands shall conform with all state laws for highway travel. No cross country travel is permitted. All terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-road vehicle (ORV) travel is permitted only on designated National Forest roads and trails.
Primitive camping (no water, electric hookups, bathrooms or other facilities) is permitted on Department-owned lands, except as otherwise posted. Camping is prohibited on or within 100 yards of any Department-owned or controlled boat ramp or fishing lake. Camping on Department-owned lands is not to exceed 21 consecutive days. No more than 3 camping units are permitted per site.
Camping on the George Washington/Jefferson National Forests for more than 21 consecutive days without terminating occupancy for a minimum of 10 consecutive days within a 31-day time period is prohibited. For more information, please visit the National Forest website www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj or call the appropriate office. No trash service is provided. “Pack it in, Pack it out.”
It is unlawful to construct, maintain, or occupy any permanent structure, except by permit, on Department-owned lands and National Forest lands.
It is unlawful to maintain any temporary dwelling on Department-owned land for more than 14 consecutive days. Persons constructing or occupying such structures are responsible for complete removal of temporary structures.
It is unlawful to construct, maintain, or occupy any permanent tree stand on Department-owned lands, National Forest lands, and on Department of Conservation and Recreation-owned or controlled lands. Portable tree stands, which are not permanently affixed, may be used. Use of a full body safety harness while hunting from tree stands is strongly recommended.
PALS is a program that opens additional lands for public use. Through this cooperative private/public program the Department has opened more than 30,000 acres of private land in Dickenson and Wise counties and 260 acres in James City County to public hunting, fishing and trapping. The property in Dickenson is owned by Heartwood Forestland Fund IV and managed by The Forestland Group, LLC.
The Department manages access to both properties for hunting, fishing, and trapping. PALS permits are only sold through license agents or on the DGIF website, and the fee is $18.00. Hunters, anglers, and trappers must buy the permit from a license agent or online. Inquiries about these areas should be directed to the website www.dgif.virginia.gov or to the Marion Region 3 Office at (276) 783- 4860 (Dickenson and Wise County property) or Charles City Region 1 office at (804) 829-6580 (James City County property) for recreational opportunities in their respective regions.
The Department hopes to provide additional PALS lands in the future across other parts of the Commonwealth.
The State Forests of Virginia serve as demonstration sites for multiple use management which focuses on the advantages and benefits of managing the total resource. Environmental protection, water quality, aesthetics, wildlife habitat, forest research and recreation are as important as a sustained timber harvest. The State Forests are operated under a separate, self-supporting budget. Most of the funds are generated through timber sales, but use permits for hunting and other activities and important as well.
Hunting is allowed on many of the State Forest properties in Virginia including: Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest, Big Woods State Forest in Sussex County, Browne State Forest in Essex County, Channels State Forest in Washington and Russell Counties, Chilton Woods State Forest in Lancaster County (archery and blackpowder only), Conway Robinson State Forest in Prince William County (lottery permit only), Cumberland State Forest, Dragon Run State Forest in King and Queen County, Lesesne State Forest in Nelson County (archery and black-powder only within designated dates), Matthews State Forest in Grayson County (archery only in designated areas), Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest, and Sandy Point State Forest in King William County.
A valid State Forest Use Permit and valid hunting license is required and may be purchased from licensed agents or online. Hunting is allowed on these properties only in accordance with state hunting regulations. No motorized vehicles, including ATVs, are permitted on gated roads and trail whether the gate is open or closed.
Further information on regulations governing the use of specific State Forest properties for hunting or other recreational activities is available at the Virginia Department of Forestry’s website (www.dof.virginia.gov/stateforest/recreation/hunting.htm) or by calling 804-492-4121.
Hunting is prohibited in all National Parks in Virginia. For current information related to any permitted hunting activities view Park specific websites or contact via Park public information telephone lines. Example: Blue Ridge Parkway www.nps.gov/blri or (828) 298-0398.
Fort A.P. Hill
October 7 through November 17. Either-sex all season.
November 4 through 17. No Either-sex hunting.
November 18 through January 6. See Fort A.P. Hill Hunting Regulations for either-sex hunting days.
One deer per day, two bucks total combining all seasons. See Fort A. P. Hill Hunting Regulations for antler restrictions.
Closed: at 12:00 p.m. Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, and closed all day Christmas.
Contact Fish and Wildlife Branch (804) 633-8984 for details. Fort A.P. Hill regulations and requirements differ from state and county regulations.
October 7 through November 17.
November 4 through 17.
November 18 through January 6. Two per day, six per year. Either-sex deer hunting on November 25, December 2 and January 1 through 6.
Hunting permitted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only.
Hunting permitted on Wednesday and Saturday only.
All persons 12 years of age and older must present a hunter education certificate in order to purchase a Fort Pickett hunting permit. No apprentice licenses will be accepted. Contact the Ft. Pickett Game Check Station at (434) 292-2618 for further details about seasons and special restrictions. Open Tuesday-Saturday and closed on state-recognized holidays.
Quantico Marine Reservation
October 7 through November 17.
November 18 through January 6. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Open half day on Thanksgiving Day.
No Muzzleloading Season.
For hunting information, contact the Game Checking Stations at (703) 784-5523 or www.quantico.marines.mil/offices-staff/GF-installation-and-environment/natural-resources-environmental-affairs/quantico-sportsman.
The Game Checking Station is open seasonally, September–January and April–May.
September 2 through March 31.
September 30 is Youth/Apprentice Day
Oct. 7–Nov. 11; Nov. 23;
Dec. 4–30 and Jan. 13–27.
April 7 is Youth/Apprentice Day
April 14-May 19
Waterfowl hunting is also available during prescribed seasons.
Contact Outdoor Recreation staff at (703) 805-3081 for further details.
Hunting is allowed on the following National Wildlife Refuges in Virginia. For more information, contact the appropriate refuge manager at:
Great Dismal Swamp*(757) 986-3705
Eastern Shore(757) 331-2760
Rappahannock River Valley*(804) 333-1470
James River*(804) 829-9020
Plum Tree Island*(804) 829-9020
Mason Neck/Occoquan(703) 490-4979
* Quota hunts are offered through the DGIF Quota Hunt program.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
John H. Kerr Reservoir
The John H. Kerr Reservoir is a federally managed multipurpose facility located on the Virginia-North Carolina border. It consists of a 50,000 acre reservoir and 55,000 acres of land surrounding the lake which offers 40,000 acres open to hunting. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains 26 wildlife management areas located around Kerr Reservoir.
For more information contact:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
1930 Mays Chapel Road, Boydton, VA 23917
(434) 738-6143 or https://CorpsLakes.erdc.dren.mil/visitors/projects.cfm?ID=K708350.
John W. Flannagan Reservoir
The John W. Flannagan Reservoir in western Dickenson County provides 6,400 acres of land open to public hunting. The area offers deer, black bear, wild turkey, and small game hunting opportunities.
For further information contact:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
192 White Water Rd., Haysi, VA 24256-9739
(276) 835-9544 or