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Public Ranges on WMAs & National Forests

Hunting Regulations Icon Virginia Hunting

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 Tuesdays 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.

National Forests

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

Clinch(276) 679-8370

North River(540) 432-0187

Glenwood-Pedlar(540) 291-2188

James River(540) 962-2214

Lee(540) 984-4101

Mt. Rogers National
Recreation Area
(276) 783-5196

Eastern Divide(540) 552-4641

Warm Springs(540) 839-2521

Regulations Specific to National Forest and Department Lands

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 on General Hunting Information.)

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 on General Hunting Information.)

“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.

Access Roads

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.

Camping Policy

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.”

Structures

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 21 consecutive days. Persons constructing or occupying such structures are responsible for complete removal of temporary structures.

Tree Stands

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.

Public Access Lands for Sportsmen (PALS)

PALS is a program that opens additional lands for public use. Through this cooperative private/public program the Department has opened more than 32,000 acres of private land. Properties include:

  • Dickenson and Wise counties – 30,000 acres
  • James City County – 260 acres
  • Rockbridge County – 2,700 acres

The Department manages access to these properties for hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing. PALS permits are available through DGIF license agents, online at the DGIF website, or through the GoOutdoors mobile app. The fee is $18.00. Inquiries about these areas should be directed to the website www.dgif.virginia.gov or to the appropriate regional office.

The Department hopes to provide additional PALS lands in the future across other parts of the Commonwealth.

State Forests

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.

National Parks

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.

Military Areas

Fort A.P. Hill

Archery

October 6 through November 16. Either-sex all season.

Muzzleloading

November 3 through 16. No Either-sex hunting.

General Firearms

November 17 through January 5. 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.

Fort Pickett

Deer:

Archery

October 6 through November 16.

Muzzleloading

November 3 through 16.

General Firearms

November 17 through January 5. Two per day, six per year. See Fort Pickett Hunting Regulations for either-sex hunting days.

Quail:

Hunting permitted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only.

Dove:

Hunting permitted on Wednesdays and Saturdays 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

Deer:

Archery Season

October 6 through November 16.

General Firearms

November 17 through January 5. 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/G-F-Installation-and-Environment/Natural-Resources-Environmental-Affairs/Quantico-Sportsman/Hunting/.

The Game Checking Station is open seasonally, September–January and April–May.

Fort Belvoir

Archery Only

Qualification required.

Deer:

September 1 through March 31.

September 29 is Youth/Apprentice Day

Fall Turkey:

Oct. 6–Nov. 9; Nov. 22;

Dec. 3-29 and Jan. 12-27.

Spring Turkey:

April 6 is Youth/Apprentice Day

April 13-May 18

Waterfowl hunting is also available during prescribed seasons.

Contact Outdoor Recreation staff at (703) 805-3081 for further details.

Federal Refuges

Hunting is allowed on the following National Wildlife Refuges in Virginia. For more information, contact the appropriate refuge manager at:

Back Bay(757) 301-7329

Chincoteague(757) 336-6122

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

Presquile*(804) 829-9020

Mason Neck/Occoquan(703) 490-4979

* Quota hunts are offered through the DGIF Quota Hunt program; see Public Hunting Quota Hunts.

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

https://CorpsLakes.erdc.dren/mil/visitors/projects.cfm?ID=H108550