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Small Game Hunting Regulations

Hunting Regulations Icon Virginia Hunting

General Information

Legal Methods and Restrictions

Special restrictions apply to specific firearms use during this season. See Legal Use of Firearms & Archery Tackle and Local Firearms Ordinances for details.

  • Modern firearms.
  • Arrowguns are allowed.
  • Archery tackle.
  • Muzzleloading firearms.
  • Dogs may be used.

Crow

Season Dates

August 17 through March 20
on Mondays, Wednesdays,

Fridays, and Saturdays.

September 2 through March 10

On National Forest Lands and Department lands on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only.

  • Crows are a federally regulated migratory species; however, no HIP registration is required and hunters may use unplugged shotguns to hunt them.
  • Electronic calls may be used on private and public lands. Written permission of the landowner is not required to hunt crows with electronic calls, except when hunting on posted property.

Groundhog

Season Dates

Continuous open season on private lands.

  • Groundhog hunting on National Forest lands and Department lands is permitted from September 1–March 10 and during the spring turkey season.
  • Groundhog hunting is permitted during the spring squirrel season on Department lands that are open for spring squirrel hunting.
  • Groundhog hunting is not permitted on National Forest lands during the spring squirrel season.

Grouse

Season Dates

October 26 through February 8:
west of I-95.

Continuous closed season: east of I-95.

Bag Limit

Three per day.

Quail & Pheasant

Season Dates

November 9 through January 31

Quail is closed on all public lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Bag Limits

Quail: six per day.

Pheasant: no daily or seasonal bag limit.

Rabbit

Season Dates

November 2 through February 29

Bag Limit

Six per day.

Squirrel (Gray, Red, Fox)

Bag Limit

All squirrels combined–six per day.

Fall Seasons

Gray and Red Squirrels: September 7

through February 29

Statewide.

Fox Squirrels: September 7 through January 31 in the following designated areas only:

Counties west of the Blue Ridge and in the counties of Albemarle, Bedford, Culpeper, Fauquier, Franklin, Greene, Loudoun, Madison, Orange, Patrick, Prince William, and Rappahannock.

Spring Season

June 6 through 20, 2020: Closed on National Forest lands.

During the Spring Season:

Gray and red squirrels may be harvested statewide, unless otherwise posted, and on the following wildlife management areas: Amelia, Big Survey, Big Woods, Briery Creek, Cavalier, Chickahominy, Clinch Mountain, Crooked Creek, Dick Cross, Doe Creek, Fairystone (including Fairystone State Park and Philpott Reservoir), Featherfin, Gathright, Goshen, Hardware River, Havens, Hidden Valley, Highland, Hog Island (Carlisle Tract only), Horsepen, James River, Lake Robertson, Lands End (Salem Church tract only), Little North Mountain, Mattaponi, Mattaponi Bluffs, Merrimac Farm, Oakley Forest, Pettigrew, Phelps, Powhatan (including the Goochland Tract), Rapidan, Short Hills, Stewarts Creek, G. Richard Thompson, Robert W. Duncan, Turkeycock Mountain, Ware Creek, and White Oak Mountain.

Fox squirrels may be harvested on all lands, unless otherwise posted, in all counties with an open fall fox squirrel season and on the following wildlife management areas: Big Survey, Clinch Mountain, Crooked Creek, Gathright, Goshen, Havens, Hidden Valley, Highland, Lake Robertson, Little North Mountain, Merrimac Farm, Phelps, Rapidan, Short Hills, Stewarts Creek, and G. Richard Thompson.

Hunting Preserves

Pen-raised game birds may be taken on licensed hunting preserves from September 1 through April 30, including Sundays. A list of hunting preserves open to the public may be obtained at the Department’s Henrico office or at www.dgif.virginia.gov. A resident hunting on a licensed hunting preserve is required to have a hunting license. A nonresident is required to have either a nonresident hunting license or a special nonresident hunting (shooting) preserve license which is valid only within the boundaries of licensed hunting preserves.

We need your help!

Grouse Hunting Survey

The Department annually monitors fall populations of ruffed grouse by surveying avid grouse hunter success rates flushing and harvesting grouse. Grouse populations have been declining so we are very interested in getting more help with this survey. If you are an avid grouse hunter and are willing to participate please consider joining the survey. Hunters are asked to provide information on the number of grouse they flush and kill on a daily basis. In addition, we ask cooperators to send us some tail and wing feathers so we can estimate age and sex ratios of hunter-killed birds. All survey instructions and materials will be provided. The Department provides cooperators with a summary report at the end of the season. To participate, send your name and mailing address to dgifweb@dgif.virginia.gov with “grouse survey” in the subject line or call 540-248-9360.

Quail Hunting Survey

Please consider joining our quail hunter cooperator survey. Help us keep records on wild quail hunting success rates and habitats where quail are being found. Contact Marc Puckett at: Marc.Puckett@dgif.virginia.gov.

 

Fox Squirrel Information Needed

Our Department would like to know if you have seen this animal in one of the blue counties depicted on the accompanying map. The fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) is one of three species of squirrels that are considered “game species” in some or all of Virginia. It is the largest squirrel species that occurs in Virginia. Many have orange, red, black, or white markings. They are approximately 1.5 to two times the size of a gray squirrel. Fox squirrels are common west of the Blue Ridge and along its east slope. They are less common in southeastern Virginia, and occur sporadically in the Piedmont of Virginia but may be expanding their range. In an effort to better document the occurrence of fox squirrels in Virginia, we ask you to report any sightings you have in the counties depicted in blue on the map. Be as descriptive as possible about the location. If you can gather GPS coordinates, please do so. If you can safely take a photograph, please provide that, too. Send sighting information to Small Game Project Leader Marc Puckett at: marc.puckett@dgif.virginia.gov.