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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.

  • Modern firearms.
  • Archery tackle.
  • Muzzleloading firearms.
  • Dogs may be used.

Crow

Season Dates

August 20 through March 18
on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

September 3 through March 18

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

  • Crows are a federally regulated migratory species; however, no HIP number 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 or on Sundays. Electronic calls may not be attached to or played from a vehicle.

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 only 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 29 through February 11:
west of I-95.

Continuous closed season: east of I-95.

Bag Limit

Three per day.

Quail & Pheasant

Season Dates

November 12 through January 31

Bag Limits:

Quail: six per day.

Pheasant: no daily or seasonal bag limit.

Rabbit

Season Dates

November 5 through February 28

Bag Limit

Six per day.

Squirrel

(Gray, Red, and Fox)

Bag Limit

All squirrels combined–six per day.

Fall Seasons

Gray and Red Squirrels: September 3

through February 28

Statewide.

Fox Squirrels: September 3 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 3 through 17, 2017: 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, Dick Cross, Doe Creek, Fairystone (including Fairystone State Park and Philpott Reservoir), Featherfin, Gathright, Goshen, Hardware River, Havens, Highland, Hog Island (Carlisle Tract only), Horsepen, James River, Lake Robertson, Little North Mountain, Mattaponi, Merrimac Farm, Pettigrew, Phelps, Powhatan (including the Goochland Tract), Rapidan, Short Hills, Stewarts Creek, G. Richard Thompson, Turkeycock Mountain, and White Oak Mountain.

Fox squirrels may be harvested on all lands, unless otherwise posted, in all counties with an open fox squirrel season during the fall squirrel season and on the following wildlife management areas: Big Survey, Gathright, Goshen, Havens, 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 Richmond 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

Survey results help the Department with many ruffed grouse conservation issues. Participants receive an annual report. To participate, send your name and mailing address to: Gary.Norman@dgif.virginia.gov.

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.