Small Game Hunting Regulations
Legal Methods and Restrictions
- Modern firearms.
- Arrowguns are allowed.
- Archery tackle.
- Muzzleloading firearms.
- Dogs may be used.
August 15 through March 19
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.
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.
October 24 through February 13:
west of I-95.
Continuous closed season: east of I-95.
Three per day.
Quail & Pheasant
November 7 through January 31
Quail is closed on all public lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Quail: six per day.
Pheasant: no daily or seasonal bag limit.
October 31 through February 28
Six per day.
Squirrel (Gray, Red, Fox)
All squirrels combined–six per day.
Gray and Red Squirrels: September 5
through February 28
Fox Squirrels: September 5 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.
June 5 through 19, 2021: Closed on National Forest lands.
Gray and red squirrels may be harvested statewide, unless otherwise posted, and on the following WMAs: 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 WMAs: 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.
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.virginiawildlife.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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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@dwr.virginia.gov.
Attention Rabbit Hunters
A highly infectious virus, known as rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHDV2), was detected in wild rabbits for the first time in the Southwestern United States in April 2020. RHDV2 is reported to be highly lethal to both wild and domestic rabbits but it is not known to be a human health concern. While it has not yet been reported in the Southeast, spread throughout the US is likely and the Department is closely monitoring the geographic distribution of this disease. A localized RHDV2 outbreak typically involves multiple dead cottontails in the same general vicinity over a fairly short period of time. Most affected animals are in good body condition at the time of death and no external wounds should be apparent. Some infected rabbits may exhibit bright red blood around the nose. If you find multiple dead rabbits, please report the mortalities to your nearest DGIF regional office. Hunters are encouraged to avoid harvesting rabbits that appear sick and to wear rubber or disposable gloves when handling game. After cleaning or handling, do not contact live rabbits before showering and changing clothes. Finally, double-bag the leftover carcass parts and discard them at a landfill to prevent access by rabbits or scavengers.