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Tag Validation & Checking Requirements

Hunting Regulations Icon Virginia Hunting

Checking Requirements for Bear, Deer, Elk, Turkey and Bobcat

Deer

Elk

Bear

Fall Turkey

Spring Turkey

Bobcat

All Other Species

Deer/Turkey Check Station
(Available from Sept. 1st through first Sat. in January)

No

No

No

Are not required to be checked
Bear Check Station
(Available during all open bear seasons)

✓ 1

✓ 1

✓ 1

No

No

Telephone Checking System
(866) GOT-GAME or (866) 468-4263; touch-tone phone only
(Available during all open seasons)

Internet Checking System
www.gooutdoorsvirginia.com; click Game Check & Harvest Reporting
(Available during all open seasons)

Mobile App
(Available during all open seasons)

Tagging at Location of Harvest

  • All hunters (unless license exempt) killing a bear, deer, elk, or turkey are required to validate an appropriate tag on their bear license, deer/turkey license, bonus deer permit, or special permit (DCAP, DMAP, or DPOP) prior to moving the animal in any way.
  • To validate a tag, the Department provides two options depending upon the type of tag being validated.
    • Electronic license tag validation (e-notching): Requires use of the Department’s free Go Outdoors Virginia mobile app. Available for deer/turkey license tags, bonus deer permit tags, and bear tag. When viewing the electronic license within the mobile app, touch the designated notch area of the appropriate license tag. See www.dgif.virginia.gov/enotch for a demonstration.
    • Paper license tag validation: Available for all paper license tags (bear license, deer/turkey license, bonus deer permit, or special permit (DCAP, DMAP, or DPOP). Hunters must completely remove the designated notch area from the appropriate paper license or permit tag.
  • It is unlawful for any person to validate (notch) a tag from any license or special permit prior to the killing of an animal. A paper tag that is mistakenly validated (notched) prior to the killing of an animal must be voided immediately by the licensee or permittee by writing, in ink, the word “VOID” on the line provided on the tag.

General Information

  • Bear and deer/turkey check stations can be located at www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/check-stations.
  • All bear, deer, elk, and turkeys must be checked by all hunters, including license exempt hunters, upon vehicle transport of the carcass or at the conclusion of legal hunting hours, whichever occurs first and without unnecessary delay.
  • In counties with no bear check station, hunters may transport their harvest to a bear check station in an adjoining county.
  • It is unlawful to destroy the identity (sex) of any animal until it is checked. After the appropriate tag is validated, the hunter may dismember the carcass to pack it out as long as all parts of the carcass (excluding internal organs) are present when the animal is checked.
  • Upon checking, hunters using a paper license tag shall immediately write the check card number (provided by check station) or confirmation number (provided by the telephone or internet checking system) in ink on the line labeled “check card or confirmation number) of the tag that was validated at the place of kill.

Using Internet or Telephone Checking

Before using these electronic systems, you will need a pen and paper to write down your confirmation number on your paper license or permit or to create a personal check card.

  • A confirmation number will be provided at the end of your internet or telephone session.
  • Confirmation numbers are a combination of 5-7 letters and numbers.
  • If your session is cut off prior to receiving a confirmation number, start the session again and repeat until a complete confirmation number is obtained.
  • If a paper license or permit was used, then the confirmation number should immediately be written in ink on the line of the tag that was validated in the field.
  • If a paper license was not required, then the hunter must create a personal check card.
  • Hunters have the option of printing a check card at the end of the Internet checking session.

Carcass Transferred or Unattended

If the carcass is left unattended or transferred to another individual:

  • The check card or personal check card should be kept in possession with the carcass until it is processed.
  • If possession of the carcass is transferred to another individual, the check card or personal check card should be given to that individual.
  • If the carcass is left unattended, the check card or personal check card should be securely attached to the carcass.
  • After the carcass of a game animal has been processed (dissembled), it parts may be legally transported; however, upon request of a law enforcement officer, sufficient verbal or written information must be furnished to establish legal possession.

Bears – Tooth Submission

  • A premolar (a small tooth located directly behind the canines) is required by law to be submitted from each harvested bear.
    • If checking the bear at a bear check station, the premolar shall be sealed in the envelope attached to the check card and left with the check station operator.
    • If checking via an electronic checking system, once the harvest record is submitted, the hunter will be sent instructions for submitting the tooth. To comply with the law, the premolar and accompanying information must be mailed or delivered to the department no later than 14 days after the close of the bear harvest season.

Bobcat Checking

  • Any hunter or trapper who kills a bobcat during an open hunting or trapping season, including license exempt hunters and trappers, must check in the bobcat within 24 hours of the time of kill.
  • Bobcats legally killed by landowners outside the hunting and trapping seasons are not required to be checked in.
  • After checking a bobcat, hunters and trappers shall immediately record the confirmation number in a location where it can later be retrieved to prove compliance with checking requirements or to request a CITES seal.
  • Any bobcat received by a taxidermist for mounting or tanning shall have written documentation securely attached to the carcass that includes the full name of the hunter or trapper, date of kill, and the harvest confirmation number. For bobcats that do not require checking, the same information must be attached (except for the confirmation number) with a description of how the bobcat was legally obtained.

Elk – Collection of Biological Samples

  • Hunters harvesting an elk are required to validate an appropriate paper or electronic deer tag, check in the animal, as an elk, and must contact the Department at (804) 367-0044.

License-Exempt Hunters

  • License-exempt hunters are required to check all bear, deer, elk, turkeys, and bobcats.
  • In order to use the internet or telephone checking systems to check a deer, elk, turkey, or bobcat, license-exempt hunters will need:
    • To select “exempt hunter” when prompted to enter his/her license type.
    • To enter his/her date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY) and last four digits of his/her social security number.
    • To create a personal check card.
  • License-exempt hunters checking a bear electronically are required by law to submit a premolar for each bear harvested (see above). To provide the necessary information, a free customer account will be required to check a bear electronically. Any hunter preferring not to set up a customer account must check the bear at a bear check station.

Personal Check Card

A personal check card may be written on any type of paper using a pen and must include the hunter’s full name, date of kill, and confirmation number.

Q: Do I have 24 hours to check in a bear, deer, or turkey?

A: No. All must be checked the day they are killed upon vehicle transport or at the conclusion of legal hunting hours, whichever occurs first and without unnecessary delay. The only exception to this check the day of kill rule would be an animal that is not recovered until the following day. It should be checked that day it is recovered.