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General Information

Virginia Bird Hunting

Migratory Game Birds

Migratory game birds means species of waterfowl (ducks, geese, brant, swans, and mergansers) and webless species (coots, doves, gallinules, moorhens, rails, snipe, and woodcock).

Shooting Hours

No person shall take migratory game birds except during the hours open to shooting as prescribed. Shooting hours for all waterfowl, all seasons is one-half hour before sunrise until sunset, (except when otherwise permitted in the September Canada Goose season and the Light Goose Conservation Order season). See sunrise-sunset timetable. Non-toxic shot is required for all waterfowl hunting and for rail and snipe hunting.

Possession Limits

The possession limit for migratory game birds is 3 times the daily bag limit (except for light geese and tundra swans), but no one is allowed to have more than one daily bag limit of game in his possession while in the forests, fields, or waters of this state. Wounded birds reduced to possession shall be immediately killed and included in the daily bag limit.

Sunday Hunting

Hunting for waterfowl (ducks, coot, geese, brant, and swan) and rails (including gallinules and moorhens) is allowed on Sundays (on private lands and on public lands as permitted by the landowner) subject to geographical limitations established by the Director of the Department and except within 200 yards of a house of worship or any accessory structure thereof.

Non-toxic Shot

Non-toxic shot approved by the Department [steel, bismuth-tin, Iron-tungsten, Iron-tungsten-nickel (HEVISHOT), copper-clad iron, tungsten-bronze, tungsten-iron-copper-nickel, tungsten matrix, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-tin-iron, tungsten-tin-bismuth, tungsten-tin-iron-nickel, and tungsten-iron-polymer] is required for hunting all waterfowl, mergansers, coots, moorhens, gallinules, snipe, and rails. Lead shot is not allowed for hunting these species and cannot be in possession in the field while hunting these species. Shot size should be no larger than “T”.

Blaze Color Requirements

The term “blaze colored” in reference to clothing or other items required for specific safe hunting practices shall be one of two colors: 1) traditional blaze orange or 2) bright pink or fluorescent pink which will be known as blaze pink.

When hunting any species during a firearms deer season and on youth apprentice deer hunting weekend:

  • Every hunter (see exceptions below), or persons accompanying a hunter, shall wear a solid blaze colored (blaze orange or blaze pink) hat or solid blaze colored upper body clothing that is visible from 360 degrees or display at least 100 square inches of solid blaze colored material at shoulder level within body reach and visible from 360 degrees.
  • Hats may have a bill or brim color or design other than solid blaze color. Hats shall not be in “camo” style, since the latter is designed to prevent visibility. A logo, which does not detract from visibility, may be worn on a blaze colored hat.
  • Hunters using an enclosed ground (pop-up, chair, box, etc.) that conceals them from view shall display at least 100 square inches of solid blaze colored material, visible from 360 degrees attached to or immediately above the blind. This blaze color is in addition to any worn on the hunter’s person.

Exceptions

  • Blaze colored clothing is not required of waterfowl hunters, dove hunters, individuals participating in hunting dog field trials, and fox hunters on horseback without firearms.
  • Hunters hunting with archery tackle during an open firearms deer season in areas where the discharge of firearms is prohibited by state law or local ordinance, are exempt from the blaze color requirement.
  • Other than muzzleloader deer hunters, blaze colored clothing is not required of any hunters hunting during the muzzleloader deer seasons.

Youth & Veterans Waterfowl Hunting Days

October 24, 2020 and February 6, 2021

Statewide. Open to Youth 15 years of age and under, Military Veterans (as defined in section 101 of title 38, United States Code) and members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training). Participants may harvest the allowed daily bag limit of ducks (see pg. 12), sea ducks (including in the Special Sea Duck Zone), and other waterfowl, including Atlantic brant, coots, mergansers, gallinules, moorhens, light geese, 1 Canada goose in the Atlantic Population Zone, 5 Canada geese in the Southern James Bay Population and Resident Population zones, and 1 tundra swan (if in possession of a tundra swan permit) on the designated days. Resident youth aged 12-15, nonresident youth age 15 or under, and Veterans need a valid Virginia hunting license, unless license exempt. All hunters participating must be Virginia HIP registered (www.gooutdoorsvirginia.com). All youth must be accompanied and directly supervised by an adult at least 18 years of age or older who has a valid Virginia hunting license (unless license exempt). The accompanying adult cannot hunt ducks (unless they are a Veteran), but may hunt for those species for which there is an open season.