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Virginia

Hunting

Bear Hunting Firearms Seasons

Early Firearms Bear Season

September 27 through 29:

In the counties (including the towns and cities within) of Albemarle, Alleghany, Amherst, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Bland, Botetourt, Buchanan, Clarke, Craig, Culpeper, Dickenson, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Giles, Greene, Highland, Lee, Loudoun, Madison, Montgomery (northwest of I-81), Nelson, Page, Prince William, Pulaski (northwest of I-81), Rappahannock, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Scott, Shenandoah, Smyth (northwest of I-81), Stafford, Tazewell, Warren, Washington (northwest of I-81), Wise, Wythe (northwest of I-81).

Closed

Firearms Bear Seasons

October 1 through January 1:

In the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach.

November 22 through January 1:

In the counties of Albemarle, Alleghany, Amherst, Arlington, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Bland, Botetourt, Buchanan, Caroline, Chesterfield, Clarke, Craig, Culpeper, Dickenson, Fairfax, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Frederick, Giles, Goochland, Greene, Hanover, Henrico, Highland, Lee, Loudoun, Louisa, Madison, Montgomery, (northwest of I-81), Nelson, Orange, Page, Powhatan, Prince William, Pulaski (northwest of I-81), Rappahannock, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Scott, Shenandoah, Smyth (northwest of I-81), Spotsylvania, Stafford, Tazewell, Warren, Washington (northwest of I-81), Wise, Wythe (northwest of I-81), and on the Clinch Mountain and Hidden Valley Wildlife Management Areas and Channels State Forest.

November 29 through January 1:

In the counties of Carroll, Floyd, Franklin, Grayson, Henry, Montgomery (southeast of I-81), Patrick, Pulaski (southeast of I-81), Smyth (southeast of I-81), Washington (southeast of I-81), Wythe (southeast of I-81).

November 29 through December 18:

In the counties of Amelia, Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Charles City, Charlotte, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Essex, Gloucester, Greensville, Halifax, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, King George, King William, Lancaster, Lunenburg, Mathews, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, New Kent, Northumberland, Nottoway, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, Prince George, Richmond, Southampton, Surry, Sussex, Westmoreland, and York.

Closed

In the counties of Accomack and Northampton.

Towns and Cities

Bears may be harvested using any lawful weapon within the incorporated limits of any town or city that allows bear hunting from October 2 through January 1. This season will not supersede local ordinances with respect to hunting or use of weapon.

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 more details.

  • Modern firearms
  • Arrowguns are allowed
  • Archery tackle (excludes slingbows)
  • Muzzleloading firearms

Bear Hound Training/Chase Season

NO BLACK BEAR MAY BE TAKEN DURING THIS SEASON.

Hours

4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., including Sundays. See maps and information below for dates, locations, and other restrictions.

Licenses Required

Same for hunting seasons where bears can be taken. See licenses, stamps, and permits section for appropriate required licenses.

Unlawful Methods

  • It is unlawful to have in possession a firearm, archery tackle or any weapon capable of taking a black bear while participating in the bear hound training season. The meaning of “possession” for the purpose of this section shall include, but not be limited to, having a firearm, bow, crossbow, or any weapon capable of taking a black bear in or on one’s person, vehicle, or conveyance. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders on Legal Use of Firearms & Archery Tackle.)
  • It is unlawful to dislodge an animal from a tree for the intent of continuing a hunt, or chase, or for the purpose of training dogs.
  • It is unlawful to chase, hunt, or train dogs from baited sites or with use of bait.

Dogs May Not Be Used to Hunt Bears:

  • On Sundays while in possession of a weapon. The meaning of “possession” for the purpose of this section shall include, but not be limited to, having a firearm, bow, crossbow, or any weapon capable of taking a black bear in or on one’s person, vehicle, or conveyance. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders on Legal Use of Firearms & Archery Tackle.)
  • November 22 through 28 in the counties west of the Blue Ridge and in the counties of Amherst (west of Rt. 29), Bedford, and Nelson (west of Rt. 151).
  • November 22 through 26 in Madison and Greene counties.
  • During the firearms bear season in the counties of Campbell (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Carroll (east of the New River), Fairfax, Floyd, Franklin, Grayson (east of the New River), Henry, Loudoun, Montgomery (south of I-81), Patrick, Pittsylvania (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Pulaski (south of I-81), Roanoke (south of I-81), and Wythe (southeast of the New River or that part bounded by Rt. 21 on the west, I-81 on the north, the county line on the east, the New River on the southeast and Cripple Creek on the south), and in the city of Lynchburg.
  • On the Amelia, C. F. Phelps, Doe Creek, Featherfin, G. Richard Thompson, Mattaponi, Mattaponi Bluffs, Merrimac Farm, Oakley Forest, Parker’s Branch Tract on Big Woods, Pettigrew, Robert W. Duncan, Tye River Unit of James River, and Ware Creek Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), and other areas posted on WMAs.
  • When hunting during the archery or muzzleloading bear seasons, except in certain counties during the youth/apprentice bear hunting weekend (see Bear Hunting Regulations).
  • On Cavalier WMA except during the Bear Hound Training Season from August 14 through August 28. Dogs may not be used to hunt bears at any other time.