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Virginia

Hunting

Deer Hunting Seasons

Archery Deer Seasons

Early Archery Season

October 2 through November 12:

Statewide.

Late Archery Seasons

November 28 through January 1:

  • In all areas west of the Blue Ridge unless noted below.
    Season Exception: Clarke and Floyd counties and on private lands in Frederick County.

November 29 through January 1:

  • On all National Forest and Department-owned lands west of the Blue Ridge.
  • On the C. F. Phelps WMA.
  • On National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford and Nelson counties.

December 1 through January 1:

  • In the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line), and Virginia Beach.

December 12 through January 1:

  • In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amherst (west of Route 29), Bedford, Floyd, Franklin, Henry, Nelson (west of Route 151), and Patrick.

Archery Either-Sex Deer Hunting

Deer of either sex may be taken full season during the early and late archery deer seasons, including the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line), and Virginia Beach.

Urban Archery Deer Seasons

During these seasons only antlerless deer may be taken.

September 4 through October 1 and January 2, 2022 through March 27, 2022

  • Within the incorporated limits of the cities of Bristol, Charlottesville, Chesapeake (except on Department-owned lands), Colonial Heights, Danville, Emporia, Franklin, Fredericksburg, Galax, Hopewell, Lexington, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Poquoson, Radford, Richmond, Staunton, Suffolk, and Winchester; and in the towns of Altavista, Amherst, Bedford, Blacksburg, Blackstone, Boones Mill, Buchanan, Chatham, Christiansburg, Farmville, Front Royal, Halifax, Hillsville, Hurt, Independence, Irvington, Kenbridge, Lebanon, Pearisburg, Pulaski, Richlands, Rocky Mount, Saltville, Scottsville, Smithfield, Stuart, Tazewell, Victoria, West Point, and Wytheville; and in the counties of Chesterfield, Fairfax, James City, Prince William (except DOD land), Roanoke (except on National Forest and Department-owned lands), Stafford, and York.
  • Archery or crossbow deer hunters hunting during the early urban archery deer season are required to wear blaze color on the Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Weekend. For exceptions to the blaze color requirement see General Hunting Information.
  • Lists of properties available for hunting are not maintained by the Department or local governments.
  • Go to www.virginiawildlife.gov/hunting/urban-archery-season for local restrictions and other urban archery information.
  • All other normal deer regulations apply (e.g., daily and season bag limits, tagging and reporting, DMAP, DCAP, EAB, antler point restrictions, etc.).

NOVA Late Archery Season

During this season only antlerless deer may be taken.

March 28, 2022 through April 24, 2022:

  • In Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William (except on Department-owned lands) counties (including the cities and towns within).

Legal Methods and Restrictions During Archery Deer Seasons

Special restrictions may apply during this season. See Legal Use of Firearms & Archery Tackle, and Local Firearms Ordinances for details.

  • Archery tackle.
  • Persons with a disability that prevents them from drawing a bow or crossbow may hunt with an arrowgun during the special archery season provided they have in possession an authorization form provided by the Department that has been completed by their physician.
  • Broadhead widths must be at least 7/8-inch wide or expand upon impact to 7/8-inch.
  • It is unlawful to use explosive head arrows or arrows to which any drug, chemical, or toxic substance has been added.
  • It is unlawful to use dogs, except that dogs may be used to track wounded or dead deer (see Hunting with Dogs, General Hunting Information).
  • It is unlawful to have a firearm in possession except that a muzzleloading firearm, as defined in the muzzleloader deer seasons section, may also be in possession when and where there is an overlap with a muzzleloading deer season where deer hunting with a rifle or muzzleloading firearm is permitted. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders on Legal Use of Firearms & Archery Tackle.)

Muzzleloader Deer Seasons

In all areas where hunting with a muzzleloading rifle is permitted.

Note: Deer hunters west of the Blue Ridge Mountains may take their season limit of two antlered deer during the early muzzleloading season. In designated areas, EAB regulations would apply.

Muzzleloader deer hunters and persons accompanying a muzzleloader deer hunter shall wear a blaze color, except when physically located in a tree stand or other stationary hunting location.

Early Muzzleloader Season

October 30 through November 12:

There is no early muzzleloader season in the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line), or Virginia Beach since it occurs during the general firearms season.

Antlered deer may be taken every day of the season. Antlerless deer may only be taken on the designated either-sex deer hunting days listed below.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days East of the Blue Ridge:

October 30 through November 12 (full season):

In all areas (including Merrimac Farm WMA and Occoneechee State Park) unless otherwise noted below.

  • November 6: On State Forest lands, State Park lands (except Occoneechee State Park), Department-owned lands (except Merrimac Farm WMA), and Philpott Reservoir.
  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties. Special Youth and Apprentice Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days West of the Blue Ridge:

October 30 through November 12 (full season):
  • On private lands in Augusta, Botetourt, Carroll, Clarke, Floyd, Frederick, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, Rockingham (east of Route 613 and 731), Scott, Shenandoah, Warren and Wythe counties.
November 6:
  • On private lands in Alleghany, Bath, Bland, Craig, Dickenson, Giles, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Smyth and Washington counties, and on the Highland WMA.
Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days:
  • On all National Forest and Department-owned lands in all counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains (except the Highland WMA).
  • In Buchanan, Lee, Rockingham (west of Routes 613 and 731), Russell, Tazewell, and Wise counties.
  • On Channels State Forest, Grayson Highlands State Park, Hungry Mother State Park, PALS (Public Access Lands for Sportsmen) in Dickenson County, and Flannagan Reservoir.
  • Special Youth and Apprentice Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

Late Muzzleloader Season East of the Blue Ridge

December 11 through January 1:

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amherst (west of Route 29), Bedford, Franklin, Henry, Nelson (west of Route 151), and Patrick, and in the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line), and Virginia Beach.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days East of the Blue Ridge:

December 11 through
January 1 (full season):
  • In the counties of Amherst (west of Route 29 except on National Forest lands), Bedford (except on National Forest lands), Franklin, Henry, Nelson (west of Route 151 except on National Forest lands), and Patrick.
December 27 through January 1:
  • In the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line), and Virginia Beach.
January 1:
  • On National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties.

Late Muzzleloader Season West of the Blue Ridge

December 11 through January 1:

In all areas west of the Blue Ridge unless noted in the season exception below.

Season Exception:
  • There is no late muzzleloader season in Clarke County and on private lands in Frederick County since it occurs during the general firearms season.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days West of the Blue Ridge:

December 11 through
January 1 (full season):
  • On private lands in Augusta, Botetourt, Carroll, Floyd, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, Rockingham (east of Routes 613 and 731), Shenandoah, Warren, and Wythe counties.
December 27 through January 1:
  • On private lands in Bland, Craig, Giles, Page, Rockbridge, Scott, Smyth and Washington counties.
January 1:
  • In Alleghany, Bath, Dickenson, Highland, Lee, Rockingham (west of Routes 613 and 731), Russell, Tazewell, and Wise counties.
  • On all National Forest and Department-owned lands in all counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • On Channels State Forest, Grayson Highlands State Park, and Hungry Mother State Park.
Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days:
  • In Buchanan County. Special Youth and Apprentice Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

Legal Methods and Restrictions During Muzzleloading Deer Seasons

Special restrictions apply to specific fire­arms use during this season. See Legal Use of Firearms & Archery Tackle, and Local Firearms Ordinances, for details.

  • Muzzleloading guns that can be used during these deer seasons include:
    • Single shot muzzleloading rifles .40 caliber or larger, firing a single projectile or sabot (with a .35 caliber or larger projectile) where the projectile is loaded from the muzzle;
    • Muzzleloading shotguns (one or more barrels) not larger than 10 gauge where the projectiles are loaded from the muzzle;
    • Muzzleloading pistols (one or more barrels) .45 caliber or larger, firing a single projectile or sabot (with a .35 caliber or larger projectile) per barrel where the propellant and projectile are loaded from the muzzle;
    • Muzzleloading revolvers .45 caliber or larger, firing a single projectile or sabot (with a .35 caliber or larger projectile) per cylinder where the propellant and projectile are loaded from the forward end of the cylinder.
  • Flintlock, percussion, or electronic ignitions are permitted.
  • It is unlawful to have in immediate possession any firearm other than a muzzleloading firearm while hunting with a muzzleloader. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders on Legal Use of Firearms & Archery Tackle.)
  • Smokeless powder is allowed in muzzleloading firearms designed for it. Never use smokeless powder in a muzzleloading firearm that is not specifically designed for it.
  • Scopes are permitted.
  • For the purposes of transportation in a vehicle, muzzleloading firearms are considered “unloaded” when all powder has been removed from the flashpan, or the percussion cap, primer, or battery has been removed from the firearm.
  • Pneumatic arrowguns are allowed.
  • It is unlawful to hunt deer with dogs, except that dogs may be used to track wounded or dead deer (see Hunting with Dogs, General Hunting Information).
  • It is lawful to carry archery tackle when and where there is an overlap with a deer archery and deer muzzleloader season.

Muzzleloader Either-Sex Deer Hunting for Incorporated Cities and Towns

  • Deer of either sex may be taken full season during the muzzleloader seasons within the incorporated limits of any city or town in the Commonwealth that allows muzzleloading deer hunting (except in the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach) and only with the weapons (archery tackle and/or muzzleloaders) authorized by each individual city or town.
  • Earn a buck applies to all cities and towns except Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach (see Deer Hunting Earn A Buck).

Bowhunters Needed for Survey

The Department has an ongoing statewide bowhunter survey to obtain information on bear, deer, turkey, small game, and furbearer populations. Participants will receive an annual survey form to complete during the early archery deer season and a copy of the results after they are compiled. To participate, please contact Mike Fies with your mailing address at mike.fies@dwr.virginia.gov.

Q: Are pop-up blinds legal for deer hunting in Virginia?

A: Yes, but blaze orange which is visible from 360 degrees must be displayed on the outside of the blind when it is occupied.

Q: Are deer cover scents legal in Virginia?

A: Yes, but there is a catch. They are illegal if they are used in a way where a deer can lick or consume it. A good rule of thumb about these products is if a deer can only smell it, it is a cover scent and it is legal. If a deer can lick and ingest it, it is considered bait and it is illegal.

Q: Are deer decoys legal for deer hunting in Virginia?

A: Yes.