Elk Hunting Regulations
In Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties (Virginia’s designated Elk Management Zone)
Elk hunting in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties is available through an elk hunt lottery https://dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/elk/hunting/elk-lottery/. Interested individuals may apply for the lottery each spring. The fee to apply for the elk hunt lottery is $15 for Virginia residents and $20 for non-residents.
Virginia’s second elk hunt within the Elk Management Zone (Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties) will occur October 14-20, 2023. Six lucky hunters will have the opportunity to harvest a bull elk from Virginia’s restored elk population. Stay tuned later in fall 2023 to hear about the hunters’ success. Information about the inaugural elk hunt in 2022 can be accessed at: https://dwr.virginia.gov/blog/2022-dwr-elk-hunt/. Information on applying for the fall 2024 elk hunt will be available in January 2024.
In All Areas Outside of Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties:
Any elk (bull, cow, or calf) can be taken on any day of an open deer season (archery, muzzleloader, or firearms) in the county/locality in which the individual is hunting. Legal weapons for taking elk coincide with legal weapons for deer during that specific season except that elk may not be taken with a slingbow or air rifle.
Reporting requirements for elk are the same as those for deer, but the animal should be reported as an elk. Successful elk hunters must contact the Department at (804) 367-0044 to schedule a time for collection of biological samples. This number is ONLY intended for making arrangements for tissue sample collection from harvested elk. It is illegal to destroy the sex identity of any harvested elk until reported. Elk may be dismembered to pack it out of the place of kill, but the sex and all parts of the carcass (except internal organs) must be present when the elk is reported.
- The taking of an elk counts toward a hunter’s daily and seasonal bag limit for deer.
- Only one elk per day may be taken statewide.
- An animal with antlers above the hairline counts toward a hunter’s either-sex (buck) deer limit.
- An animal without antlers counts toward a hunter’s daily and seasonal antlerless deer limit.
- Elk cannot be harvested on DCAP, DMAP, or DPOP tags.
- Unless otherwise specified above, all deer hunting regulations apply to elk hunting outside of the Elk Management Zone.