State Game Laws

From the VDGIF Website  -  Laws that pertain to Sportsman Hunt Club hunting areas

Check the VDGIF Website for a complete copy of all game laws

What’s New for 2016-2017

Licenses

  • Hunters and anglers can download all current valid licenses and new licenses to their mobile device and display them for Conservation Police Officers. Note: a hard copy of the Deer/Turkey and Bear Licenses must still be carried.
  • New enhanced online licensing system
    • Users will be required to create a customer account
    • Users can enroll in DGIF’s new auto renew program
    • DGIF will begin offering a durable hard card license for an additional fee.


*****************Notes from the General Hunting Regulations*****************************

Each hunter is responsible for knowing and following Federal, State, local and Club rules, regulations and game laws.  The information below is meant only as a guide.


On March 5, 2014, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law Hunting on Sundays. The new law allows hunting on Sundays under certain circumstances. A person may hunt waterfowl, subject to restrictions imposed by the Director of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and a landowner and his immediate family or a person with written permission from the “landowner”1 may hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including nuisance species, on the landowner’s property. However, the aforementioned hunting activities cannot occur within 200 yards of a house of worship and prohibits the hunting of deer or bear with a gun, firearm, or other weapon with the aid or assistance of dogs on Sunday. All seasons, bag limits, and other laws and regulations also continue to apply.

Hunting With a Muzzleloading Rifle; Blaze Orange Clothing

During the special season for hunting deer with a muzzleloading rifle only, every muzzleloader deer hunter and every person accompanying a muzzleloader deer hunter shall wear a blaze orange hat (the bill or brim of the hat may be a color or design other than solid blaze orange) or blaze orange upper body clothing that is visible from 360 degrees, except when any such person is physically located in a tree stand or other stationary hunting location.

Apprentice Hunters

Allows persons holding an apprentice hunting license to hunt unsupervised if they have successfully completed a hunter education course. Upon completion of hunter education, unless otherwise required by law to be supervised as in the case of hunting on a youth/apprentice hunting day where, by Department regulation, apprentice hunters must be supervised by a licensed or an exempt licensed adult, the apprentice hunting licensee may hunt unsupervised subject to the requirements of applicable state law and regulations. You must carry proof of hunter education while hunting unsupervised.

Mandatory Hunter Education

Hunter Education courses provide instruction in hunter safety, principles of conservation, and sportsmanship. The courses are composed of two sections:

  • Section 1 - Self-study.
    Each student is required to study course material prior to the classroom portion.
  • Section 2 - Classroom portion.
    Students will focus on safety and ethics. A written test will be given at the end of the class. Test questions will cover material from the classroom portion and from the selfstudy material.

Courses are offered free of charge throughout the Commonwealth.For more information, go to the Hunter Education page or call the Hunter Education Coordinator at the nearest DGIF regional office.

Hunters over the age of 18 may also take hunter education completely online. There is a fee associated with these courses. For more information, go to the Hunter Education page.

Hunter Education Requirement

You must complete an approved hunter education course and carry your card while hunting if either of the following apply:

  • You are 12–15 years of age. (You must complete hunter education but you do not have to carry your card if accompanied and properly supervised by a licensed adult.)
  • You are at least 16 years of age and you are hunting with your first hunting license.

Virginia accepts and recognizes all states' and countries' hunting licenses and official hunter education credentials for the purpose of complying with mandatory hunter education requirements. These may be in the form of an identification card or certificate.

Although it is recommended for all hunters, you are not required to complete hunter education if:

  • You only hunt foxes with hounds while on horseback, but without firearms.
  • You are exempt from the requirement to purchase a license.
  • You are under the age of 12. However, you may not hunt unless accompanied and directly supervised by a licensed adult.
  • You are hunting with an apprentice license. In that case you must be accompanied and directly supervised by an adult over the age of 18 who has, on his person, a valid Virginia hunting license. "Accompanied and directly supervised" means the adult maintains close visual and verbal contact with, provides adequate direction to, and can immediately assume control of the firearm from the apprentice hunter. The apprentice hunting license cannot be used as proof of holding a previous hunting license, for the purposes of purchasing a hunting license without proof of hunter education.

Blaze Orange Requirements

When hunting any species during a firearms deer season and on youth/apprentice deer hunting day, every hunter (see exceptions below), or persons accompanying a hunter, shall wear a blaze orange hat or blaze orange upper body clothing that is visible from 360 degrees or display at least 100 square inches of solid blaze orange 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 orange. 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 orange hat.

Hunters using ground (pop-up, chair, box, etc.) or tree stand blinds that conceal them from view must display a minimum of 100 square inches of blaze orange, visible from 360 degrees, on the OUTSIDE of such blinds. This blaze orange is in addition to any worn on the hunter's person.

During the muzzleloader seasons for hunting deer with a muzzleloading rifle only, every muzzleloader deer hunter and every person accompanying a muzzleloader deer hunter shall wear blaze orange as specified above except when they are physically located in a tree stand or other stationary hunting location.

Exceptions

  • Blaze orange is not required of waterfowl hunters, dove hunters, individuals participating in hunting dog field trials, and fox hunters on horseback without firearms.
  • Blaze orange is not required of 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 orange requirement.
  • Blaze orange is not required of any hunters hunting during the muzzleloader deer seasons, other than muzzleloader deer hunters, as specified above.

Hunting Hours

  • Sunrise-Sunset Table  See chart link in the Menu (PDF)
  • One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset for nonmigratory birds and game animals except during spring gobbler season.
  • One-half hour before sunrise until 12 noon during spring gobbler season, except the last 12 days when the hunting hours are 1/2 hour before sunrise until sunset.
  • One-half hour before sunrise to sunset for Youth/Apprentice Spring Turkey Hunting Day.
  • Hours for bear hound training season are from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m daily, including Sundays.
  • Bobcat, foxes, raccoons, and opossums may be hunted by day or night during authorized seasons.
  • Raccoons may be hunted until 2 a.m. on Sundays. No other Sunday hunting of raccoons is permitted.
  • Nuisance species may be taken day or night.

Hunting with Dogs

  • The hunting of deer or bear with a gun, firearm, or other weapon with the aid or assistance of dogs on Sunday is prohibited.

It is unlawful to:

  • Hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species, with a gun, firearm, or other weapon, or to hunt or kill any deer or bear with a gun, firearm, or other weapon with the aid or assistance of dogs, on Sundays. Exceptions to Sunday hunting prohibtion:
    1. Raccoons may be hunted until 2:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
    2. Waterfowl may be hunted on Sundays subject to geographical limitations established by the Director and except within 200 yards of a place of worship or any accessory structure thereof.
    3. Any landowner or member of his family or any person with written permission from the landowner may hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species, on the landowner's property on Sunday, except within 200 yards of a place of worship or any accessory structure thereof.
    4. Hunting is permitted on licensed shooting preserves.

Carcass Transferred or Unattended

  1. If the kill is reported using the telephone or Internet checking system by a hunter who validated a tag, no personal check card is required as long as the hunter is in possession of the carcass.
  2. If the carcass is transferred to the possession of another individual or left unattended, a personal check card or Internet check card must be created and kept with the carcass until the carcass is processed. If the carcass is left unattended, the personal check card or Internet check card must be securely attached to the carcass.
  3. Exempt Hunter Optional Courtesy Check Card

    This form (PDF) allows for license exempt hunters to record confirmation check numbers when checking a deer, bear or turkey online or by calling the toll-free checking system 1-866-468-4263.

    Personal Check Card

    An animal reported using the telephone or Internet checking system will require the creation of a personal check card if:

    1. The hunter is license exempt.
    2. The hunter possesses a Veteran's Disabled Lifetime License.
    3. The carcass is transferred to someone else.
    4. The carcass is left unattended.

Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation

Resident or nonresident deer hunters 15 years of age and under may take one antlerless deer per license year on days other than designated eithersex deer hunting days during the muzzleloading season(s) or the firearms season(s) in all counties that have at least one either-sex deer hunting day during the firearms deer season. This regulation applies to all private and public lands (National Forest, State Forests, WMAs, etc.) statewide (except on public and private lands in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties). This regulation is in addition to either-sex deer hunting days. For example, if a youth deer hunter, 15 years of age or younger, killed one or more antlerless deer on designated either-sex deer hunting days, he or she could still take one antlerless deer on a day not designated an either-sex day.

Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Day

September 24 and 25

  • Statewide.
  • Resident and nonresident youth hunters 15 years of age and under or holders of a valid apprentice hunting license, when in compliance with all applicable laws and licenses, may hunt when accompanied and directly supervised by an adult who has a valid Virginia hunting license or is exempt from purchasing a hunting license. Nonresident youth of any age need to have the appropriate licenses (unless exempt from purchasing a license).
  • Deer of either sex may be taken.
  • Antlerless deer taken on the youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend are in addition to an antlerless deer taken under the youth antlerless deer regulation and on either-sex deer hunting days.
  • Deer harvested by youth or apprentice hunters count against their daily and season bag limit.
  • Blaze orange requirements and exceptions for firearms deer season are in effect (see General Hunting Regulations).
  • Deer hunting with dogs is prohibited, except that tracking dogs are allowed (see Hunting with Dogs).
  • Adult hunters accompanying youth or apprentice deer hunters:
    • do not need a deer/turkey license on this weekend.
    • shall not carry or discharge a weapon.
    • shall maintain close visual and verbal contact with, provide adequate direction to, and can immediately assume control of the firearm.
  • Unless specified above, all other normal firearm deer regulations apply (e.g., daily and season bag limits, tagging and checking, EAB, special antler restrictions, etc.).

Archery Deer Seasons

Early Archery Season  October 1 through November 18: Statewide

Deer of either sex may be taken full season during the early and late archery deer season


Muzzleloader Deer Seasons

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

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

Early Muzzleloader Season November 5 through 18:

Either-sex Deer Hunting East of the Blue Ridge: November 5 through 18 (full season)


Firearms Deer Seasons

November 19 through January 7     In the counties , New KentEither-sex Deer Hunting Days: November 26, December 3, December 10, and December 12 through January 7:


November 19 through January 7  In the counties (including the cities and towns within) King and Queen Either-sex Deer Hunting Days: November 26, December 3, and December 26 through January 7

LOCAL HUNTING REGULATIONS

 
New Kent County:
 
8. No rifles for big game hunting.

12. It is lawful to use muzzleloading riflesfor game animals in the regular hunting season.

25. No hunting with firearms of game species from within 100 yds. of a road.

54. It is unlawful to transport, possess, or carry a loaded rifle or shotgun in any vehicle on any public street, road or highway.

King and Queen County:

49. Muzzleloading rifles are permitted during any authorized firearms season for the hunting of game animals except for the hunting of turkeys during the spring gobbler season

68. It shall be unlawful to hunt with a rifle larger than .22 caliber, except rifles of a larger caliber may be used for hunting groundhogs and coyotes outside the general firearms deer season.



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