Deer

General Information

Bag Limits

East of the Blue Ridge (except on National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties)
The bag limit for deer shall be two a day, six a license year. Of the six-deer limit, no more than three may be antlered deer and at least three must be antlerless deer (unless noted in the exception below).

  • The daily bag limit for deer shall be unlimited in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties (including the cities and towns within). However, no more than three antlered deer may be killed in a license year.
West of the Blue Ridge and on National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties
The bag limit for deer shall be one a day and five a license year. Of the five-deer limit, no more than two may be antlered deer and at least three must be antlerless deer (unless noted in the exceptions below).

  • The daily bag limit for deer shall be two a day on private lands in Clarke, Frederick, Roanoke, Shenandoah, and Warren counties (including the cities and towns within).
  • If a deer hunter kills two antlered bucks in a license year in Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge, Rockingham, or Shenandoah County, at least one of the bucks must have at least four antler points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers.

Bag Limit Exceptions

  • Deer hunters, including those exempt from purchasing a license, on private land and authorized public lands may take more than the license-year bag limit of antlerless deer by using bonus deer permits or special permits (DCAP, DMAP, and DPOP).
  • DCAP, DMAP, and DPOP tags do not count against the daily or season bag limit.

Natural Deer Urine Attractants Illegal in Virginia

It is illegal to possess or use deer scents/lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids while taking, attempting to take, attracting, or scouting wildlife in Virginia. Learn more »

Bonus Deer Permits

  • Are valid for one year from date of purchase.
  • Are valid for antlerless deer only.
  • Are valid only on private lands and authorized public lands.
  • Are valid only on designated either-sex deer hunting days.
  • Are valid during all archery, muzzleloader, and firearms deer seasons.
  • Allow deer to be taken in addition to the license year bag limit.
  • Do not allow the daily bag limit to be exceeded.
  • Are not valid on National Forest and Department-owned lands.
  • Are not valid in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties.
  • Come with no restriction on number that may be purchased and used.

Hunters for the Hungry

We hope you will consider helping to feed the hungry. Hunters for the Hungry encourages hunters to donate deer at participating locations. Funds are raised to cover the costs of professional processing then the venison is distributed through local feeding
programs to people in need throughout Virginia. To date, 25 million servings of venison
have been provided through the generosity of Virginia’s hunters!

To help the program be as cost-effective as possible, hunters are asked to donate mature, large-bodied deer. To thank hunters and encourage donations of deer, a free hunter incentive drawing is held. For each deer a hunter donates, they receive an entry into this 25 prize drawing! For a listing of participating locations and the prize list for the 2017/2018 drawing sponsored by Green Top Sporting Goods, please call 1-800-352-4868, visit www.h4hungry.org or write P.O. Box 304, Big Island, VA 24526.

Legislation was passed in 2003 in honor of the program’s founder, David Horne which enables hunters to voluntarily make a donation when they purchase their hunting licenses. No financial donations are required to donate deer to the program. *If you are asked to pay any part of the processing fee on donated deer please contact us.

Tree Stand Safety Guidelines

  • Use a full-body safety harness to secure yourself to the tree. Stay attached whenever you are off the ground. Minimize slack in the tether so that if you fall, it will not be very far. This reduces the risk of injury and may allow you to climb back into your stand. Hanging in a harness for a long time may cause irreversible injury or death. Have a plan for self-rescue.
  • Never climb with equipment; use a haul line to get your unloaded gun or bow into and out of the tree stand. Crossbows may be raised while cocked, but should never be loaded with an arrow until you are securely in the stand and ready to hunt. It can be dangerous to try to cock a crossbow while in a tree.
  • Keep manufactured tree stands in good working condition. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Many falls occur because of the failure of homemade stands, especially as they age. It is best to avoid them.
  • While most manufactured tree stands are safe if used properly, they are occasionally found to be defective and recalled. To find out if your stand has been recalled, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Antlered and Antlerless Deer

Deer Tags

  • Either-sex deer tags (commonly called “buck” tags) may be used on antlered or antlerless deer.
  • Antlerless-only deer tags (commonly called “doe” tags) may only be used on antlerless deer.

Antlered Deer

  • Antlered deer must have antlers visible above the hairline.
  • An antlered deer must be tagged with an either-sex deer tag.

Antlerless Deer

  • Antlerless deer may only be taken during designated either-sex deer hunting days during the archery season(s), muzzleloading season(s), and firearms season(s). Youth deer hunters, see Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Weekend and Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation provisions below.
  • Antlerless deer (does, button bucks, and shed-antlered bucks) may be tagged with an antlerless-only deer tag or an either-sex deer tag.
  • Button bucks, male fawns approximately six months old, are considered antlerless deer. The hair covered bumps on a button buck’s head are not antlers. They are the pedicels from which the antlers will grow the next year.
  • Antlered deer that have shed their antlers, usually in late December or early January, are also considered antlerless deer. When checking a shed-antlered buck by telephone or Internet, it should be checked as an antlered deer with zero antler points.

Antler Point Restrictions

Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge, Rockingham, and Shenandoah Counties

If a deer hunter kills two antlered bucks in a license year, at least one of the bucks must have at least four antler points, one inch or longer, on one side of the antlers in each of the counties listed above.

Fairystone and Featherfin WMAs

On the Quality Deer Management Area of the Fairystone WMA and Featherfin WMA a legal antlered deer is a deer with at least four antler points, one inch or longer, on one side.

Earn a Buck (EAB)

For the purposes of this section, the term “license year” defines the period between July 1 and June 30 of the following year.

Cities and Towns: During a license year in any town or city (except Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach) east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it shall be unlawful to take a second antlered deer prior to taking at least one antlerless deer, and it shall be unlawful to take a third antlered deer prior to taking at least two antlerless deer. During a license year in any town or city west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it shall be unlawful to take a second antlered deer prior to taking at least one antlerless deer.

Arlington County: During a license year, it shall be unlawful to take a second antlered deer in Arlington County prior to taking at least two antlerless deer in Arlington County, and it shall be unlawful to take a third antlered deer in Arlington County prior to taking
at least three antlerless deer in Arlington County. Local firearms ordinances prohibit
the discharge of firearms in Arlington County.

Bedford County on private lands: During a license year, it shall be unlawful to
take a second antlered deer on private lands in Bedford County prior to taking at least
one antlerless deer on private lands in Bedford County, and it shall be unlawful to take a
third antlered deer on private lands in Bedford County prior to taking at least two antlerless deer on private lands in Bedford County.

Clarke County on private lands: During a license year, it shall be unlawful to
take a second antlered deer on private lands in Clarke County prior to taking at least one antlerless deer on private lands in Clarke County.

Fairfax County: During a license year, it shall be unlawful to take a second antlered deer in Fairfax County prior to taking at least two antlerless deer in Fairfax County, and it shall be unlawful to take a third antlered deer in Fairfax County prior to taking at least three antlerless deer in Fairfax County.

Fauquier County on private lands: During a license year, it shall be unlawful to
take a second antlered deer on private lands in Fauquier County prior to taking at least one antlerless deer on private lands in Fauquier County, and it shall be unlawful to take a third antlered deer on private lands in Fauquier County prior to taking at least two antlerless deer on private lands in Fauquier County.

Frederick County on private lands: During a license year, it shall be unlawful to
take a second antlered deer on private lands in Frederick County prior to taking at least one antlerless deer on private lands in Frederick County.

Loudoun County: During a license year, it shall be unlawful to take a second antlered deer in Loudoun County prior to taking at least two antlerless deer in Loudoun County, and it shall be unlawful to take a third antlered deer in Loudoun County prior to taking
at least three antlerless deer in Loudoun County.

Montgomery County on private lands: During a license year, it shall be unlawful to take a second antlered deer on private lands in Montgomery County prior to taking at least one antlerless deer on private lands in Montgomery County.

Prince William County except on Department of Defense (DOD) lands: During a license year, it shall be unlawful to take a second antlered deer in Prince William County (except on DOD lands) prior to taking at least two antlerless deer in Prince William County (except on DOD lands), and it shall be unlawful to take a third antlered deer in Prince William County (except on DOD lands) prior to taking at least three antlerless deer in Prince William County (except on DOD lands).

Rappahannock County on private lands: During a license year, it shall be unlawful to take a second antlered deer on private lands in Rappahannock County prior to taking at least one antlerless deer on private lands in Rappahannock County, and it shall be unlawful to take a third antlered deer on private lands in Rappahannock County prior to taking at least two antlerless deer on private lands in Rappahannock County.

Roanoke County on private lands: During a license year, it shall be unlawful to take a second antlered deer on private lands in Roanoke County prior to taking at least one antlerless deer on private lands in Roanoke County.

Warren County on private lands: During a license year, it shall be unlawful to take a second antlered deer on private lands in Warren County prior to taking at least one antlerless deer on private lands in Warren County.

For more information go to the Earn a Buck (EAB) Questions & Answers section.

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 either-sex 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 Weekend

Should the adult accompanying and directly supervising the youth or apprentice hunter ever use the adult’s hunting license to check in a deer harvested by youth or apprentice hunter?

No. Deer killed by youth or apprentice deer hunters on this weekend should NOT be checked in on the accompanying adult’s tag or license. Youth and apprentice hunters are encouraged to create their own DGIF customer accounts ahead of time for ease of checking in a successful harvest.

If you do not want to set up an account for the youth, prepare for a successful harvest by having the youth’s date of birth and last four digits of the youth’s SSN to allow the checking of the game.

Please refer to instructions provided in the answer to the next question.

How does a young hunter without a license check in a deer?

Deer hunters who do not have to purchase a license will not have deer tags. If they go to a check station, they should just have the check station operator check “None” for type of tag and write “less than 12” or “youth” in the blank next to “None”. If they call it in or check it over the internet, they can use their DGIF customer account to sign in or indicate that they are license exempt and then use their date of birth and the last four digits of their SSN to sign in. When the checking system asks them for their type of tag, they should enter “None.” Deer killed by youth or apprentice deer hunters on this weekend should NOT be checked in on the accompanying adult’s tag or license.

More Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Weekend Q & A’s

September 30 and October 1

  • 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 over the age of 18 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 colored 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, antler point restrictions, etc.).

Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Weekend Q & A’s

Archery Deer Seasons

Early Archery Season

October 7 through November 17: Statewide

Late Archery Seasons

December 3 through January 6:

  • In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amherst (west of Route 29), Bedford, and Nelson (west of Route 151).
  • In all areas west of the Blue Ridge unless noted in the season exception below.

Season Exception: Clarke and Floyd counties and on private lands in Frederick County.

December 4 through January 6:

  • On the Chester F. Phelps WMA and on National Forest Lands in Frederick County.

December 1 through January 6:

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

December 17 through January 6:

  • In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Floyd, Franklin, Henry, 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, Virginia
    Beach and Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp Line), unless otherwise noted below.

    • Only antlered deer may be taken during the early and late archery deer seasons on PALS (Public Access Lands) in Dickenson County.

Northern VA Late Antlerless-only Archery Season

During this season only antlerless deer may be taken.

March 26, 2018 through April 29, 2018:

  • In Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties (including the cities and towns within).

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@dgif.virginia.gov.

Urban Archery Deer Seasons

During this season only antlerless deer may be taken. Earn A Buck (EAB) applies to all the cities (except Chesapeake and Suffolk) and all the towns listed below and in the counties of Fairfax and Roanoke (except on National Forest and Department-owned lands).

September 2 through October 6 and January 7, 2018 through March 25, 2018:

  • Within the incorporated limits of the cities of 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, Chatham,
    Christiansburg, Farmville, Front Royal, Halifax, Hurt, Independence, Irvington, Kenbridge, Pearisburg, Pulaski, Richlands, Rocky Mount, Saltville, Smithfield, Stuart, Tazewell, Victoria, West Point, and Wytheville; and in the counties of Chesterfield (may be limited to certain areas, see website), Fairfax, James City, Roanoke (except on National Forest and Department-owned lands), 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.
  • Lists of properties available for hunting are not maintained by the Department or local governments.
  • Go to the Urban Archery Season page on this website for local restrictions and other urban archery information.
  • All other “normal” deer regulations apply (e.g., daily and season bag limits, tagging
    and checking, DMAP, DCAP, EAB, special antler restrictions, etc.).

Legal Methods and Restrictions During Archery Deer Seasons

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

  • Archery tackle.
  • 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, page 18).
  • 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).

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 both of their season limit of two antlered deer during the early muzzleloading season.

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

Early Muzzleloader Season

November 4 through 17:

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

Either-sex Deer Hunting East of the Blue Ridge: November 4 through 17 (full season):

  • In all areas (including Merrimac Farm WMA and Occoneechee State Park) unless otherwise noted below.
  • November 11:
    • 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.

Either-sex Deer Hunting West of the Blue Ridge:

  • November 4 through 17 (full season):
    • On private lands in Carroll, Clarke, Floyd, Frederick, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, Scott, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.
  • November 11 and November 13 through November 17:
    • On private lands in Botetourt County.
  • November 11:
    • On private lands in Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Bland, Craig, Giles, Highland, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham (except on private lands west of Routes 613 and 731), Smyth, Washington, and Wythe 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, Dickenson, 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) in Dickenson County, and Flannagan Reservoir.

Late Muzzleloader Season East of the Blue Ridge

December 16 through January 6:

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 East of the Blue Ridge:

  • December 16 through January 6 (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.
  • January 1 through 6:
    • In the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line), and Virginia Beach.
  • January 6:
    • On National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties.

Late Muzzleloader Season West of the Blue Ridge

December 16 through January 6:

Season Exception:

  • Closed in Clarke County and on private lands in Frederick County since it occurs during the general firearms season.

Either-sex Deer Hunting West of the Blue Ridge:

  • December 16 through January 6 (full season):
    • On private lands in Carroll, Floyd, Grayson, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.
  • January 1 through 6:
    • On private lands in Augusta, Bland, Botetourt, Craig, Giles, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham (except on private lands west of Routes 613 and 731), Scott, Smyth, Washington, and Wythe counties.
  • January 6:
    • 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.

Legal Methods and Restrictions During Muzzleloader Deer Seasons

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

  • Only muzzleloading firearms, .45 caliber or larger, loaded from the muzzle of the gun.
  • Muzzleloading firearms must be single shot, capable of firing only a single bullet or saboted bullet (.35 caliber or larger).
  • Flintlock, percussion, or electronic ignitions are permitted.
  • Must use at least 50 grains of black powder or black powder equivalent.
  • Muzzleloading pistols which meet the four restrictions listed above are legal.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • It is unlawful to hunt deer with dogs, except that dogs may be used to track wounded or dead deer (see Hunting with Dogs)
  • It is lawful to carry archery tackle when and where there is an overlap with a deer archery and muzzleloading season.
  • Deer of either sex may be taken full season during the muzzleloading seasons within the incorporated limits of any city or town in the Commonwealth that allows 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.
  • Muzzleloader deer hunters and persons accompanying a muzzleloader deer hunter shall wear blaze color, except when physically located in a tree stand or other stationary hunting location.

Firearms Deer Seasons

firearms-deer-seasons

November 18 through December 2

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amherst (west of Rt. 29), Bedford*, Botetourt, Carroll, Craig, Giles, Grayson, Montgomery*, Nelson (west of Rt. 151), Pulaski, Roanoke*, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren*, and Wythe.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

  • November 18 through December 2 (full season): In all areas unless otherwise noted below.
    • November 25 and December 2: On National Forest lands and Department-owned lands in Carroll County and on National Forest lands in Craig, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, and Wythe counties and on Big Survey WMA.
    • December 2: On private lands west of Routes 613 and 731 in Rockingham County.
    • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On National Forest and
      Department-owned lands in Botetourt and Roanoke counties and on National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, Grayson, Nelson, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren counties and on portions of Grayson Highlands
      State Park, Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

November 18 through December 2

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Lee, Page, Rockbridge, Russell, and Tazewell.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days

  • November 25, December 1 and 2: In all areas unless otherwise noted below.
    • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On National Forest and
      Department-owned lands in Rockbridge County, on National Forest lands in Lee, Page, and Tazewell counties, and on Clinch Mountain and Hidden Valley WMAs, and Channels State Forest. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

November 18 through January 6

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Accomack, Albemarle, Arlington*, Clarke*, Culpeper (see season exception for C.F. Phelps WMA below), Fairfax*, Fauquier* (see season exception for C. F. Phelps WMA below), Frederick* (see season exception for National Forest lands below), Greene, Hanover, Henrico, Isle of Wight, James City, Loudoun*, Madison, Northampton, Orange, Prince George, Prince
William*, Rappahannock*, Southampton, Stafford, Suffolk (west of the Dismal Swamp line), Surry, Sussex, and York.

  • In Arlington County*, City of Hampton*, and City of Richmond* (in the City of Richmond: archery only, no special permit is required for archery deer hunting). Note: Local Ordinances prohibit the discharge of firearms in these areas (see Local Firearms Ordinances).
  • In the City of Lynchburg* (on private lands for which a special permit has been issued by the Chief of Police).
  • In the City of Newport News*: archery only, no special permit is required for archery deer hunting.
  • In Fairfax County*, firearm hunting is restricted by location and parcel size. Contact the Div. of Animal Control, 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 for details. No parcel size restrictions exist for archery deer hunting.

(*denotes EAB county)

Season Exception

  • November 18 through December 2: On C.F. Phelps WMA and National Forest lands in Frederick County.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days

  • November 18 through January 6 (full season): In all areas unless otherwise noted below.
    • November 25, December 2, and December 9 through January 6: On Rapidan WMA.
    • November 25 and January 6: On G.R. Thompson WMA.
    • November 25 and December 2: On C.F. Phelps WMA.
    • November 25, December 2, and January 1 through 6: On the Big Woods WMA (including the Parkers Branch Tract) and Big Woods State Forest.
    • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On National Forest lands in Frederick County, on the Carlisle and Stewart tracts of the Hog Island WMA, and on the Ragged Island WMA. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

Northern VA Early and Late Anterless-only Firearms Deer Seasons

During these seasons only antlerless deer may be taken.

Early: September 2 through October 6

Late: January 7, 2018 through March 25, 2018:

In the counties of Arlington*, Fairfax*, Loudoun*, and Prince William* (including the cities and towns within). Local firearm ordinances prohibit the discharge of firearms in Arlington County. In Fairfax County*, firearm hunting is restricted by location and parcel size. Contact the Div. of Animal Control, 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 for details. No parcel size restrictions exist for archery deer hunting.

All legal deer hunting weapons including bows, crossbows, muzzleloaders, pistols, shotguns, and rifles are legal. Local firearms ordinances still apply.

All other “normal” deer regulations apply (e.g., daily and season bag limits, tagging and checking, DCAP, DMAP, EAB, etc.).

November 18 through January 6

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Caroline, Charlotte, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Essex, Gloucester, Greensville, King & Queen, King William, Lunenburg, Mathews, Mecklenburg,
Middlesex, Nottoway, and Prince Edward.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

  • November 25, December 2, and January 1 through 6: In all areas unless otherwise noted below.
    • November 25, December 2, and December 9 through January 6: On Featherfin WMA (by quota hunt only).
    • November 25, December 2, and January 1 through 6: On Briery Creek, Dick Cross, Horsepen Lake, and Mattaponi WMAs.
    • November 25 and December 2: On Appomattox-Buckingham and Prince Edward State Forests.

November 18 through January 6

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amelia, Charles City, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Halifax, King George, Lancaster, New Kent, Northumberland, Powhatan, Richmond and Westmoreland.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

  • November 25, December 2, and December 25 through January 6:
    In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

    • November 25, December 2, and December 25 through January 6: On Powhatan WMA.
    • November 25, December 2, and January 1 through 6: On Amelia WMA.
    • November 25 and December 2: On Cumberland State Forest.
    • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On Chickahominy WMA. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

November 18 through December 2

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Augusta, Scott, Smyth, and Washington.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

  • November 25 and November 27 through December 2:
    In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

    • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days: On National Forest and Department-owned lands in Augusta County and on National Forest lands in Scott, Smyth, and Washington counties, and on Clinch Mountain and Hidden Valley WMAs, Hungry Mother State Park, and Channels State Forest. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

November 18 through December 16

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Henry and Patrick.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

  • November 25, December 2, and December 4 through 16:
    In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

    • November 25 and December 11 through 16: On Fairystone Farms and Turkeycock Mountain WMAs, designated areas of Fairystone State Park, and Philpott Reservoir.

October 1 through November 30

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

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

  • October 14, October 21, and November 18 through November 30: In all areas.

November 18 through December 2

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

  • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer hunting days in all areas. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation does not apply.

November 18 through December 16

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Floyd and Franklin.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

  • November 18 through December 16 (full season):
    In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

    • November 25 and December 11 through 16: On Philpott Reservoir and Turkeycock Mountain WMA.

November 18 through January 6

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amherst (east of Rt. 29), Campbell, Goochland, Louisa, Nelson (east of Rt. 151), Pittsylvania and Spotsylvania. Note: Dogs may not be used for deer hunting in Campbell County (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad) and in Pittsylvania County (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad).

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

  • November 25, December 2, and December 9 through January 6:
    In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

    • November 25 and January 1 through 6: On James River WMA.
    • November 25 and January 6: On White Oak Mountain WMA.

November 18 through December 2

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Alleghany, Bath, Bland, and Highland.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days:

  • November 25 and December 2:
    In all areas unless otherwise noted below.

    • November 25 and December 2: On National Forest lands in Bland County and on the Highland WMA.
    • Antlered deer only–no either-sex deer
    • hunting days: On National Forest and Department-owned lands in Bath County and on National Forest lands in Alleghany and Highland counties. Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation applies.

Firearms Either-sex Deer Hunting For Incorporated Cities and Towns

  • Deer of either sex may be taken full season in the incorporated limits of any city or town in Virginia that allows deer hunting except in the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach, but only with the specific weapons authorized by each individual city or town.
  • Earn a buck applies to all cities and towns except Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach.

Legal Methods and Restrictions During Firearms Deer Seasons:

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

  • Modern firearms.
  • Hunters are allowed to use archery tackle or
    muzzleloading firearms to deer hunt during
    the firearms deer season with the following
    conditions:

    • all hunters are required to comply with the either-sex deer hunting days for the firearms deer season.
    • use of muzzleloading firearms is allowed only if not otherwise restricted.
    • muzzleloader deer hunters must wear blaze color during the firearms deer season.
    • archery deer hunters must wear blaze color during the firearms deer season except when hunting in areas where the discharge of firearms is prohibited.

Dogs May Not Be Used For Deer Hunting:

  • West of the Blue Ridge.
  • East of the Blue Ridge in Bedford, Fairfax, Franklin, Henry, Loudoun, Northampton, and Patrick counties, and Amherst (west of Rt. 29), Campbell (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Nelson (west of Rt. 151), Pittsylvania (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), and the City of Lynchburg.
  • On Sunday while in possession of a weapon.
  • When hunting during archery and muzzleloading seasons and on the Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Weekend.
  • On many military areas. Check individual Post regulations.
  • On Amelia, Cavalier, Doe Creek, Featherfin, Mattaponi, Merrimac Farm, Pettigrew, Chester F. Phelps, G. Richard Thompson, and Ware Creek Wildlife Management Areas.
  • During the first 14 hunting days of the firearms deer season in Madison and Greene counties.

Tracking Dogs:

  • Tracking dogs maintained and controlled on a lead may be used to find a wounded or dead bear or deer statewide during any archery muzzleloader, or firearm bear or deer hunting season, or within 24 hours of the end of such season, provided that those who are involved in the retrieval effort have permission to hunt on or to access the land being searched and do not have any weapons in their possession.