Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Weekend Q & A’s

Does the youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend occur at a set time each year?

Yes.  The youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend is the last Saturday in September and the following calendar day.  Note that in some years, the last Saturday in September will be the 30th meaning the dates for this weekend could be Saturday September 30th and Sunday October 1st.

In general, what are the license requirements?

  • Resident youth deer hunters under 12 in Virginia are not required to purchase a license or have taken a hunter education course.
  • Resident youth deer hunters 12 and above must be licensed and have taken a hunter education course. An exception to this rule is that hunters 12 and over could go hunting with an Apprentice License without having taken a hunter education course. If a young hunter is over age 12 and has had a hunter education course, the Junior Combination Hunting License (under 16 years of age) for $16.00 is the best deal. It includes statewide hunting privileges, archery, muzzleloading, and bear, deer, and turkey tags.
  • Nonresident youth deer hunters of any age need to have appropriate licenses (unless they are exempt from purchasing a license).
  • The apprentice hunting license (resident or nonresident) serves as a first-time hunting license and is good for 2 years. The license entitles the holder to a onetime deferral of the hunter education requirement. Like youth hunters, during the youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend, apprentice license holders must be accompanied and directly supervised at all times by a mentor over 18 who has on his or her person a valid Virginia hunting license or is exempt from purchasing a license. A deer- turkey license and all applicable licenses, stamps, or permits are required in addition to the apprentice license. Previous resident and nonresident hunting license holders are not eligible for an apprentice license.

What does “accompanied and directly supervised by an adult” mean?

It means the adult maintains close visual and verbal contact with, provides adequate direction to, and can immediately assume control of the firearm.

Can nonresident youth and nonresident apprentice deer hunters hunt this weekend?

Yes, the regulation applies to all youth and apprentice deer hunters, resident or non-resident.

Are does legal and where?

Yes, everywhere including Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties and on National Forest and Department-owned lands (Note: Sunday hunting is not allowed on National Forest and Department-owned lands).

What weapons are legal?

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

What other regulations apply?

Unless specified in the youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend regulation (e.g., accompanied by a licensed adult, orange required, no dog hunting, etc.) all other “normal” deer regulations apply (e.g., tagging and checking, daily bag limits, DMAP, DCAP, EAB, special antler restrictions, etc.).

If a youth deer hunter kills a doe on the youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend, does the special youth antlerless deer regulation that allows him to kill an antlerless deer on a buck-only day still apply?

Yes, except for in the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise. The youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend applies to these three counties. The special youth antlerless deer regulation does not apply to these three counties.

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.