Virginia.gov

Furbearer Hunting Seasons

Legal Methods and Restrictions

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

  • Modern firearms.
  • Archery tackle (including crossbows).
  • Muzzleloading firearms.
  • Dogs may be used (except where prohibited, see Hunting with Dogs).
  • Electronic calls for bobcat, coyote, and fox.
  • Hunting permitted day or night.
  • Lights may be used as long as the light is not attached to or cast from a vehicle.
  • Night vision scopes and laser sights may be used.
  • No hunting of raccoons on Sundays, except until 2:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
  • Sunday hunting of furbearers other than raccoons is permitted on private lands with written permission of the land - owner.
  • No Sunday hunting of furbearers on public lands, except raccoons, which may be hunted until 2 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

Bobcat

Bag Limit

Two per hunting party taken between noon one day and noon the following day. Season bag limit shall be 12 bobcats taken by hunting and trapping combined.

Archery

Season:

October 4 through 31: statewide

Legal Methods and Restrictions

  • It is unlawful to use dogs when hunting with bow and arrow or crossbow during the bobcat archery season.
  • It is unlawful to have a firearm in possession.

Firearms

Season:

November 1 through February 28: statewide

Dogs May Be Used to Hunt Bobcat Except:

During the firearms season for deer in the counties of Alleghany, Amherst (west of Route 29), Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Botetourt, Campbell (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Clarke, Frederick, Highland, Nelson (west of Rt. 151), Page, Pittsylvania (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren and within the boundaries of the George Washington/Jefferson National Forests.

Electronic Checking Requirement for Bobcats

All hunters or trappers who kill a bobcat are required to report the kill within 24 hours through the Department's electronic harvest reporting system. Bobcats can be checked with a touch-tone telephone (a rotary phone will not work) by calling the toll-free number 1-866-GOT-GAME (468-4263). Bobcats can also be checked online.

Before using the telephone or Internet checking system, you will need your hunting license number, a pen, and a piece of paper to record your confirmation number. If you are exempt from purchasing a license, you will need your driver's license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

At the end of the check-in session, you will be provided with a confirmation number that is a letter followed by 11 digits. Write this number down and store it in a secure location where it can be retrieved to prove compliance with the checking requirement or to request CITES tags. If your telephone or Internet session is cut off before you get a complete confirmation number, start the session again and continue until the complete confirmation number is obtained. If you have more than one bobcat to check in, you will have the opportunity to report additional animals at the end of the session.

If you plan to take the bobcat to a taxidermist, you must securely attach written documentation to the carcass that includes the full name of the hunter or trapper, date of kill, and the harvest confirmation number.

Bobcats legally killed by landowners outside the season and legally possessed road-killed bobcats are not required to be checked in using the electronic harvest reporting system. If you plan to take a bobcat to a taxidermist that does not require checking, you must securely attach the same information described above (except for the confirmation number) and a description of how the bobcat was legally obtained.

CITES Tagging Requirement For Bobcats

Bobcat pelts that are sold, traded, or transported out of state must also have a CITES tag affixed to each animal. A valid confirmation number will be needed to obtain a CITES tag. No CITES tag is needed to have a bobcat mounted by a Virginia taxidermist or to ship a bobcat pelt out-of-state for tanning purposes (unless required by the state where the tannery is located).

To obtain a CITES tag for a bobcat, contact Customer Service at (866) 721-6911 during regular business hours. If you cannot reach Customer Service, you can contact a Conservation Police Officer through your nearest Department regional office) or your local Sheriff's Office (after hours). Every effort will be made to provide CITES tags as quickly as possible, but we may not be able to accommodate short notice requests received on weekends or after hours. Nonresident hunters or trappers who need to leave the state before they are able to secure a CITES tag should plan to leave the bobcat pelt or carcass in the care of someone in Virginia until a tag can be attached.

Make sure that you have a valid harvest confirmation number for each CITES tag requested. Tags ordered from our Customer Service Center will be mailed directly to the hunter or trapper, along with instructions for tagging. If a bobcat pelt is required to have a CITES tag affixed, it must be tagged by April 1.

Coyote

Season:

Continuous open season except on National Forest lands and Department lands. Coyote hunting on National Forest lands and Department lands is permitted from September 1 through March 10 and during the spring turkey season. Coyotes may also be hunted on Department lands during the spring squirrel season unless otherwise posted (see area listings for spring squirrel season).

Coyote Bounty Law

Coyote bounties are not administered by DGIF. Counties have the option of establishing their own coyote bounty system. For more information, hunters and trappers should contact their County Administrator or County Board of Supervisors.

Fisher

Continuous closed season for taking fisher.

Opossum

Season:

October 15 through March 10: statewide

Skunk

Season:

Continuous open season to hunt striped skunk except on National Forest lands and Department lands.

Striped skunk hunting on National Forest lands and Department lands is permitted from September 1 through March 10 and during the spring turkey season. Striped skunks may also be hunted on Department lands during the spring squirrel season unless otherwise posted (see area listings for spring squirrel season).

Continuous closed season for taking spotted skunks and the pelts of spotted skunks may not be sold.

Fox

Firearms

Season:

November 1 though February 28

Closed in Albemarle, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier (except Quantico), Loudoun, Louisa, and Rappahannock counties.

Dogs May Not Be Used to Hunt Foxes:

During the firearms season for deer on the Gathright, Goshen, Highland, and Little North Mountain Wildlife Management Areas and within the boundaries of the George Washington/Jefferson National Forests.

Chase Only

NO FOXES MAY BE TAKEN EXCEPT DURING THE FIREARMS SEASON.

Licenses Required:

License requirements are the same as those for hunting foxes with firearms. However, a Fox Hunting License to hunt foxes on horseback with hounds without firearms may be purchased in lieu of a basic hunting license. This license exempts the licensee from having to complete the hunter education program.

Season:

Continuous open season statewide (including Sundays) unless noted below.

  • Closed March 1 through October 31 and during the firearms season for deer on the George Washington/Jefferson National Forests and on Gathright, Goshen, G. Richard Thompson, Highland, and Little North Mountain WMAs.
  • Closed March 1 through October 31 on Rapidan WMA.

Restrictions:

  • Unlawful to have in possession a firearm when hunting fox outside of the firearms fox season. Possession shall include, but not be limited to, having any firearm in or on one's person, vehicle, or conveyance.

Electronic Calls

It is unlawful to take or attempt to take wild animals and wild birds with recorded or electronically amplified calls, except for bobcat, coyote, crow, and fox. Electronic calls may be used on private lands with written permission of the landowner and on public lands (except where specifically prohibited) during periods when the use of firearms is permitted.

Raccoon

Bag Limit:

  • East of the Blue Ridge: Two per hunter taken between noon one day and noon the following day.
  • West of the Blue Ridge: Two per hunting party (individual or organized) taken between noon one day and noon the following day.

Firearms

Season:

October 15 through March 10: statewide

Legal Methods and Restrictions

  • Raccoons may be hunted until 2:00 a.m. Sunday mornings.
  • Lights may be used as long as the light is not attached to or cast from a vehicle.

Chase-Only Season

NO RACCOON MAY BE TAKEN EXCEPT DURING THE FIREARMS SEASON.

Continuous open season statewide (including Sundays) except on Departmentcontrolled lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and on National Forest lands.

August 10 through September 28 (including Sundays) on Departmentcontrolled lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and on National Forest lands where bear hound training is permitted).

Restrictions:

It is unlawful to have in possession a firearm, bow, axe, or any tree climbing device when chasing raccoons outside of the firearms season. Possession shall include, but not be limited to, having these devices in or on one's person, vehicle, or conveyance while engaged in the act of chasing.