General Information & Hunting Regulations
- Mandatory Hunter Education
- Hunter Education Requirement
- Tree Stand Safety Guidelines
- Blaze Orange Requirements
- Hunting Hours
- Hunting with Dogs
- Training Dogs
- Legal Use of Firearms and Archery Tackle
- Unlawful Methods
- Unlawful Feeding of Certain Wildlife
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. Students must read the Today’s Hunter Student Manual and complete the review exercises at the back of the book. The review exercises must be presented to the course instructor, or the student will not be certified. Student manuals may be obtained at any DGIF regional office or may be purchased by calling 1-800-830-2268. A free download of the manual is available at the Hunter Education page.
- 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 self-study material.
Hunters age 12 and over 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.
If you purchase an apprentice hunting license and then complete hunter education, you may then use the apprentice license as a basic hunting license to hunt without supervision until it expires unless otherwise required by law to be supervised as in the case of hunting on a youth/apprentice hunting weekend where apprentice hunters must be supervised by a licensed adult. You must carry proof of hunter education while hunting unsupervised.
Any person 16 years of age or older may certify that he or she has held a previously issued hunting license by signing the license.
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 selfrescue.
- 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 manu – facturer’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.
Blaze Orange Requirements
When hunting any species during a firearms deer season and on youth/apprentice deer hunting weekend, 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 firearm, 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.
- Blaze orange is not required of waterfowl hunters, dove hunters, individuals participating in hunting dog field trials, and fox hunters on horseback without firearms.
- 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.
- Other than muzzleloader deer hunters, blaze orange is not required of any hunters hunting during the muzzleloader deer seasons.
- Sunrise-Sunset Table (PDF)
- One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset for nonmigratory birds and game animals except during spring turkey season.
- One-half hour before sunrise until 12 noon during spring gobbler season, except the last 13 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 Weekend.
- 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 2:00 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.
- Dogs may be used to pursue wild birds and animals during hunting seasons where not prohibited.
- Section 18.2-136 of the Code of Virginia decriminalizes trespass in certain instances related to dog retrieval. That section provides: “Fox hunters and coon hunters, when the chase begins on other lands, may follow their dogs on prohibited lands, and hunters of all other game, when the chase begins on other lands, may go upon prohibited lands to retrieve their dogs, falcons, hawks, or owls, but may not carry firearms or bow and arrows on their person or hunt any game while thereon. The use of vehicles to retrieve dogs, falcons, hawks, or owls on prohibited lands shall be allowed only with the permission of the landowner or his agent. Any person who goes on prohibited lands to retrieve his dogs, falcons, hawks, or owls pursuant to this section and who willfully refuses to identify himself when requested by the landowner or his agent to do so is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.”
- 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. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders on page 20.)
- It is unlawful to use dogs when hunting any species with archery tackle during any archery season, except bear hounds may be used during the youth/apprentice bear hunting weekend.
- It is unlawful to chase with dogs or hunt with dogs or to attempt to chase or hunt with dogs any wild animal from a baited site or to train dogs on any wild animal from a baited site. Furthermore, it shall be unlawful to place, distribute, or maintain bait or salt for any wild animal for the purpose of chasing with dogs, hunting with dogs, or the training of dogs. When hunting or training with dogs a baited site will be considered to be baited for 10 days following the complete removal of all such bait or salt.
- It is unlawful to intentionally cripple or otherwise harm any game animal for the intent of continuing a hunt, or chase, or for the purpose of training dogs. Upon treeing, baying, or otherwise containing an animal in a manner that offers the animal no avenue of escape, the person or the hunting party shall either harvest the animal if within a legal take season and by using lawful methods of take or terminate the chase by retrieving the dogs and allowing the animal freedom to escape for the remainder of the same calendar day.
- It is unlawful to dislodge an animal from a tree for the intent of continuing a hunt, or chase, or for the purpose of training dogs.
For Training Dogs on Military Bases Contact the Appropriate Base
- Fort A.P. Hill Game Check Station: (804) 633-8244
- Fort Belvoir Outdoor Recreation: (703) 805-3081
- Ft. Pickett Game Check Station: (434) 292-2618
- Quantico Game Check Station: (703) 784-5523
The training of dogs on live wild animals is considered hunting and you must have a valid hunting license while training, and is unlawful during the closed season except as noted below.
- You may train dogs during daylight hours on squirrels and nonmigratory game birds on private lands and on rabbits from 1/2 hour before sunrise until midnight on private lands. Participants shall have no weapons other than starter pistols in their possession and no wild animals shall be taken. Weapons may be in possession when training dogs on captive raised and properly marked mallards and pigeons so that they may be immediately shot or recovered, except on Sunday.
- You may train dogs on National Forest or Department-owned lands only during authorized training seasons that specifically permit these activities.
- You may train dogs on quail on the Amelia Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Dick Cross WMA, and on designated portions of the Chester F. Phelps WMA from September 1 to the day prior to the opening date of the quail hunting season, both dates inclusive. No weapons other than starter pistols may be in possession, and pen-raised birds may not be released.
- Pen-raised quail may be released at any time on private land with landowner permission.
However, birds can only be shot during the regular quail season. Regular bag limits apply.
- You may train dogs during daylight hours on rabbits and nonmigratory game birds on the Weston WMA from September 1 thru March 31, both dates inclusive. Participants in this dog training season shall have no weapons other than starter pistols in their possession, shall not release pen-raised birds, and must comply with all regulations and laws pertaining to hunting. No game shall be taken.
Legal Use of Firearms and Archery Tackle
Valid Concealed Handgun Permit Holders May:
Nothing in any Department regulation shall prohibit the possession and transport of a concealed handgun when the individual possesses a valid concealed weapon permit as defined in the Code of Virginia. The granting of a concealed handgun permit shall not thereby authorize the possession of any handgun or other weapon on property or in places where such possession is otherwise prohibited by law or is prohibited by the owner of private property. Furthermore, the possession of a concealed handgun permit does not authorize the use of the concealed handgun for hunting.
Special restrictions may apply to specific firearms use in some counties. See Local Firearms Ordinances for details.
- No restrictions on shot size except for spring gobbler season when it is unlawful to have any shot in possession larger than number 2 fine shot while hunting.
- Shotguns must not be larger than 10 gauge.
- Unplugged shotguns are legal for hunting nonmigratory game and crows.
- Shotgun barrels must be at least 18 inches long.
- Shotguns with rifled barrels are permitted in areas where slugs may be used.
- All game birds and animals, except deer, may be hunted with shotguns from boats. Hunters must have permission from the landowner to hunt/retrieve game located on private land.
- Rifles used for deer or bear must be .23 caliber or larger.
- Rifles (including air rifles) may be used for taking wild animals and wild birds, except migratory game birds and waterfowl, and where prohibited by local ordinances.
- Rifles (including air rifles), pistols, and revolvers may be used for hunting crows and turkeys, except where prohibited by local ordinances.
- Pistols, revolvers, and muzzleloading pistols may be used for small game, except where prohibited by local ordinances.
- Pistols and revolvers are lawful for deer and bear hunting only in those counties where hunting deer and bear with rifles is lawful. Cartridges used must be .23 caliber or larger and have a manufacturer’s rating of 350 footpounds muzzle energy or more.
- Muzzleloading pistols of .45 caliber or larger (.50 caliber or larger is recommended) are permitted for hunting big game where and in those seasons when the use of muzzleloading rifles is permitted.
- Muzzleloading shotguns, muzzleloading rifles, or archery tackle may be used to hunt during the firearms seasons where not prohibited.
- Archery tackle (including crossbows) may be used for hunting wild birds and animals.
- The laws governing the use of archery tackle also apply to crossbow tackle.
All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Laws
No ATV shall be operated:
- On any public highway, or other public property, except as authorized by proper authorities or to the extent necessary to cross a public highway by the most direct route.
- By any person under the age of 16, except that children between the ages of 12 and 16 may operate ATVs powered by engines of no less than 70 cubic centimeters nor more than 90 cubic centimeters displacement.
- By any person unless he is wearing a protective helmet of a type approved by the Superintendent of State Police for use by motorcycle operators.
- On another person’s property without the written consent of the owner of the property or as explicitly authorized by law.
- With a passenger at any time, unless vehicle is designed and equipped to be operated with more than one rider.
The above does not apply to members of the household or employees of the owner or lessee of private property on which the ATV is operated.
Penalties may include hunting or trapping privilege revocation for one year to life and forfeiture of firearms.
A person found guilty of a violation a second time within three years of a previous conviction shall have their hunting or trapping privilege revoked by the court trying the case.
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 prohibition:
- Raccoons may be hunted until 2:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings.
- Waterfowl (ducks, coot, geese, brant, and swans) and rails, gallinules, and moorhen 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.
- Any landowner or member of his family or any person with written permission from the landowner may hunt on the landowner’s property on Sunday, except within 200 yards of a place of worship or any accessory structure thereof.
- Hunting is permitted on licensed hunting (shooting) preserves.
- Hunt migratory game birds with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber, combined, unless allowed by federal regulations and authorized by the Department.
- Hold in captivity any live wild birds or wild animals outside the limits allowed by regulations without a permit.
- Discharge a firearm or archery tackle in or across or within the right-of-way of any public road.
- Cast a light attached to a vehicle or from a vehicle beyond a roadway upon places used by deer without written permission of the landowner or at anytime while in the possession of a rifle, shotgun, pistol, archery tackle, or speargun.
- Handle any firearm in a reckless manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.
- Destroy, mutilate, or take down “posted” signs or to litter.
- Take or attempt to take wild animals and wild birds with the exception of bobcats, coyotes, crows, and foxes by the use or aid of recorded animal or bird calls or sounds or recorded or electrically amplified imitation of animals or bird calls or sounds; provided, that electronic calls may be used on private lands for hunting bobcats, coyotes, and foxes with written permission of the landowner and on public lands except where specifically prohibited.
- Hunt adjacent to forest fires.
- Willfully and intentionally impede the lawful hunting or trapping of wild birds or wild animals.
- Kill or cripple and knowingly allow any nonmigratory game bird or game animal to be wasted without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the animal and retain it in possession.
- Hunt under age 12 without being accompanied and directly supervised by a licensed parent, guardian, or other adult designated by the parent or guardian. The term “accompanied and directly supervised” means the adult maintains close visual and verbal contact, provides adequate direction to, and can immediately assume control of the firearm.
- Hunt with an Apprentice Hunting License prior to completing hunter education unless accompanied and directly supervised by an adult over the age of 18 who has, on his person, a valid Virginia hunting license. For the purposes of this section, “accompanied and directly supervised” occurs when a person over 18 maintains a close visual and verbal contact with, provides adequate direction to, and can immediately assume control of the firearm from the apprentice hunter. Upon completion of hunter education and 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 adult), the apprentice hunting licensee may hunt unsupervised subject to the requirements of applicable state law and regulations.
- Shoot a rifle or pistol at wild birds or animals on or over the public inland waters of the state. However, licensed trappers may shoot a .22 caliber rimfire rifle or pistol on or over public inland waters for the purpose of dispatching trapped animals.
- Carry a loaded rifle or pistol on a boat or other floating device on public inland waters for hunting wild birds or animals.
- Shoot waterfowl or migratory game birds from a boat being propelled by a motor.
- Hunt while under the influence of intoxicants or narcotic drugs.
- Molest eggs, nest, den, or young of any wild bird or animal, except nuisance species, at any time without a permit as required by law.
- Occupy any baited blind or other baited place for the purpose of taking or attempting to take any wild game bird or wild game animal or to put out bait or salt for the purpose of taking or killing any wild game bird or wild game animal, except for the purpose of trapping furbearing animals.
- Shoot or attempt to take any wild bird or animal from any vehicle, except as otherwise provided by law.
- Exceed the bag limit or possess over the daily limit of any wild bird or animal while in the forests, fields, or waters of this state.
- Use vehicles or possess firearms (including concealed weapons) while retrieving dogs on private lands without permission of the landowner.
- Use live birds or animals to decoy or call game.
- Kill or attempt to kill any deer while in a boat or other type of watercraft.
- Hunt or attempt to kill or trap any species of wild bird or wild animal after having obtained the daily bag or season limit during such day or season. However, any properly licensed person, or a person exempt from having to obtain a license, who has obtained such daily bag or season limit while hunting may assist others who are hunting game by calling game, retrieving game, handling dogs, or conducting drives if the weapon in possession is an unloaded firearm, a bow without a nocked arrow, or an unloaded crossbow. Any properly licensed person, or person exempt from having to obtain a license, who has obtained such season limit prior to commencement of the hunt may assist others who are hunting game by calling game, retrieving game, handling dogs, or conducting drives, provided he does not have a firearm, bow, or crossbow in his possession.
- Alter, change, borrow, or lend a hunting license or permit.
- Hunt with explosive head arrows or arrows to which any drug, chemical, or toxic substance has been added.
- Possess or transport any wild bird or wild animal or the carcass or the parts thereof, unless specifically allowed and only in accordance with regulations.
- Hunt wild birds and wild animals with fully automatic firearms, (i.e., machine guns).
- Sell or purchase any wild bird or wild animal carcass or parts thereof, except as specifically permitted by law.
- Use radio tracking equipment, except on dogs or on raptors permitted by a falconry permit, to aid in the chase, harvest or capture of wildlife.
Shooting From the Road is Illegal
Shooting at wildlife from a vehicle and/or from or across a public road is illegal. Penalties include: fines, license revocation, and forfeiture of firearms.
Unlawful Feeding of Certain Wildlife
Not only is it illegal to hunt, chase with dogs, or attempt to kill game birds and animals from a baited site, it is also illegal to feed some wildlife under certain circumstances. The Department does not encourage the feeding of wildlife at any time of the year. Feeding restrictions help control the transmission of diseases, nuisance problems, littering concerns, and enforcement issues about hunting with bait.
- It is unlawful to feed deer or elk at certain times.
- It is unlawful to feed bears anytime.
Do Not Feed Deer or Elk
Department regulation makes it illegal to place or distribute food, salt, or minerals to feed or attract deer or elk:
- from September 1 through January 7 statewide.
- year-round in Buchanan, Clarke, Dickenson, Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, and Wise counties (including the cities and towns within).
- in any city, town, or county during any deer or elk hunting season.
- Nor, upon written notification by Department personnel, shall any person continue to place or distribute any food, salt, mineral or similar substances for any purpose if the placement of these materials results in the attraction of and/or feeding of deer. No part of this regulation shall be construed to restrict bonafide agronomic plantings (including wildlife food plots) or distribution of food to livestock.
Furthermore, all feed must be removed from any feeding site prior to September 1, and any area where feed has been distributed will be considered a “baited” area for 10 days following the complete removal of the food. The prohibitions listed above do not include the planting of agronomic crops or wildlife food plots.
Why Prohibit Deer Feeding?
The Deer Management staff of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries oppose the supplemental feeding of deer (and elk) and hunting deer over bait for numerous reasons.
Feeding deer can artificially increase deer numbers above the habitat’s natural carrying capacity, which can lead to increased habitat damage, crop damage, and private property damage, including increased numbers of deer-vehicle collisions in and around deer feeding sites.
In addition to increased habitat damage, feeding deer frequently alters people’s perceptions about what constitutes healthy, balanced wildlife habitats. These altered perceptions can undermine efforts to preserve, protect, or enhance natural habitats for all wildlife, including deer. For those who feed deer, “habitat” comes in 50-pound bags.
Supplemental feeding significantly alters the natural home ranges and distribution of deer on the landscape. Feeding deer may also change their behavior, making them less wild. Deer that are fed often lose their normal fear of humans and become semi-tame. Semi-tame deer can become aggressive, especially during the breeding season, posing a danger to both the people who feed them as well as unknowing bystanders. Wild, free-ranging deer are an asset to the Commonwealth, but fed, semi-tame deer are a liability. Finally, people often assume ownership of the deer they feed, seeing them as pets, and resist hunting or other necessary deer population control measures.
Deer provided with supplemental feed are much more vulnerable to disease. Concentrating deer at feeding and baiting sites dramatically increases the odds that an infected animal will spread disease to other deer via nose-to-nose contact or eating feed contaminated by another animal’s saliva, urine, feces, etc. State wildlife agencies across North America, including Virginia, are currently spending millions of dollars and large amounts of time each year to monitor important wildlife diseases that have been linked to the feeding of deer and elk. These diseases include brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis, and chronic wasting disease (CWD). In Virginia, bovine tuberculosis has been diagnosed twice in captive deer herds over the past two decades, and seven cases of CWD have been found in wild deer in Frederick County since fall 2009.
A majority of Virginia’s deer hunters and many non-hunters oppose deer hunting over bait. Many deer hunters and the general public think deer hunting over bait is unfair and unethical. This increases polarization among natural allies and erodes the image of deer hunting. A tolerance toward feeding or baiting deer can also discourage deer hunters from learning how to scout for deer, identify deer sign, or learn deer behavior.
Unlawful to Feed Bear
It shall be unlawful for anyone, including (but not limited to) private citizens, homeowners associations, corporations, or government entities to place, distribute, or allow the placement of food, minerals, carrion, trash, or similar substances to feed or attract bear. Nor, upon notification by Department personnel, shall anyone continue to place, distribute or allow the placement of any food, mineral, carrion, trash or similar substances for any purpose if the placement of these materials results in the presence of any bears. After such notification, such person shall be in violation of the law if the placing, distribution, or presence of such food, minerals, carrion, trash or similar substances continues.
Earn A Buck (EAB) Questions and Answers
- What is EAB?
- EAB is a regulation designed to increase the antlerless deer kill level in a county.
- Where is EAB in effect?
- All lands (public and private) in Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties.
- All lands (public and private) in Prince William County (except on Department of Defense lands).
- All private lands in the counties of Bedford, Clarke, Frederick, Rappahannock, Roanoke, and Warren.
- When is EAB in effect?
- During any open deer season (archery, muzzleloading, and firearms). Antlered bucks may not be killed during the special antlerless only deer season(s) but does killed during early antlerless only seasons do count toward EAB.
- Has EAB been successful?
- Yes, EAB has resulted in females composing =50% of the total deer kill in every EAB county almost every year since it was initiated in fall 2008.
- Were there any changes made to EAB for fall 2015?
- Yes, private lands in Rappahannock are now included in EAB.
- Can I shoot an antlered buck first under EAB?
- Yes, deer hunters in EAB counties may kill one antlered buck without having first killed an antlerless deer (doe or button buck).
- How does EAB work?
- EAB requirements are restricted to individual counties.
- On private lands in in Bedford, Clarke, Frederick, Rappahannock, Roanoke, and Warren counties:
- Prior to killing a second antlered buck on private land, deer hunters must kill at least one antlerless deer on private land before they can legally take a second antlered deer on private land.
- On private lands in in Bedford and Rappahannock counties (where it is legal to kill three bucks per year):
- Prior to killing a third antlered buck on private land, deer hunters must kill at least two antlerless deer on private land before they can legally take a third antlered buck on private land.
- In Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William (except on Department of Defense lands) counties:
- Prior to killing a second antlered buck, deer hunters must kill at least two antlerless deer before they can legally take a second antlered deer.
- Prior to killing a third antlered deer, deer hunters must kill at least three antlerless deer before they can legally take a third antlered buck.
- On private lands in in Bedford, Clarke, Frederick, Rappahannock, Roanoke, and Warren counties:
- EAB requirements are restricted to individual counties.
- What does “restricted to individual counties” mean?
- EAB only applies to deer killed within that EAB County in the same license year. Bucks and does do not “carry over” from county to county under EAB. Deer killed in an EAB county will not affect the type of deer you can kill in non-EAB counties or in other EAB counties.
- For example, a deer hunter east of the Blue Ridge could kill one or two antlered bucks in non EAB counties and then go hunting in an eastern EAB county and kill his third antlered buck without having taken an antlerless deer. Similarly, killing one or two antlerless deer in a non EAB county would not “count” toward the antlerless deer requirement in an EAB county.
- Do deer hunters have to kill an antlerless deer first in an EAB county?
- No, in every EAB county the first deer killed in the county may be an antlered buck or an antlerless deer (a doe or button buck).
- Does EAB impact the daily or season deer bag limit?
- No. The normal deer daily and season bag limits still apply.
- Why is the number of antlerless deer required for EAB higher in Northern Virginia?
- To further increase the antlerless deer kill level within these four urban counties. A similar 2:1 EAB requirement for Fairfax County public land archery hunts has been very successful.
- Will I have enough antlerless tags on my license to kill a 3rd buck in Northern Virginia?
- Yes. There are three antlerless only deer tags on a big game license. Two antlerless deer must be killed before a second buck can be killed, but only one additional antlerless deer must be taken to kill a third buck.
- Why require EAB?
- The Department’s Deer Management Plan calls for deer populations to be reduced in all these counties, and traditional liberal deer regulations have not completely achieved that objective.
- Can antlerless deer “carry over” from year to year?
- What should I do if I have additional EAB questions?
- Email Matt Knox at email@example.com.
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.
Arlington County (including the cities and towns within). 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.
Bedford County on private lands (including the cities and towns within). 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 (including the cities and towns within). 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 (including the cities and towns within). 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.
Frederick County on private lands (including the cities and towns within). 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 (including the cities and towns within). 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.
Prince William County except on Department of Defense (DOD) lands (including the cities and towns within). 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 (including the cities and towns within). 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 (including the cities and towns within). 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 (including the cities and towns within). 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.