Public Hunting Lands

View Public Lands in Google Earth (Military Areas and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Excluded)

Department Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries maintains 40 management areas totaling more than 200,000 acres for the benefit of all citizens for a variety of wildlife-related outdoor recreational opportunities. Thirty-eight management areas are open for some type of hunting. These lands are purchased and maintained with hunting, fishing, and trapping license fees and with Federal Assistance in Wildlife Restoration funds, derived from the sale of hunting-related equipment. We encourage the public to visit these areas to enjoy wildlife, habitats, and the bountiful natural resources found there.

National Forests

Day use fees are required on certain recreation areas. Please visit the George Washington/Jefferson National Forest website or contact the appropriate office below, for more information on fees and seasonal pass information.

Office Telephone
Supervisor's Office (540) 265-5100
Clinch (276) 328-2931
North River (540) 432-0187
Glenwood-Pedlar (540) 291-2188
James River (540) 962-2214
Lee (540) 984-4101
Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area (276) 783-5196
Eastern Divide (540) 552-4641
Warm Springs (540) 839-2521

Regulations Specific to National Forest and Game Department Lands

It shall be unlawful to have in possession a bow, crossbow, or any firearm which is not unloaded and cased or dismantled on all National Forest lands statewide, or on Department-owned lands and on lands managed by the Department under cooperative agreement in counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains except during the period when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey or waterfowl on these lands; and on Department-owned lands and on lands managed by the Department under cooperative agreement in counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains except during the period when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey, waterfowl or migratory game birds on these lands. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders).

It shall be unlawful to possess or transport a loaded firearm or loaded crossbow in or on any vehicle at any time on National Forest lands or Department-owned lands. (See exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders).

"Loaded firearm" is defined as a firearm in which ammunition is chambered or loaded in the magazine or clip, when such magazine or clip is found engaged or partially engaged in a firearm.

The definition of a loaded muzzleloading firearm will include a firearm which is capped, or has a charged pan, or has a primer, or battery installed in the firearm.

The definition of a "loaded crossbow" is a crossbow that is cocked and has either a bolt or arrow engaged or partially engaged on the shooting rail or track of the crossbow, or with a "trackless crossbow" when the crossbow is cocked and a bolt or arrow is nocked.

The word "possession" shall include, but not be limited to, having any bow, crossbow, or firearm in or on one's person, vehicle, or conveyance.

It is unlawful to chase with a dog or train dogs on National Forest lands or Department- owned lands except during authorized hunting, chase, or training seasons that specifically permit these activities on these lands.

Access Roads

Hunter access roads on Department lands seasonally open to motor vehicles will be open (weather permitting) from the last Saturday in September to the 2nd Saturday in February and the 1st Saturday in April to the 3rd Saturday in May.

Opening and closing dates of hunter access roads on National Forest lands may vary by ranger district. Opening and closing dates are determined by management considerations for the areas accessed by these roads. Contact the local ranger district listed at left for opening and closing dates on specific roads.

Any motor driven vehicle using roads normally open to motor vehicles on Department and National Forest lands shall conform with all state laws for highway travel. No cross country travel is permitted. All terrain vehicle (ATV) and off-road vehicle (ORV) travel is permitted only on designated National Forest roads and trails.

Camping Policy

Primitive camping (no water, electric hookups, bathrooms or other facilities) is permitted on Department-owned lands, except as otherwise posted. Camping is prohibited on or within 100 yards of any Department-owned or controlled boat ramp or fishing lake. Camping on Department owned lands is not to exceed 14 consecutive days. Nor more than 2 camping units are permitted per site.

Camping on the George Washington/ Jefferson National Forests for more than 21 consecutive days without terminating occupancy for a minimum of 10 consecutive days within a 31-day time period is prohibited. For more information, please visit the National Forest website or call the appropriate office. No trash service is provided. "Pack it in, Pack it out."


It is unlawful to construct, maintain, or occupy any permanent structure, except by permit, on Department-owned lands and National Forest lands.

It is unlawful to maintain any temporary dwelling on Department-owned land for more than 14 consecutive days. Persons constructing or occupying such structures are responsible for complete removal of temporary structures.

Tree Stands

It is unlawful to construct, maintain, or occupy any permanent tree stand on Department- owned lands, National Forest lands, and on Department of Conservation and Recreation-owned or controlled lands. Portable tree stands, which are not permanently affixed, may be used. Use of a full body safety harness while hunting from tree stands is strongly recommended.

Public Access Lands For Sportsmen (PALS)

PALS is a program that opens additional lands for public use. Through this cooperative private/public program the Department has opened more than 30,000 acres of private land in Dickenson County and 260 acres in James City County to public hunting, fishing and trapping. The property in Dickenson is owned by Heartwood Forestland Fund IV and managed by The Forestland Group, LLC. The Department manages access to both properties for hunting, fishing, and trapping. PALS permits are only sold through license agents or on the DGIF web site, and the fee is $18.00. Hunters, anglers, and trappers must buy the permit from a license agent or online. Inquiries about these areas should be directed to the Marion Regional Office at (276) 783-4860 (Dickenson County property) or Charles City Region I office at (804) 829-6580 (James City County property) for recreational opportunities in their respective regions.

The Department hopes to provide additional PALS lands in the future across other parts of the Commonwealth.

State Forests

Hunting is allowed on Appomattox-Buckingham State Forest, Big Woods, Dragon Run, Prince Edward-Gallion State Forest, Cumberland State Forest, and Sandy Point State Forest (804-492-4121), and Channels State Forest (276-676-5488). A State Forest Use Permit is required and may be purchased from license agents or online. No motorized vehicles permitted on gated roads and trails (opened or closed).

Information on regulations governing the use of state forests is available the Virginia Department of Forestry's website.

State Parks

Virginia State Parks offer a wide variety of hunting opportunities as well as countless other outdoor activities for the entire family. Hunting opportunities range from open hunting in designated areas to managed deer hunts where individuals participate through a reservation or lottery system. Specific sites that offer hunting may change from year to year. Managed deer hunts are a tool in Virginia State Parks' overall deer management program. Participating hunters are asked to support our management efforts by following harvest guidelines associated with each hunt. See this detailed hunting opportunities chart for specific information (PDF).

For more information about hunting in a Virginia State Park or to make reservations, call 1-800-933-PARK, or on the Department of Conservation and Recreation's website. Overnight accommodations are available at many sites during part of the hunting season; contact the Reservation Center or visit the website for additional information and to reserve cabins or campsites.

Military Areas

Fort A.P. Hill

  • Archery Season: October 5 through November 1.
  • Muzzleloading Season: November 2 through November 15.
  • General Firearms: November 16 through January 4. Two deer per day, only one of which may be an antlered buck. Closed at 12:00 P.M. Thanksgiving, closed 12 P.M. Christmas Eve, all day Christmas.

All persons 12 years of age and older must present a hunter education certificate in order to purchase an A.P. Hill hunting permit.

Contact Fort A.P. Hill Game Check Station at (804) 633-8244 for details about hunter education requirements, permits, and any other questions. Some Fort A.P. Hill regulation requirements differ from state and county regulations.

Fort Pickett

  • Deer:
    • Archery Season: October 5 through November 15
    • Muzzleloading Season: November 2 through November 15
    • General Firearms: November 16 through January 4. Two per day, six per year. Either sex deer hunting on Wednesday & Fridays and November 23, November 30, and December 23 through January 4.
  • Quail:
    • Hunting permitted on Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturdays only.
  • Rabbit:
    • November 2 through February 28

All persons 12 years of age and older must present a hunter education certificate in order to purchase a Fort Pickett hunting permit.

Contact the Ft. Pickett Game Check Station at (434) 292-2618 for further details about seasons and special restrictions.

Quantico Marine Reservation

  • Deer:
    • General Firearms: November 16 through January 4. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Open half day on Thanksgiving Day.
    • Archery Season: October 56 through November 15.
    • No Muzzleloading Season.

For hunting information, contact the Game Checking Stations at (703) 784-5523 or online.

The Game Checking Station is open seasonally, September-January and April-May.

Fort Belvoir

  • Archery Only: Qualification required.
  • Deer: September 7 through March 29.
  • Spring Turkey: April 12 through May 17

Contact Outdoor Recreation staff at (703) 805-3688 for further details.

National Parks

Hunting is prohibited in all National Parks in Virginia. For current information related to any permitted hunting activities view Park specific websites or contact via Park public information telephone lines. (example: Blue Ridge Parkway or 1-828-298-0398).

Federal Refuges

Hunting is allowed on the following National Wildlife Refuges in Virginia. For more information, contact the appropriate refuge manager at:

Refuge Telephone
Back Bay* (757) 301-7329
Chincoteague (757) 336-6122
Great Dismal Swamp* (757) 986-3705
Eastern Shore (757) 331-2760
Rappahannock River Valley* (804) 333-1470
James River* (804) 829-9020 or
Plum Tree Island* (804) 829-9020
Presquile* (804) 829-9020 or
Mason Neck/Occoquan (703) 490-4979

* Quota hunts are offered through VDGIF Quota Hunt program.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

John H. Kerr Reservoir

The John H. Kerr Reservoir is a federally managed multipurpose facility located on the Virginia-North Carolina border. It consists of a 50,000 acre reservoir and 55,000 acres of land surrounding the lake which offers 40,000 acres open to hunting. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains 26 wildlife management areas located around Kerr Reservoir. For more information contact:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
1930 Mays Chapel Road
Boydton, VA 23917
(434) 738-6143

John W. Flannagan Reservoir

The John W. Flannagan Reservoir in western Dickenson County provides 6,400-acres of land open to public hunting. The area offers deer, black bear, wild turkey, and small game hunting opportunities. For further information contact: (276) 835-9544 or see the Reservoir's website.