Small Game Hunting Seasons

Legal Methods and Restrictions

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

  • Modern firearms.
  • Archery tackle.
  • Muzzleloading firearms.
  • Dogs may be used



August 20 through March 18 on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

September 3 through March 18 On National Forest Lands and Department lands on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only.

  • Crows are a federally regulated migratory species; however, no HIP number is required and hunters may use unplugged shotguns to hunt them.
  • Electronic calls may be used on private and public lands. Written permission of the landowner is not required to hunt crows with electronic calls, except when hunting on posted property or on Sundays. Electronic calls may not be attached to or played from a vehicle.



  • Continuous open season on private lands.
  • Groundhog hunting on National Forest lands and Department lands is permitted from September 1-March 10 and during the spring turkey season.
  • Groundhog hunting is permitted during the spring squirrel season only on Department lands that are open for spring squirrel hunting.
  • Groundhog hunting is not permitted on National Forest lands during the spring squirrel season.

Hunting Preserves

Pen-raised game birds may be taken on licensed hunting preserves from September 1 through April 30, including Sundays. A list of hunting preserves open to the public may be obtained at the Department’s Richmond office or on the Shooting Preserves page on this website. A resident hunting on a licensed hunting preserve is required to have a hunting license. A nonresident is required to have either a nonresident hunting license or a special nonresident hunting (shooting) preserve license which is valid only within the boundaries of licensed hunting preserves.

Also see the Virginia Wildlife magazine article “Upland Game Bird Trail” (PDF).


Bag Limit:

Three per day.


  • October 29 through February 11: west of I-95
  • Continuous closed season: east of I-95

Quail and Pheasant

Bag Limits:

  • Quail: six per day
  • Pheasant: no daily or seasonal bag limit


  • November 12 through January 31


Bag Limit:

  • Six per day


  • November 5 through February 28

Squirrel (Gray, Red, and Fox)

Bag Limit:

  • All squirrels combined – six per day.

Fall Seasons:

  • Gray and Red Squirrels: September 3 through February 28 – statewide
  • Fox Squirrels: September 3 through January 31 in the following designated areas only – Counties west of the Blue Ridge and in the counties of Albemarle, Bedford, Culpeper, Fauquier, Franklin, Greene, Loudoun, Madison, Orange, Patrick, Prince William, and Rappahannock.

Spring Season:

  • June 3 through 17, 2017: Closed on National Forest lands.

Gray and red squirrels may be harvested statewide, unless otherwise posted, and on the following wildlife management areas: Amelia, Big Survey, Big Woods, Briery Creek, Cavalier, Chickahominy, Dick Cross, Doe Creek, Fairystone (including Fairystone State Park and Philpott Reservoir), Featherfin, Gathright, Goshen, Hardware River, Havens, Highland, Hog Island (Carlisle Tract only), Horsepen, James River, Lake Robertson, Little North Mountain, Mattaponi, Merrimac Farm, Pettigrew, Phelps, Powhatan (including the Goochland Tract), Rapidan, Short Hills, Stewarts Creek, G. Richard Thompson, Turkeycock Mountain, and White Oak Mountain.

Fox squirrels may be harvested on all lands, unless otherwise posted, in all counties with an open fox squirrel season during the fall squirrel season and on the following wildlife management areas: Big Survey, Gathright, Goshen, Havens, Highland, Lake Robertson, Little North Mountain, Merrimac Farm, Phelps, Rapidan, Short Hills, Stewarts Creek, and G. Richard Thompson.