DGIF Updates Related to COVID-19

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.

Who does the youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend apply to?

  • Youth deer hunters 15 years of age or younger (residents and nonresidents).
  • Apprentice license holders (residents and nonresidents).

What is an apprentice license?

The apprentice hunting license (resident or nonresident) serves as a first-time hunting license and is good for 2 years.  There is no age restriction for an apprentice license.  The license entitles the holder to a onetime deferral of the hunter education requirement.  Previous resident and nonresident hunting license holders are not eligible to purchase an apprentice license.

What are the license requirements?

  • Youth deer hunters 12-15 years of age may purchase youth licenses which are valid until the license expiration date; however, young hunters possessing a valid youth hunting license may not participate in the youth deer hunting weekend once they reach their 16th

Resident Youth under 12

  • Resident youth deer hunters under 12 in Virginia are not required to purchase a license or to have taken a hunter education course. However, they must be accompanied and directly supervised by an adult at all times while hunting, not just during the youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend.

Resident Youth 12-15

  • Resident youth deer hunters 12-15 must be licensed and have 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 (age 12 to 15) is the best deal. It includes statewide hunting privileges, archery, muzzleloading, and bear, deer, and turkey tags.
  • Another possible license combination would be a Resident Junior Hunting License and a Resident Junior Deer/Turkey License. This license combination does not include archery or muzzleloading privileges or a bear tag.
  • In addition to the licenses noted above, other applicable permits may be required (e.g., National Forest Permit, Virginia State Forest Use Permit, Public Access Lands for Sportsmen (PALS) permit, etc.).

Nonresident Youth under 12

  • Nonresident youth deer hunters of any age need to have appropriate licenses (unless they qualify as being exempt from purchasing a license).
  • Nonresident youth deer hunters under 12 in Virginia are not required to have taken a hunter education course. However, they must be accompanied and directly supervised by an adult at all times while hunting, not just during the youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend.
  • For nonresident youth hunters the Nonresident Youth Combination Hunting License (age up to 15) is the best deal. It includes statewide hunting privileges, archery, muzzleloading, and bear, deer, and turkey tags.
  • Another possible combination would be a Nonresident Junior Hunting License (under age 12) and a Nonresident Deer/Turkey License (under age 12). This license combination does not include archery or muzzleloading privileges or a bear tag.
  • In addition to the licenses noted above, other applicable permits may be required (e.g., National Forest Permit, Virginia State Forest Use Permit, Public Access Lands for Sportsmen (PALS) permit, etc.).

Nonresident Youth 12-15

  • For nonresident youth hunters the Nonresident Youth Combination Hunting License (age up to 15) is the best deal. It includes statewide hunting privileges, archery, muzzleloading, and bear, deer, and turkey tags.
  • Another possible combination would be a Nonresident Junior Hunting License (age 12 to 15) and a Nonresident Deer/Turkey License (age 12 to 15). This license combination does not include archery or muzzleloading privileges or a bear tag.
  • In addition to the licenses noted above, other applicable permits may be required (e.g., National Forest Permit, Virginia State Forest Use Permit, Public Access Lands for Sportsmen (PALS) permit, etc.).

Apprentice Hunters           

  • A resident or nonresident deer-turkey license is required in addition to the resident or nonresident apprentice license.
  • In addition to the licenses noted above, other applicable permits may be required (e.g., National Forest Permit, Virginia State Forest Use Permit, Public Access Lands for Sportsmen (PALS) permit, etc.).

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.

Does an apprentice deer hunter that has taken their hunter safety course have to be “accompanied and directly supervised by an adult” during the Youth and Apprentice Deer Hunting Weekend?

Yes.  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.

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 antlerless deer 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?

In addition to those requirements outlined on page 35 of the 2018-2019 hunting digest, 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; however, 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.  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 should tell the system 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.