What’s New for 2019–2020

Bear

  • Bears can now be checked through the electronic checking systems. Tooth submission is still required; instructions will be provided after a bear license is purchased, when a bear is checked, and online.
  • Albemarle, Amherst, Bedford, Frederick and Nelson counties have been added to the three day early open season.
  • Firearms bear hunting season has been lengthened in all areas that had fewer than 6 weeks of open season.

Deer

  • The deer bag limit on private lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains is now two deer per day. Only one deer per day may be taken on National Forest lands, Department-owned lands, and Department-managed lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and on National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties.
  • Earn A Buck (EAB) has been initiated on private lands in Albemarle, Culpeper, Floyd, Franklin, Grayson, Hanover, Henrico, James City, Pulaski, Shenandoah, and York counties, and the number of antlerless deer necessary to meet EAB requirements on private lands in Clarke, Frederick, and Warren counties has increased.
  • Full season either-sex deer hunting has been established during both the early and late muzzleloading seasons on private lands in Botetourt, Rockingham (east of Routes 613 and 731) and Wythe counties.
  • Apprentice license holders are now included in the Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation.
  • The Youth and Apprentice Antlerless Deer Regulation is now effective statewide, including Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties.
  • The firearms deer season on private lands in western Amherst, Bedford, and western Nelson counties has been extended from two to four weeks in length.
  • Firearms either-sex deer hunting days have been increased in Augusta (private lands), Campbell (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Charles City, New Kent, Page (private lands), Pittsylvania (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Powhatan, and Smyth (private lands) counties.
  • A firearms either-sex deer hunting day (the last day) has been initiated on National Forest and Department-owned lands in Alleghany, Amherst, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Botetourt, Frederick, Grayson, Highland, Nelson, Page, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Shenandoah, Smyth, Tazewell, Warren, and Washington counties.

Chronic Wasting Disease

  • Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been discovered in Culpeper County. A second Disease Management Area, designated DMA2 and including Culpeper, Madison, and Orange counties, was created to implement management actions.
  • All deer killed in Culpeper, Madison, Orange, and Shenandoah counties on November 16, 2019, must be brought to a designated check station to be tested for CWD. Mandatory CWD testing for deer harvested in Clarke, Frederick, or Warren counties will not occur in fall 2019.
  • Transport of whole deer carcasses out of Culpeper, Madison and Orange counties is now prohibited.
  • It is now illegal to import or possess whole deer carcasses and certain high-risk carcass parts originating from outside Virginia.
  • Feeding of deer is now prohibited year round in Albemarle, Buchanan, Clarke, Culpeper, Dickenson, Fauquier, Frederick, Greene, Loudoun, Louisa, Madison, Orange, Page, Rappahannock, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren, and Wise counties (towns and cities within included).
  • The Antler Point Restriction was removed in Rockingham and Shenandoah counties.

Turkey

  • The early fall season will begin one week earlier than previous years.
  • Fall hunting on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was added statewide, except in 10 counties with the 2-week season and in areas where no fall hunting is permitted.
  • To meet Wild Turkey Management Plan Goals to increase populations, the fall season was reduced from eight weeks to six weeks in 27 counties.
  • The fall season was reduced from eight weeks to four weeks in four counties with declining turkey populations (Amelia, Dinwiddie, Greensville, and Powhatan).
  • Tazewell and Buchanan counties have new fall seasons.
  • The Youth and Apprentice Hunter Weekend now starts on the second Saturday of October (October 12 and 13).

Dog Training

  • Cavalier, Mattaponi, and White Oak WMAs have been added to the list of department-owned lands where bird dogs may be trained on wild quail from September 1st to the day prior to opening day of the quail hunting season.

Drones

  • It is unlawful to use drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) to hunt, take, or kill a wild animal and to attempt to locate, surveil, aid, or assist in hunting a wild animal.

Public Lands

  • Robert W. Duncan WMA (1,300 acres) and Mattaponi Bluffs WMA (470 acres) in Caroline County have been added to the Department’s Wildlife Management Area system.

Trapper Identification Number

  • Trappers may now use their Customer Identification Number (CID) to mark their traps instead of their name and address.

Quota Hunts

  • Radford Army Ammunition Plant Deer Hunts, Series #211, are unavailable for the 2019 season.
  • Multispecies (#308) and Spring Turkey (#413) have been added on Mattaponi Bluffs WMA.
  • Apprentice Hunter Deer (#221) and Spring Turkey (#414) have been added for Hockley Experimental Forest in King & Queen County.
  • Oakley Forest WMA is no longer managed through the quota hunt system. Hunting is open to the public, see website for details.
  • Featherfin WMA multispecies hunt #302 is through the quota hunt system. Hunting is open to the public.