Virginia Deer Hunting Season

The start of deer season in the state of Virginia depends on two things: 1) the type of weapon used, and 2) location. Youth Deer Hunting day is September 29 statewide for deer hunters aged 5 and under if accompanied by an adult and when in compliance with all applicable laws and licensing requirements. Early Archery Season runs October 6 through November 16. Late Archery Season runs December 1 through January 5 depending area. Early Anterless-Only Archery Season begins September 1 through October 6 in a few counties. Urban Archery Seasons are September 1 through October 5 and January 7 through March 30 only is specified counties and properties.

Some areas of the state permit the use of muzzleloading rifles. Early Muzzleloading Season is in early November with specific days set aside for either-sex hunting. Late Muzzleloading Season for specific counties both east and west of the Blue Ridge is mid December through early January.

Firearms Deer Seasons vary depending on county and section of the state. The following link give a map breakdown with counties listed for each season listed here: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/deer.asp .

PERMISSIBLE WEAPONS
Hunters using archery tackle or muzzleloading firearms to hunt deer during firearms hunting season must adhere to the following:

  • use of muzzleloading firearms is permitted only if no restrictions apply
  • muzzleloading deer hunters must wear blaze orange during firearms deer season
  • blaze orange must be worn by archery deer hunters during firearms season except where use of firearms is prohibited
  • hunters must comply with either-sex deer hunting days during firearms deer season

Special restrictions apply within each county for firearms usage. See this link for details regarding local ordinances: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/local-ordinances.pdf
Permissible weapons can be summed up in these regulations:

  • shotguns must not be larger than 10 gauge
  • unplugged shotguns are legal for hunting nonmigratory game
  • shotgun barrels must be at least 18 inches long
  • shotguns with rifled barrels are permitted where slugs can be used
  • deer may not be hunted with shotguns from boats
  • rifles used for deer must be .23 caliber or larger
  • rifles and air rifles are permitted except where prohibited by local ordinances
  • pistols and revolvers are permitted for deer only in counties where hunting for deer is lawful; cartridges must be .23 caliber or larger with a manufacturer’s rating of 350 footpounds muzzle energy or more
  • muzzleloading rifles, muzzleloading shotguns, or archery tackle may be used during firearms season where not prohibited
  • crossbows are legal to use

Go to the website of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/general.asp#legal-use for additional information regarding hunting weaponry.

VIRGINIA STATE REGULATIONS
In addition to season and weapons information, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offers detailed information about all state regulations. A downloadable pdf of regulations is available, along with what’s new for 2012 – 2013, licenses and fees, ordinances, hunting on public and private lands, and other information is available on their site: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/regulations/

SPECIES OF DEER AVAILABLE TO HUNT
The white-tailed deer is the most popular deer species hunted in Virginia. VDGIF provides an informative fact sheet on the species. http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/hunting/va_game_wildlife/deer_fact_sheet.pdf

WHERE TO FIND DEER
The VDGIF provides a link to a site that provides a point-and-click map to assist in finding deer populations. In addition, numerous clubs, associations, and guide services exist to offer assistance. An internet search provides many choices.