Virginia – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/31/2012 in Archery, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations, Whitetail Deer
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This is an ongoing series looking at each state from the point of view of a nonresident hunter trying to find information about deer hunting, the basic explanation is HERE.

Virginia

Is the information easy to find?

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Hunting and Trapping regulations page is at the top of the search results.

Grade: A

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

From the main page, links to Licenses and Fees, Public Hunting Lands, and Dear Seasons can be quickly found.   All three links lead to exactly what a user would expect, good information on those topics with detailed information and related links.

Grade: A

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

Annual hunting licenses, deer tags and bonus deer tags are all available over the counter in Virginia: there are quota hunts for areas that are limited access, but those are in addition to the standard tags.

Grade: A

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

Resident hunting licenses are priced at $23.00 in Virginia, with deer tags listed at $23.00, Archery, Crossbow and Muzzleloader permits listed at $18.00 each, and a bonus tag valid for six antlerless deer priced at $18.00.  Nonresident hunting licenses are priced at $111.00, with deer permits priced at $86.00, Archery, Crossbow and Muzzleloader permits priced at $31.00 each, and the same bonus deer tag for six antlerless deer is priced at $31.00.  Virginia also requires permits for National Forest access, $4.00, State Forest access, $16.00, and visitors can either purchase a day-by-day Wildlife Management Area permit at $4.00 per day, or an annual permit at $23.00 per year.

Bag limits are based on location with an east/west division in the state:

Bag Limits

East of the Blue Ridge (except on National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties)
The bag limit for deer shall be two a day, six a license year. Of the six deer limit, no more than three may be antlered deer and at least three must be antlerless deer (unless noted in the exception below).

  • The daily bag limit for deer shall be unlimited in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties. However, no more than three antlered deer may be killed in a license year.
West of the Blue Ridge and on National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties
The bag limit for deer shall be one a day and five a license year. Of the five deer limit, no more than two may be antlered deer and at least three must be antlerless deer (unless noted in the exceptions below).

  • The bag limit for deer shall be two a day on private lands in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties and in the City of Winchester.
  • Only one antlered buck taken in the counties of Rockingham or Shenandoah per license year may have less than four antler points one inch or longer on one side of the antlers.

So, depending on which area is hunted, the bag limit is five or six, unless the hunter(s) purchase the bonus antlerless tags.

Grade: A

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

The Virginia DGIF Deer page covers all of the seasons for deer, and even though the seasons are formatted in a nice, bullet point style, this page would have been much better with a table showing the seasons right at the top.  There are also quite a few ‘small’ seasons within the state’s regulations.

Grade: B

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

There are over 200,000 acres of public hunting in the state of Virginia, with 36 of 39 Wildlife Management Areas open for hunting.  By using the Wildlife Management Area Locator map, users can quickly find which WMAs are near their planned hunt.  The DGIF also provides a one-page summary of the Wildlife Management Area regulations, which is an excellent reference to print out and tape inside a map or notebook for the hunt.

Grade: A

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

Chronic Wasting Disease is present in Virginia, details can be found at the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries CWD page, with other issues such as West Nile Virus and Rabies covered on the Diseases page.

Grade: B

Summary: Final Grade A

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has done a wonderful job of presenting the information needed by residents and nonresidents with their web site.  The format, flow, and general ease of use is excellent, with the only minor negative being an easy to read and print chart showing hunting seasons by species and/or hunting method.  The bag limit is generous for the cost of the licenses, and there are options available for anlterless tags, daily hunting passes for Wildlife Management Areas, State, and Federal forests.

States CompletedAlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelaware,

FloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndiana, IowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMaryland

MassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew Hampshire

New JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvania,

Rhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeUtah, Vermont

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