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» VA Deer Seasons 2011 / 2012
VA Deer Seasons 2011 / 2012

For general firearms season please refer to the VA Dept of Game & Fish Website

VA Bag Limits for Deer


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.

Earn a Buck (EAB)
Earn a buck areas include all private lands in the counties (including private lands in the cities and towns within) of Bedford, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Franklin, Frederick, Loudoun, Patrick, Prince William, Roanoke, Shenandoah, and Warren. In EAB areas at least one antlerless deer must be taken on private lands in an EAB area before the second antlered deer of the license year may be taken on private lands in an EAB area. Furthermore, at least two antlerless deer must have been taken on private lands in an EAB area before the third antlered deer of the license year may be taken on private lands in an EAB area. For more information go to the Earn a Buck (EAB) Questions & Answers section.

Bag Limit Exceptions
Deer hunters, including those exempt from purchasing a license, on private land and authorized public lands may take more than the license-year bag limit of antlerless deer by using bonus deer permits or special permits (DCAP, DMAP, and DPOP). See Bonus Deer Permits section.
DCAP, DMAP, and DPOP tags do not count against the daily or season bag limit.

Bonus Deer Permits
  • Are valid for one year from date of purchase.
  • Are valid for antlerless deer only.
  • No restriction on number that may be purchased and used.
  • Allow deer to be taken in addition to the license year bag limit.
  • Do not allow daily bag limit to be exceeded.
  • Are valid only on private lands and authorized public lands.
  • Are not valid on National Forest and Department-owned lands.
  • Are not valid in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties.
  • Are valid during the archery, muzzleloader, and firearms deer seasons.
  • Are valid only on designated either-sex deer hunting days.

Deer Tags
Either-sex deer tags (commonly called "buck" tags) may be used on antlered or antlerless deer.
Antlerless only deer tags (commonly called "doe" tags) may only be used on antlerless deer.

Antlered and Antlerless Deer
Antlered Deer - Antlered deer must have antlers visible above the hairline. Virginia does not have a minimum antler length requirement. An antlered deer must be tagged with an either-sex deer tag.

Special Antler Restrictions
Rockingham and Shenandoah Counties: 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.

Fairystone and Featherfin WMAs: On the Quality Deer Management Area of the Fairystone WMA and Featherfin WMA a legal antlered deer is a deer with at least 4 antler points, 1 inch or longer, on one side.

Antlerless Deer
  • Antlerless deer may only be taken during designated either-sex deer hunting days during the archery season(s), muzzleloading season(s), and firearms season. Youth deer hunters see Special Youth Deer Hunting Day and Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation provisions (see next page).
  • Antlerless deer (does, button bucks, and shed-antlered bucks) may be tagged with an either-sex deer tag or an antlerless-only deer tag.
  • Button bucks, male fawns approximately six months old, are considered antlerless deer. The hair covered bumps on a button buck�s head are not antlers. They are the pedicels from which the antlers will grow the next year.
  • Antlered deer that have shed their antlers, usually in late December or early January, are also considered antlerless deer.

Special Youth Antlerless Deer Regulation
Deer hunters 15 years of age and under, resident or non-resident, may take one antlerless deer per license year on days other than designated either-sex deer hunting days during the muzzleloading seasons or the firearms seasons in all counties that have at least one either-sex deer hunting day during the firearms deer season. This regulation applies to all private and public lands (National Forest, State Forests, WMAs, etc.) statewide (except on public and private lands in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties). This regulation is in addition to either-sex deer hunting days. For example, if a youth deer hunter, 15 years of age or younger, killed one or more antlerless deer on designated either-sex deer hunting days, he or she could still take one antlerless deer on a day not designated an eithersex day.

Archery Deer Seasons
Early Archery Season
October 1 through November 18: Statewide

Late Archery Seasons
December 5 through January 7:

In all areas west of the Blue Ridge (except Clarke and Floyd counties and on private lands in Frederick County).
In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Amherst (west of Route 29), Bedford, Campbell (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), and Nelson (west of Route 151).
On the Chester Phelps WMA and on National Forest lands in Frederick County.
December 1 through January 7:

In the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line), and Virginia Beach.
December 19 through January 7:

In the counties (including the cities and towns within) of Floyd, Franklin, Henry, and Patrick.
Archery Either-Sex Deer Hunting
Deer of either-sex may be taken full season during the early and late archery deer seasons, unless otherwise noted below.
Only antlered deer may be taken during the early and late archery deer seasons on PALS (Public Access Lands) in Dickenson County.
Archery or crossbow deer hunters hunting during the early antlerless-only archery season or the early urban archery deer season are required to wear blaze orange on the youth deer hunting day (Saturday, September 24) if firearms youth deer hunting is allowed in the city, town, or county. For exceptions to the blaze orange requirement.

Early Antlerless-Only Archery Season
During this season only antlerless deer may be taken.

September 3 through September 30
In Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties (except on Department- owned lands).

Urban Archery Deer Seasons
During this season only antlerless deer may be taken.

September 3 through September 30 and January 9 through March 31

Within the incorporated limits of the cities of Colonial Heights, Danville, Emporia, Franklin, Fredericksburg, Hopewell, Lexington, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Radford, Richmond, Staunton, Suffolk, and Winchester; and, in the towns of Altavista, Amherst, Blacksburg, Blackstone, Christiansburg, Farmville, Halifax, Independence, Kenbridge, Pearisburg, Pulaski, Richlands, Rocky Mount, Saltville, Stuart, Tazewell, and West Point; and, in the counties of Chesterfield, Fairfax, and York.
Lists of properties available for hunting are not maintained by the Department or local governments.

Go to the Urban Archery Season page on this website for local restrictions and other urban archery information.

Legal Methods and Restrictions During Archery Deer Seasons

Special restrictions may apply during this season. See Legal Use of Firearms and Archery Equipment and Local Firearms Ordinances for details.

Archery tackle (including crossbows) only.
  • Broadhead widths must be at least 7/8- inch wide or expand upon impact to 7/8-inch.
  • Bows must be capable of propelling a broadhead arrow at least 125 yards.
  • It is unlawful to use explosive head arrows or arrows to which any drug, chemical, or toxic substance has been added.
  • It is unlawful to use dogs, except that dogs may be used to track wounded or dead deer (see Hunting with Dogs)
  • It is unlawful to have a firearm in possession except that a muzzleloading firearm, as defined in the muzzleloader deer seasons section, may also be in possession when and where there is an overlap with a muzzleloading deer season where deer hunting with a rifle or muzzleloading firearm is permitted.

Muzzleloader Deer Seasons
In all areas where hunting with a muzzleloading rifle is permitted.

Note: deer hunters west of the Blue Ridge Mountains may take both of their season limit of two antlered deer during the early muzzleloading season.

Early Muzzleloader Season
November 5 through November 18:
There is no early muzzleloading season in the cities of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach or Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line) since it occurs during the general firearms season.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days East of the Blue Ridge: November 5 through November 18 (full season):

In all areas (including Occoneechee State Park) unless otherwise noted below.

November 12:
On State Forest lands, State Park lands (except Occoneechee State Park), Department-owned lands, and Philpott Reservoir.

Antlered deer only-no either-sex deer hunting days:
On National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days West of the Blue Ridge:

November 5 through November 18 (full season):
On private lands in Carroll, Clarke, Floyd, Frederick, Grayson, Montgomery, Roanoke, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.

November 12:
On National Forest and Departmentowned Lands in Bland, Carroll, Craig, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, and Wythe counties.
On private lands in Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Bland, Botetourt, Craig, Giles, Highland, Page, Pulaski, Rockbridge, Rockingham (except on private lands west of Routes 613 and 731), Scott, and Wythe counties.

Antlered deer only-no either-sex deer hunting days:
On National Forest and Departmentowned Lands in Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Botetourt, Dickenson, Frederick, Grayson, Highland, Lee, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Scott, Shenandoah, Smyth, Tazewell, Warren, Washington, and Wise counties.

On private lands in Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Rockingham (west of Routes 613 and 731), Russell, Smyth, Taze - well, Washington, and Wise counties.

On Channels State Forest, Grayson Highlands State Park, PALS (Public Access Lands) in Dickenson County, and Flannagan Reservoir.

Late Muzzleloader Season East of the Blue Ridge
December 17 through January 7:

In the counties (including the cites and towns within) of Amherst (west of Route 29), Bedford, Campbell (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Franklin, Henry, Nelson (west of Route 151), and Patrick, and in the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line), and Virginia Beach.

Either-sex Deer Hunting Days East of the Blue Ridge:

December 17 through January 7 (full season):
In the counties of Amherst (west of Route 29 except on National Forest lands), Bedford (except on National Forest lands), Campbell (west of Norfolk Southern Railroad), Franklin, Henry, Nelson (west of Route 151 except on National Forest lands), and Patrick and the cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk (east of the Dismal Swamp line), and Virginia Beach.

January 1:
On National Forest lands in Amherst, Bedford, and Nelson counties.

Late Muzzleloader Season West of the Blue Ridge

December 17 through January 7:

Season Exception:

Closed in Clarke County and on private lands in Frederick County.
Either-sex Deer Hunting Days West of the Blue Ridge:

December 17 through January 7 (full season):
On private lands in Carroll, Floyd, Grayson, Montgomery, Roanoke, Shenandoah, and Warren counties.
January 2 through January 7:

On private lands in Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Bland, Botetourt, Craig, Giles, Highland, Page, Pulaski, Rockbridge, Rockingham (except on private lands west of Routes 613 and 731), and Wythe counties.

On National Forest and Departmentowned lands in Carroll, Craig, Bland, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, Roanoke, and Wythe counties.

January 7:
  • On private lands in Dickenson (north of Route 83), Lee, Rockingham (west of Routes 613 and 731), Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, and Wise counties.
  • On National Forest and Departmentowned lands in Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, Botetourt, Dickenson (north of Route 83), Frederick, Grayson, Highland, Lee, Page, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Scott, Shenandoah, Smyth, Tazewell, Warren, Washington, and Wise.
  • On Channels State Forest, Grayson Highlands State Park, and Flannagan Reservoir.
  • Antlered deer only—no either-sex deer hunting days:
  • On private lands in Buchanan and Dickenson (south of Route 83).
  • On PALS (Public Access Lands) in Dickenson County.

Legal Methods and Restrictions During Muzzleloader Deer Seasons
Special restrictions apply to specific firearms use during this season. See Legal Use of Firearms and Archery Equipment and Local Firearms Ordinances for details.
  • Only muzzleloading firearms, .45 caliber or larger, loaded from the muzzle of the gun.
  • Muzzleloading firearms must be single shot, capable of firing only a single bullet or saboted bullet (.38 caliber or larger).
  • Flintlock, percussion, or electronic ignitions are permitted.
  • Unlawful to have in immediate possession any firearm other than a muzzleloading firearm while hunting with a muzzleloader (see exception for valid concealed handgun permit holders).
  • Unlawful to use muzzleloading pistols.
  • Must use at least 50 grains of black powder or black powder equivalent.
  • Smokeless powder is allowed in muzzleloading firearms designed for it. Never use smokeless powder of any type, in any quantity, in a muzzleloading firearm that is not specifically designed for it.
  • Scopes are permitted.
  • For the purposes of transportation in a vehicle, muzzleloading firearms are considered "unloaded" when all powder has been removed from the flashpan, or the percussion cap, primer, or battery has been removed from the firearm. For complete safety, a muzzleloader should be emptied by shooting into soft ground.
  • Unlawful to hunt deer with dogs, except that dogs may be used to track wounded or dead deer (see Hunting with Dogs)
  • It is lawful to carry archery tackle when and where there is an overlap with a deer archery and muzzleloading season.

For general firearms season please refer to the VA Dept of Game & Fish Website
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