Furbearer Hunting Regulations
Hunting Seasons and Legal Methods
Furbearer hunting seasons come with a set of legal methods and restrictions, particularly regarding the use of firearms. It's crucial to refer to detailed guidelines on the legal use of firearms and archery tackle. Local ordinances also play a role in defining acceptable practices.
Equipment and Techniques
- Modern Firearms: Specific rules govern their use.
- Arrowguns: Permitted under certain conditions.
- Archery Tackle: Includes bows and crossbows, subject to particular restrictions.
- Muzzleloading Firearms: Usage is allowed following specific guidelines.
- Hunting Dogs: Allowed in some areas, with exceptions (refer to 'Hunting with Dogs' for comprehensive rules).
- Electronic Calls: These are permissible on private lands for specific species like bobcat and raccoon, with written landowner permission, and on public lands except where prohibited.
- Night Hunting: Allowed under certain circumstances, including the use of lights, provided they are not cast from a vehicle.
- Night Vision and Laser Sights: These technologies are legal for use.
Specific Species Regulations
Bag Limits and Season
- Bag Limit: Defined as two per hunting party between specified times.
- Archery Season: Runs from October 7 to October 31 statewide, with special regulations.
Legal Methods and Restrictions for Archery Season
- Dogs and Firearms: Restrictions on using dogs and firearms during the archery season.
- Disabilities Accommodation: Special provisions for hunters with disabilities using arrowguns.
- Season Dates: From November 1 to February 29, applicable statewide.
- Restrictions on Dogs: Specific counties have rules against using dogs for hunting bobcats during the deer firearms season.
Electronic Reporting for Bobcats
Mandatory reporting within 24 hours via the Department’s electronic harvest reporting system is required. The process involves using a touch-tone telephone or online methods, with necessary details like hunting license number or personal identification for exempt individuals. A unique 8-digit confirmation number is provided at the end of the reporting process.
Season and Locations
- Open Season: Hunting coyotes is allowed continuously, except on National Forest lands and Department lands.
- National Forests and Department Lands: Allowed from September 1 through March 10 and during the spring turkey season. Additional allowances during the spring squirrel season, with specific areas listed under Small Game Hunting.
Coyote Bounty Law
- Administration: The Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) does not administer coyote bounties.
- Local Authority: Counties may establish their own coyote bounty systems. For details, hunters and trappers should contact their County Administrator or County Board of Supervisors.
- Season Status: Hunting or trapping fishers is under a continuous closed season. Sightings should be reported to aid in wildlife management.
- Firearms Season: November 1 through February 29, with closures in several counties including Albemarle, Clarke, Culpeper, and others.
- Bag Limit: One per hunting party between noon of one day and noon the next.
- Firearms Season: January 1 through February 29, subject to county-specific closures.
- Restrictions on Using Dogs: Prohibited during the firearms deer season in specified Wildlife Management Areas and within the boundaries of the George Washington/Jefferson National Forests.
- Regulation: Foxes may only be taken during the firearms season. Specific statewide open seasons are outlined, with closures during certain periods.
- Requirements: Standard hunting licenses apply, but a specific Fox Hunting License is available for hunting on horseback with hounds without firearms. This license also waives the hunter education program requirement.
Opossum and Raccoon Hunting
- Dates: October 15 through March 10, applicable statewide.
- Bag Limits: Vary based on geographical location (East or West of the Blue Ridge).
- Legal Methods and Restrictions: Includes the use of lights with conditions and chase-only seasons.
- Requirements: Similar to those for hunting with firearms. Specific periods allow hunting on Department-controlled lands and National Forest lands where bear hound training is permitted.
Season and Restrictions
- Striped Skunk: Open season except on National Forest lands and Department lands. Specific periods allow hunting during turkey and squirrel seasons.
- Spotted Skunk: Continuous closed season for hunting and pelt sales.
Legal Use of Technology in Night Hunting
Night hunting for certain species like bobcats and coyotes permits the use of laser sights, night vision scopes, and infrared scopes, enhancing the effectiveness and safety of the hunt.
Use of Electronic Calls
Electronic calls, a modern hunting aid, are permissible for hunting specific species such as bobcats and raccoons. However, these require written permission on private lands and are subject to regulations on public lands.
Reporting Nutria Sightings
The Department encourages reporting sightings of nutria, an invasive species, to better manage and potentially eradicate their presence in Virginia. Detailed characteristics of nutria and reporting guidelines are available online for public assistance.