Hunting Hours and Regulations in Virginia

General Hunting Hours

Nonmigratory Birds and Game Animals

  • Standard Hours: From one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Spring Turkey Season

  • Initial Period: One-half hour before sunrise until 12 noon.
  • Extended Period (Last 20 Days): One-half hour before sunrise until sunset.

Youth/Apprentice Spring Turkey Hunting Weekend

  • Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Specific Hunting Hours for Certain Activities

Bear Hound Training Season

  • Hours: From 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.

Hunting Certain Species

  • Bobcats, Foxes, Raccoons, and Opossums: These can be hunted day or night during their authorized seasons.

Nuisance Species

  • Regulation: Nuisance species may be taken at any time, day or night.

Note on Sunset/Sunrise Table

  • Hunters are advised to refer to the official Sunset/Sunrise Table for precise timing in their specific hunting area.

Sunday Hunting Regulations in Virginia

Overview of Sunday Hunting

Virginia allows hunting on Sundays with specific restrictions to ensure safety and respect for religious institutions. The introduction of Sunday hunting on public lands for all game species, as passed by the General Assembly in 2022, marks a significant expansion of hunting opportunities.

Restrictions on Sunday Hunting

Proximity to Places of Worship

  • Restriction: Hunting within 200 yards of a house of worship or any accessory structure thereof is prohibited on Sundays.

Hunting Deer or Bear with Dogs

  • Restriction: It is not permissible to hunt or kill any deer or bear with a gun, firearm, or other weapon with the aid or assistance of dogs on Sundays.

Sunday Hunting on Public Land

Recent Legislation

  • In 2022, the General Assembly passed a law allowing Sunday hunting on public land for all game species.

Implementation by Public Landowners

  • Many public landowners are embracing this opportunity, opening their lands for Sunday hunting.
  • For specific details on how this is implemented on various public lands, hunters should directly contact the public landowner.

Information Resources

Blaze Color Requirements in Firearms Deer Seasons

Mandatory Blaze Color Apparel

In firearms deer seasons and on youth/apprentice deer hunting weekends, specific blaze color requirements are essential for every hunter and accompanying persons:

  • Visibility Requirement: Solid blaze-colored hats or upper body clothing (in blaze orange or blaze pink) must be visible from 360 degrees. Alternatively, displaying at least 100 square inches of solid blaze-colored material at shoulder level, also visible from all angles, is acceptable.
  • Hat Specifications: While hats can feature a differently colored bill or brim, they must not be camouflage style, as this pattern contradicts the purpose of visibility. Logos, which do not impair visibility, are permissible on blaze-colored hats.
  • Ground Blind Regulation: Hunters in enclosed ground blinds (like pop-up, chair, or box blinds) need to display a minimum of 100 square inches of solid blaze-colored material. This should be visible from all directions and positioned on or above the blind. This is in addition to the blaze color worn by the hunter.

During Muzzleloader Seasons

  • Muzzleloader Specifics: During muzzleloader deer seasons, hunters and their companions are also required to wear solid blaze colors. This is not mandatory when located in a stationary position like a tree stand.

Exceptions to the Rule

  1. Waterfowl, Dove Hunters, and Field Trials: Hunters engaged in waterfowl and dove hunting, as well as participants in hunting dog field trials, are exempt from wearing blaze-colored clothing.
  2. Archery Hunters in Firearms Season: Archers hunting during open firearms deer seasons in areas where firearm discharge is illegal do not have to adhere to blaze color requirements.
  3. Non-muzzleloader Hunters in Muzzleloader Seasons: Hunters who aren't using muzzleloaders during the muzzleloader deer seasons are not obligated to wear blaze colored clothing.

Harvest Reporting Procedures for Virginia's Wildlife

Introduction to Harvest Reporting

Virginia's hunters are required to report their harvests of certain species, including deer, elk, bear, turkey, bobcat, and gray fox. This is a mandatory process vital for effective wildlife management. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has implemented various methods to facilitate this, ensuring that all hunters, including those exempt from licensing, comply with the regulations.

Methods of Reporting

1. Telephone Harvest Reporting System

  • Number: (866) GOT-GAME or (866) 468-4263; requires a touch-tone phone.
  • Availability: During all open seasons.
  • Applicable Species: Deer, elk, bear (except gray fox and bobcat in the fall).

2. Internet Harvest Reporting System

  • Website: www.gooutdoorsvirginia.com; select Internet Harvest Reporting.
  • Availability: During all open seasons.
  • Applicable Species: All mentioned species.

3. GoOutdoorsVA Mobile App (eNotch)

  • Availability: During all open seasons.
  • Applicable Species: Deer, elk, bear, turkey in spring and fall (not applicable for gray fox and bobcat).

Tag Validation at Harvest Location

  • Electronic License Tag Validation (eNotch): Use the Department’s Go Outdoors Virginia mobile app for deer/turkey license tags, bonus deer permit tags, and bear tag.
  • Paper License Tag Validation: For all paper license tags, completely remove the designated notch area from the license or permit tag.
  • Legal Requirement: It's illegal to validate a tag before killing an animal. Mistakenly notched tags must be voided immediately.

General Reporting Information

  • Reporting Timeframe: All species must be reported upon vehicle transport or by the end of legal hunting hours, whichever comes first.
  • Identity Preservation: It's illegal to destroy the sex identity of any animal until it is reported.

Internet or Telephone Harvest Reporting

  • Confirmation Number: A unique 8-digit number provided at the end of the reporting session.
  • Procedure for Paper License Users: Write the confirmation number on the license or create a personal check card.

Carcass Handling

  • Transferring or Leaving Carcass Unattended: Requires a personal check card, which should accompany the carcass until processed.

Specific Reporting Requirements

Bear Tooth Submission

  • Account Requirement: Mandatory GoOutdoorsVirginia account for bear hunters.
  • Premolar Tooth Submission: Required within 14 days after the bear season ends.

Bobcat and Gray Fox Reporting

  • Timeframe: Must be reported within 24 hours of kill.
  • Documentation: Confirmation number or full details for taxidermists.

Elk Biological Samples

  • Inspection Requirement: Contact the Department to schedule carcass and site inspection.

License-Exempt Hunters

  • Reporting Requirement: All mentioned species must be reported.
  • Options: Use Go Outdoors customer account or telephone/internet systems.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.