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Deer Hunting in Virginia

Antler Nation, Deer Hunting in Virginia, Virginia Deer Hunting




Est. Whitetail Population


No. Licenses Sold Annually


Resident hunting license is $23. A deer license is $23. Archery, crossbow and muzzleloading licenses are $18.

Resident hunting license and deer permit


Nonresident hunting license is $111. A deer permit is $86. Archery, crossbow and muzzleloading licenses are $31.

Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

189 2/8"

Taken by Jerry James in Buchanan County in 1999.

Record B&C Typical Stat


Total B&C Typical Entries

257 4/8"

Taken by James W. Smith in Warren County in 1992.

Record B&C Non-Typical Stat


Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Image: ImageBy_Tom_Reichner_VA

Check out the latest info for Virginia. Image by Tom Reichner

Season Dates (2023):

The early archery season generally spans early October to mid-November statewide. Late archery is in early December through January, location depending. For most hunters, muzzleloader season is in early November and late December through early January. And in most cases, rifle season opens middle of November, has various closing dates, and has additional details based on the county. Youth and apprentice weekend is generally in late September. Deer season dates and regulations vary greatly by location. Please check the VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF GAME & INLAND FISHERIES WEBSITE to confirm.

The Grade: B

The Old Dominion is an outstanding deer hunting destination and gets a solid B grade. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Deer Project Coordinator Matt Knox said the population has been stable for the past decade. A strong outbreak of EHD in 2014 hurt the herd, but deer have long since bounced back. The buck age structure has gotten older, too, which Knox said is mostly because of hunters being more selective about their buck harvest. Plus, deer hunters enjoy a 60% success rate here, which is among the highest in the nation. The combination of large deer densities, abundant public lands, and good season structures make it a top deer state.

“Statewide, the deer population has been fairly stable overall for several decades,” Knox said. “Our new deer population estimate of 1.27 million is higher that our normal/traditional 1 million estimate, but is primarily a result of a change we have made in how we calculate the buck age structure and resultant buck mortality rate, not an actual change or increase in the deer population (a recalibration).”

There are some fairly new changes. According to Knox, liquid deer scents that contain deer urine are outlawed in Virginia. This is a guard against the spread of chronic wasting disease. Although Virginia is a CWD-positive state, the disease is confined to a small pocket along the West Virginia border. Knox said there will be numerous changes to CWD disease management area boundaries and mandatory testing days. Check the WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT’S WEBSITE for more details.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

Top areas for trophy bucks continue to be the south-central counties, but good deer come from all across the state. Some of the top producers include Amherst, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Botetourt, Buchanan, Fairfax, Fauquier, Floyd, Franklin, Frederick, Loudoun, Montgomery, Page, Patrick, Pulaski, Rappahannock, Rockingham, Wythe, and more.

If you’re looking for a good public land deer hunt, there are eight property types available, including WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREAS (WMAS), PUBLIC ACCESS (PALS), NATIONAL FORESTS, STATE FORESTS, STATE PARKS, FEDERAL REFUGES, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS and MILITARY AREAS.

And, if you end up with more meat than your freezer can handle, consider supporting the VIRGINIA HUNTERS FOR THE HUNGRY PROGRAM.

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