By Terry Harris
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources on Friday released the 2021-2022 Hunting and Trapping Regulations. A full printed version of the regulations will be available from Virginia license agent retailers soon, according to VDWR, and will detail the changes this year. In the meantime, following is a partial list and summary of some regulations and changes that Virginia hunters and trappers will need to understand and heed this year.
DRONES: The use of drones for locating or scouting wildlife during any open season now includes a same-day prohibition for hunting on the property where the drone was used.
HARVEST REPORTING: The Department has transitioned completely to electronic reporting and will no longer distribute paper check books. All deer, bear, turkey, elk, and bobcat hunters, including those hunters exempt from purchasing a license, must report their harvests through the Department’s telephone reporting system (1-866-GOTGAME or 1-866-468-4263) or over the Internet at www.dwr.virginia.gov. Licensed hunters have a third reporting option and may use eNotch on the Department’s free Go Outdoors Virginia mobile phone application.
BEAR: To report a bear, a hunter must have a customer account through GoOutdoorsVA. Muzzleloader specifications/definitions have been changed.
DEER: Daily bag limit is now unlimited in all cities and towns that allow deer hunting (except in the Cities of Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach). The bag limit is one deer per day on National Forest, department-owned, and department-managed lands.Earn-A-Buck was implemented on private lands in Accomack, Amherst (west of Route 29), Carroll, Greene, Madison, Orange, Prince George, Rockingham (east of Routes 613 and 731), Stafford, and Wythe counties.The city of Bristol and the town of Scottsville have been added to the Urban Archery Deer Seasons.
Muzzleloading deer hunting changes include: Muzzleloading either-sex deer hunting days were increased on private lands in Augusta and Dickenson counties; The minimum muzzleloading rifle caliber was reduced from .45 to .40 caliber and muzzleloading rifles must still fire a single bullet or saboted bullet (.35 caliber or larger); The definition of a muzzleloading rifle was changed so that only the projectile must be loaded from the muzzle of the gun.
Early and late antlerless only firearms deer seasons have been established in Clarke County and on private lands in Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties. An early antlerless only firearms deer season has been established on private lands in Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange, and Rappahannock counties. Firearm either-sex deer hunting days have been increased in Charles City, Chesterfield, Fluvanna (except Hardware River WMA), Goochland, King and Queen, King William, New Kent, Page (private lands), Powhatan (except Powhatan WMA), on private lands west of Routes 613 and 731 in Rockingham, and Spotsylvania counties (except Oakley Forest WMA). Additionally, either-sex deer hunting days have been increased on the G.R. Thompson and White Oak Mountain WMA’s and reduced on the C.F Phelps, Oakley Forest, and Rapidan WMAs.
ELK: Virginia’s first elk hunting season within the Elk Management Zone will occur in 2022. Interested individuals can apply for a special elk hunting license for the Elk Management Zone beginning February 2022. Further information will be posted on the Department’s website by December 2021.
CWD: Following the discovery of CWD in Montgomery County earlier this year, a new Disease Management Area (DMA3) has been established in Floyd, Montgomery, and Pulaski counties.
A year-round deer feeding prohibition was established in Bland, Carroll, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, Roanoke, and Wythe counties and the cities of Radford, Roanoke, and Salem due to the detection of CWD in Montgomery County. Deer carcass movement restrictions among disease management areas have been relaxed in some situations.
TURKEY: Orange County fall firearms season increased from 2 to 6 weeks. Spring turkey hunting hours are now one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, statewide, the last 3 weeks of the season.
RABBITS: In an effort to prevent the arrival and spread of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 (RHDV2), rabbit carcass disposal and importation regulations have been established for all wild rabbits harvested within Virginia or in another state.
DEPARTMENT-OWNED LANDS: A camping authorization (no cost) is required to camp on department-owned lands. Authorization may be obtained at any license agent or at www.gooutdoorsva.com under “Special Licenses”. Class I and Class II electric power-assist bicycles may be used on department-owned lands. Tree stands which are not permanently affixed to the tree may be placed on department- owned lands beginning September 15th but must be removed by January 31st of the following year.
TRAPPING: The maximum loop size for snares has been changed from 12 inches diameter to 38 inches in circumference.