Virginia Deer Hunting Season 2023-2024

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Thrill and excitement build in us as we near deer hunting season in Virginia. With its diverse landscape, you are in for an exciting hunting season. As you prepare for the season, knowing and understanding the license and weapon requirements is vital. This article explains everything you need to prepare and legally participate in the 2023-24 hunting season.

Season Dates 

The dates below are the general dates for each season. You can look at the Virginia Deer Hunting Season 2023-2024 for specific information on the unit dates.

Archery SeasonDate
NOVA Late Archery Season1-Apr – 28-Apr
Urban Archery Deer Hunting2 Sept – 31 Mar
Early Archery Season7 Oct -17 Nov
Late Archery Season3 Dec – 6 Jan
Muzzleloading SeasonDate
Early Muzzleloading Season4 Nove – 17 Nov
Late Muzzleloading Season ( East of Blue Ridge)16 Dec – 6 Jan
Late Muzzloading Season16 Dec – 6 Jan
Firearm SeasonDate
General Season18 Nov – 6 Jan
Early and Late Antlerless Only Firearms Deer Season2 Sep -6 Oct7 Jan – 31st Mar
Early and Late Antlerless Only Firearms Deer Season2 Sep – 31 Jan

Licensing & Draw License Fees

You must purchase the relevant licenses to hunt for deer this season legally. Keep in mind that license prices differ. You might also have additional costs for extra permits for your area or weapon. Take a look at the list below to ensure you buy the correct license:

Deer LicensesPriceDescription
Resident Sportsman’s License (age 16 and older)$100An all-inclusive license
Resident Junior Hunting License*$8.50Ages 12 to 15
Resident Youth Combination Hunting License (age 12 to 15)$16Includes all weapons licenses and general hunting licenses.
Resident Hunting License* (age 16 and older)$23 (1 year)$44 (2 years)$65 (3 years)$86 (4 years)Purchase multiple years at a time.
Resident County or City Hunting License* (age 16 and older)$16Country and city residents only
Resident Apprentice Hunting License*$11Valid for two years.
Resident Senior Citizen Hunting License* (age 65 and over)$19Ages 65 and over
Resident Deer/Turkey License$6.50Not required for holders of Resident Service-Connected Disability Veteran Lifetime License. Valid July 1 through June 30.
Resident Junior Deer/Turkey License (age 12 to 15)$23
Resident Archery License$18
Resident Muzzleloading License$18
Nonresident Junior Hunting License* (under age 12)$13Includes general hunting licenses and weapon licenses.
Nonresident Junior Hunting License* (age 12 to 15)$16
Nonresident Youth Combination Hunting License (under age 16)$31
Nonresident Hunting License* (age 16 and older)$111
Nonresident 3-Day Hunt License* (age 16 and older)$60Must be three consecutive days.
Nonresident Apprentice Hunting License*$21Valid for two years.
Nonresident Hunting Preserve License$23

What Weapons can you Hunt Deer Within Virginia?

Whether you are hunting with a bow or firearm, either weapon needs to meet the minimum weapon requirements set by the state of Virginia. Below we have put together a list of the weapon requirements for you: 


ShotgunsMust be a minimum of 10 gauge. Loaded with single slugs. Barrel must be a minimum of 18 inches long. The minimum overall length must be 26 inches.
Centerfire rifle 0.24 Caliber and up with a magnum load or centerfire cartridge.
Handguns43 caliber and down with a barrel no longer than four and a half inches. 

Bow and Arrow:

ArrowsArrows must be 24 inches in length.
BroadheadsBroadheads can be fixed with two blades and must be ⅞ inches wide at their widest point.
Bow characteristicsLongBow minimum draw weight for hunting deer is 40 lbs and a draw length of 28’. Recurve Bows’ minimum draw weight is 40 lbs. 


Crossbow draw weightCrossbows have a minimum draw weight of 125 lbs and must be mechanically safe. Draw length must be a minimum of 14 inches.
Arrows/ boltsThe arrow/ bolt must be at least 16 inches, excluding the broad head.
BroadheadsIt must be ⅞ inches at the widest point. 

Muzzleloading Rifle:

Powderblack powder or black powder substitute only.
CaliberA single barrel of .40 caliber or greater.
Legal projectileMuzzleloaders can be smoothbore or rifled. Must be a single barrel that fires a single round ball or conical projectile.
IgnitionMatchlock, flintlock ignition system, percussion ignition system with a primer or percussion cap, or a wheel-lock.

For more information regarding the weapon regulations, you can check the e-regulations page for Virginia Deer Hunting Season.

What Types of Deer Are Popular in Virginia?

Virginia is home to several species of deer. As you explore Virginia, you will come across the following deer:

  • Sika Deer
  • Fallow Deer
  • Red Deer

With such a wide variety of deer to target, it can be easier to misidentify them. We suggest learning how to identify each species and where to find them. Let’s kick off with the Sika deer. Often mistaken for the white-tailed deer because of its similar size and coloration, the Sika deer has a reddish brown coat with red spots in summer which turns darker in winter. A distinctive feature of the Sika deer is the white rump patch bordered by a dark outline. You will often find Sike deer near the eastern shore counties. 

The Fallow dear are beautiful deer to behold. Known for their impressive antlers, they resemble the White-tailed and Sika Deer. Their coats are tan to light brown with white spots over their backs. You can also quickly identify a Fallow Deer by their movements. While running, they often have a graceful leap. You will often find Fallow Deer in enclosed areas or mountainous areas.

Red Deer, on the other hand, have distinctive features. Named after their red coats, the Red Deer also have a discolored light rump patch like the Sika Deer and are the largest deer species weighing 350 to 550 pounds. Red Deer are also known for their social behavior. They generally stay in large herds, especially during winter. You will find Red deer in enclosed areas with sufficient grazing.

What Else is Popular to Hunt in Virginia?

Hunting for deer is fun, but what if you want to pursue something else? Virginia has a wide variety of animals you can track. Here’s a list of all the animals you can legally hunt in Virginia.

Big Game:

  • White-tailed Deer
  • Sika Deer
  • Elk
  • Fallow Deer
  • Black Bear
  • Eastern Wild Turkey

Upland Birds:

  • Bobwhite Quail
  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Wild Turkey
  • Woodcock


  • Canada Goose
  • Snow Goose
  • Various duck species (e.g., Mallard, Wood Duck, Black Duck)

Small Game:

  • Cottontail Rabbit
  • Gray Squirrel
  • Fox Squirrel
  • Raccoon
  • Opossum
  • Groundhog
  • Coyote
  • Crow
  • Snipe
  • Bobcat (with specific regulations)

While this list presents what you can hunt in Virginia, you must remember that specific licenses and requirements are attached to each species. Before you get out there, check and understand the laws regarding hunting these animals first. Check the e-regulations document for more information.

Hi there! I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. You'll often find me at my local archery and shooting ranges honing my skills.

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