Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 15. Department of Wildlife Resources
Chapter 20. Definitions and Miscellaneous: In General

4VAC15-20-240. Use of drones for certain activities prohibited.

A. Except as authorized by the director or the director's designee, it shall by unlawful at any time for any person to use a drone or unmanned aircraft:

1. To hunt, take, or kill a wild animal or to drive or herd any wild animal for the purpose of hunting, trapping, or killing.

2. To harass any wild animal. For the purposes of this section, "harass" means any action that creates the likelihood of injury to wildlife by annoying it to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal behavior patterns, which include breeding, feeding, or sheltering.

3. On department-owned lands, except that department employees and contractors or agents acting on behalf of the department may use drones or other unmanned aircraft when addressing human safety, law enforcement, management, or other needs approved by the department.
4. It shall be unlawful for any person to hunt or assist another to hunt on the same calendar day on a property after having used a drone or unmanned aircraft to locate or surveil any wild animal during any open season.

B. No part of this section shall be construed to restrict the use of drones or other unmanned aircraft for wildlife management activities conducted or authorized by the department; by employees of the United States government or any of its agencies whose responsibility includes fisheries and wildlife management; or by county, city, or town animal control officers in the performance of their official duties.

Statutory Authority

§§ 29.1-103, 29.1-501, and 29.1-502 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 35, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 2019; amended, Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 22, eff. July 1, 2021.

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