Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 15. Department of Wildlife Resources
Chapter 40. Game: In General

4VAC15-40-60. Hunting with dogs or possession of weapons in certain locations during closed season.

A. Department-owned and national forest lands statewide. It shall be unlawful to have in possession a firearm or any hunting weapon that is not unloaded and cased or dismantled on all national forest lands statewide and on department-owned lands and on other lands managed by the department under cooperative agreement except during the period when it is lawful to take bear, deer, grouse, pheasant, quail, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, turkey, waterfowl, or migratory gamebirds on these lands.

B. Certain counties. Except as otherwise provided in 4VAC15-40-70, it shall be unlawful to have either a shotgun or a rifle in one's possession when accompanied by a dog in the daytime in the fields, forests or waters of the Counties of Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren, and in the counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, except Patrick, at any time except the periods prescribed by law to hunt game birds and animals.

C. Shooting ranges and authorized activities. The provisions of this section shall not prohibit the conduct of any activities authorized by the board or the establishment and operation of archery and shooting ranges on the lands described in subsections A and B of this section. The use of firearms or any hunting weapon in such ranges during the closed season period will be restricted to the area within the established range boundaries. Such weapons shall be required to be unloaded and cased or dismantled in all areas other than the range boundaries. The use of firearms or any hunting weapon during the closed hunting period in such ranges shall be restricted to target shooting only, and no birds or animals shall be molested.

D. It shall be unlawful to chase with a dog or train dogs on national forest lands or department-owned lands except during authorized hunting, chase, or training seasons that specifically permit these activities on these lands or during raccoon hound field trials on these lands between September 1 and March 31, both dates inclusive, that are sanctioned by bona fide national kennel clubs and authorized by permits issued by the department or the U.S. Forest Service.

E. It shall be unlawful to possess or transport any loaded firearm or loaded hunting weapon in or on any vehicle at any time on national forest lands or department-owned lands.

F. The provisions of this section shall not prohibit the possession, transport, and use of loaded firearms by employees of the Department of Wildlife Resources while engaged in the performance of their authorized and official duties, nor shall it prohibit possession and transport of loaded concealed handguns where the individual possesses a concealed handgun permit as defined in § 18.2-308 of the Code of Virginia.

G. Meaning of "possession" of any hunting weapon and definition of "loaded crossbow," "loaded arrowgun," "loaded muzzleloader," and "loaded firearm." For the purpose of this section, the word "possession" shall include having any firearm or weapon used for hunting in or on one's person, vehicle, or conveyance. For the purpose of this section, a "loaded firearm" means a firearm in which ammunition is chambered or loaded in the magazine or clip when such magazine or clip is engaged or partially engaged in a firearm. The definition of a "loaded muzzleloader" will include a muzzleloading rifle, pistol, or shotgun that is capped, has a charged pan, or has a primer or battery installed in the muzzleloader. A "loaded crossbow" means a crossbow that is cocked and has either a bolt or arrow engaged or partially engaged on the shooting rail or track of the crossbow, or with a "trackless crossbow" when the crossbow is cocked and a bolt or arrow is nocked. "Loaded arrowgun" means an arrowgun that has an arrow or bolt inserted on the arrow rest or in the barrel. "Hunting weapon" means any weapon allowable for hunting as defined in § 29.1-519 of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR325-02-1 § 6, eff. July 1, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 9, Issue 22, eff. August 26, 1993; amended, Virginia Register Volume 10, Issue 23, eff. September 8, 1994; Volume 11, Issue 9, eff. February 22, 1995; Volume 13, Issue 18, eff. July 1, 1997; Volume 13, Issue 26, eff. September 15, 1997; Volume 25, Issue 25, eff. August 1, 2009; Volume 35, Issue 23, eff. August 1, 2019; Volume 37, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2021.

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