Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources

4VAC15. Department of Wildlife Resources




The Board of Wildlife Resources is the policy-making entity responsible for conserving, protecting, replenishing, propagating and increasing the supply of game birds, game animals, fish and other wildlife of the Commonwealth. The board is authorized to adopt resolutions or regulations conferring upon the Director of the Department of Wildlife Resources all such powers, authorities and duties as the board possesses and deems necessary or proper. The Department of Wildlife Resources provides public, informational and educational services and serves as the agency responsible for the administration and enforcement of all rules and regulations of the board and of Title 29.1: Wildlife, Inland Fisheries and Boating. Code of Virginia, Title 29.1, Chapter 1, Article 2.

The department is authorized to make regulations governing the taking, possession, and sale of wild animals and birds and freshwater fish, and of endangered species of any form of wildlife. It may prescribe seasons and limits and otherwise vary some of the statutory provisions respecting conservation of wildlife resources. Code of Virginia, Title 29.1, Chapter 1, Article 2. It may designate, by regulation, those species that are determined to be nuisance species. Code of Virginia, Title 29.1, Chapter 1, Article 1. It may also license and make regulations governing drilling and dredging in the Back Bay area. Title 29.1, Chapter 1, Article 2.

Regular conservation police officers of the department have authority to enforce all of the criminal laws of the Commonwealth; special conservation police officers have general police power while performing duties on properties owned or controlled by the board. Code of Virginia, Title 29.1, Chapter 2.

The department is directed to provide for a course of instruction in hunter safety, principles of conservation and sportsmanship, and is directed to promulgate regulations to administer the program. Code of Virginia, Title 29.1, Chapter 3, Article 1. It is required to establish a procedure for selling bonus deer permits which entitle the permit holder to take additional deer under certain conditions. Code of Virginia, Title 29.1, Chapter 3, Article 1, and Chapter 5.

Through the clerks of the circuit courts and local agents, the department is authorized to license sport fishing, hunting, and trapping. It may license or permit shooting preserves, fur farming, fur dealing, hunting dog trials, commercial trout rearing, fishing, seine hauling, the breeding and raising of game birds and animals, the holding of certain animals and birds and of endangered species, the stuffing and mounting of birds and animals, game bird and animal exhibits, and a variety of special or unique activities relating to or affecting wildlife. Code of Virginia, Title 29.1, Chapter 3, Article 1, and Chapter 4.

The department is authorized to make safety regulations for operation and equipment of vessels and seaplanes on the waters of the Commonwealth, to title and to register motorboats, and to permit regattas and races; and it is the state agency to which boating accidents are required to be reported. It is also authorized to make or approve local ordinances regulating the operation of vessels. Code of Virginia, Title 29.1, Chapter 7. The department is authorized to license watercraft dealers and may promulgate regulations to enforce the Virginia Watercraft Dealer Licensing Act. Code of Virginia, Title 29.1, Chapter 8.

The department operates under the supervision of the Secretary of Natural Resources. Regulations are available online at and at the department's office at 7870 Villa Park Dr, Suite 400, Henrico, Virginia 23228. The full texts or informative summaries of proposed regulations are also published in newspapers: statewide regulations in a sufficient number of newspapers having a general circulation throughout the Commonwealth and local regulations in or within reasonable proximity to the affected locality. The department publishes hunting, fishing, trapping, and boating regulations in summary form for free distribution to the purchasers of appropriate licenses. Internet address:

Rev. 7/2022

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.