Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 29.1. Wildlife, Inland Fisheries and Boating
Chapter 3. Licenses
12/5/2022

Article 2. Licenses for Waterfowl Blinds and for Hunting Waterfowl.

§ 29.1-340. Hunting waterfowl from unlicensed blinds and without season license.

It shall be unlawful to hunt migratory waterfowl on the public waters and shores east of Interstate Route 95 in the Commonwealth from unlicensed stationary or floating blinds. For the purposes of this article, "public waters" means public waters that are navigable in fact. Any person hunting waterfowl or applying to license a stationary blind in public waters shall also have a season license to hunt and a state and federal duck stamp.

Code 1950, § 29-81; 1958, c. 38; 1964, c. 478; 1987, c. 488; 2020, c. 415.

§ 29.1-341. Stationary blinds defined.

For the purposes of this article, a stationary blind means a structure erected at a fixed location either on the shores of the public waters or in the public waters for the purpose of hunting and shooting waterfowl.

A stationary blind shall be (i) of such size and strength that it can be occupied by and conceal one or more hunters, or (ii) large enough to accommodate and conceal a boat or skiff from which one or more hunters intend to hunt or shoot waterfowl.

Code 1950, § 29-82; 1987, c. 488; 2004, c. 422.

§ 29.1-341.1. Number of stationary blinds permitted; when erected.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 29.1-340, clubs holding stationary waterfowl blind licenses in Virginia Beach may continue to renew stationary blinds in the public waters. In areas other than Virginia Beach, individuals who do not own riparian rights shall be permitted to license no more than two stationary blinds in the public waters in any one season. Stationary blinds shall be erected not later than November 1 of each year.

2004, c. 422; 2020, c. 415.

§ 29.1-342. Floating blinds.

Floating blinds shall mean floating blinds permitted by law in the public waters. They may be used in any position in public waters at different locations from day to day if the blind is anchored the required distance from any other blind, unless agreed otherwise between the parties. Licenses for floating blinds shall be limited to two floating blinds in any one season, to any one applicant.

Code 1950, § 29-83; 1970, c. 579; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-342.1. Waterfowl blinds in locality where bird hunting with firearms prohibited.

The Department shall not license any stationary waterfowl blind in any area of Hunting Creek, Little Hunting Creek, or Dogue Creek in which the local governing body prohibits by ordinance the hunting of birds with a firearm.

2020, cc. 307, 308.

§ 29.1-343. Fees for waterfowl blind licenses.

The fees for waterfowl blind licenses shall be as follows or as such fees may be subsequently revised by the Board pursuant to § 29.1-103:

1. For a stationary blind erected in the public waters or on the shores of the riparian owner to shoot over the public waters, seventeen dollars and fifty cents.

2. For a floating blind, in the public waters, to shoot over the public waters, thirty-five dollars.

Code 1950, § 29-84; 1974, c. 363; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 250; 2009, c. 9.

§ 29.1-344. Stationary blinds on shore and in the public waters for owners of riparian rights.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 29.1-340, each year, the owners of riparian rights, their lessees or permittees shall have the exclusive privilege of licensing and erecting stationary blinds on their shoreline, and the prior right of licensing and erecting stationary blinds in the public waters in front of their shoreline, to shoot waterfowl over the public waters. Such blinds shall not be located in water having a depth greater than eight feet at mean high tide, nor shall they be located farther than halfway across the body of water from the riparian owner's shoreline, except on the shores and waters of Back Bay in the City of Virginia Beach where such blinds are limited to (i) the riparian owner's shoreline at the mean low water mark or (ii) blinds erected and licensed by the riparian owner in 2011. When licensing a stationary blind, the location of each blind licensed shall be provided as latitude and longitude coordinates. When such a license has been obtained and a stake or a stationary blind has been erected on the site with the license for that season properly affixed, no other stationary or floating blind shall be located in the public waters within 500 yards of the licensed site without the consent of the riparian owner, lessee or permittee.

Code 1950, § 29-85; 1987, c. 488; 1989, c. 217; 2004, c. 422; 2010, c. 9; 2012, c. 227; 2013, c. 745; 2020, c. 415.

§ 29.1-344.1. Stationary duck blind license; riparian landowners exempted.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 29.1-340, the owners of riparian rights or their invitees shall not be required to obtain a stationary blind license when hunting waterfowl from such a blind located on the riparian owner's property. However, a stationary blind license shall be required in order to afford the riparian owners the protections provided by §§ 29.1-344, 29.1-345, and 29.1-349.

1992, c. 237; 1993, c. 209.

§ 29.1-344.2. Time period for obtaining riparian stationary blind licenses.

A. Riparian owners or their lessees or permittees licensing a stationary blind that was not licensed the previous year by the riparian owner, lessee, or permittee may obtain a stationary blind license beginning February 1 through June 15 of each year pursuant to § 29.1-344. A stake or a stationary blind shall be erected on the site, and a license plate supplied with the license for that season shall be affixed thereto, by June 30. If a stake has been erected on the site of a stationary blind, such stake shall be replaced by a blind by November 1 pursuant to the provisions of § 29.1-341. Such stationary blinds shall conform to the standards prescribed in § 29.1-341.

B. Riparian owners or their lessees or permittees licensing a stationary blind that was licensed the previous year by the riparian owner, lessee, or permittee may obtain a stationary blind license beginning February 1 through August 15 of each year pursuant to § 29.1-344. A stake or a stationary blind shall be erected on the site, and a license plate supplied with the license for that season shall be affixed thereto, by August 31. If a stake has been erected on the site of a stationary blind, such stake shall be replaced by a blind by November 1 pursuant to the provisions of § 29.1-341. Such stationary blinds shall conform to the standards prescribed in § 29.1-341.

2013, c. 745.

§ 29.1-345. Stationary blinds in the public waters for nonriparian owners.

Unless a license has been obtained pursuant to § 29.1-344, and a stake or a blind has been erected and marked within the time stated as specified in § 29.1-344, in any year, the owners of riparian rights, their lessees or permittees shall forfeit the privilege of licensing blinds on their shores and also lose priority for licensing stationary blinds in the public waters adjoining such shores. Any locations remaining in the public waters shall belong to whoever first obtains a license and erects a stake or a blind. The blind shall not be located in a marked navigation channel on the site selected. In addition, the blind must be at least 500 yards from any other stationary blind, and the license for that season must be properly affixed to the structure. When licensing a stationary blind, the location of each blind licensed shall be provided as latitude and longitude coordinates.

Code 1950, § 29-86; 1987, c. 488; 2010, c. 9; 2013, c. 745; 2014, c. 377.

§ 29.1-345.1. Time period for obtaining nonriparian stationary blind licenses.

A. A nonriparian license for a stationary blind in the public waters that was licensed the previous year as a nonriparian stationary blind may be obtained by the previous year's licensee beginning July 1 through August 15 pursuant to § 29.1-345. A stake or blind shall be erected on the site, and a license plate supplied with the license for that season shall be affixed thereto, by August 31.

B. A stationary blind or a site in the public waters that is not licensed and posted by August 31 can be licensed as a nonriparian blind beginning September 1 through October 15 pursuant to § 29.1-345. A stake or blind shall be erected on the site, and a license plate supplied with the license for that season must be affixed thereto. If a stake has been erected on the site of a stationary blind, such stake must be replaced by a blind by November 1 pursuant to the provisions of § 29.1-341. Such stationary blinds shall conform to the standards prescribed in § 29.1-341.

2013, c. 745.

§ 29.1-345.2. Damaged stationary blinds in Virginia Beach; civil penalty.

Any licensee who has a stationary blind located in the City of Virginia Beach that has been abandoned or does not meet the requirements for a blind set forth in § 29.1-341 shall place a PVC pipe marker with reflecting tape or gear six feet above mean low water at the site of the blind and shall immediately notify the Department that the blind has been marked in accordance with this section. The failure to place such a reflective marker within seven days of discovery of the blind's condition or within seven days of notification by the Department of the requirement to place a reflective marker shall subject the owner of the blind to a civil penalty not to exceed $100. All civil penalties assessed under this section shall be deposited in the Motorboat and Water Safety Fund of the Game Protection Fund and used as provided for in § 29.1-701.

2016, c. 378.

§ 29.1-346. When license for floating blinds issued; distance from stationary blinds.

Licenses for floating blinds permitted by law, in the public waters, may be obtained on and after July 1. Floating blinds shall have a license plate supplied with the license for that season affixed to the blind. Floating blinds, including any accompanying boat or tender, shall anchor or tie out at least 500 yards from any licensed stationary blind for shooting, whether on the shore or in the water, unless agreed otherwise between the parties.

Code 1950, § 29-87; 1970, c. 579; 1987, cc. 94, 488.

§ 29.1-347. Renewing licenses.

The holders of licenses first issued under this article may renew the same privileges each succeeding year by licensing within the time required and placing the license tag on the stake or blind as required by this article. The exclusive privileges prescribed with respect to owners and their lessees and permittees in § 29.1-344 shall be recurrent each year even if the privileges were forfeited to some other person or persons in the preceding year. If any blind is destroyed in any manner beyond the control of the owner, it may be replaced within thirty days without losing the position which it formerly occupied. Those licensing stationary blinds in the public waters shall remove the blinds when the licenses expire or when they no longer intend to use them, whichever occurs first.

Code 1950, § 29-88; 1987, c. 488; 2013, c. 745.

§ 29.1-348. Obtaining licenses.

All applications for blind licenses under this article shall be made to the local license agent or clerk of the circuit court of the county or city in which or nearest which the blind site is located or through an electronic or computerized means determined by the Director. The clerk or local license agent shall be paid similar fees as for issuing hunting licenses. With each license the Department, clerk, or local license agent shall deliver a license plate bearing the number of the license, which shall be affixed to the blind where it may be easily observed. The Department shall furnish the licenses and license plates provided for in this article. The money arising from the sale of blind licenses shall be paid into the game protection fund.

Code 1950, § 29-89; 1987, c. 488; 2007, c. 38.

§ 29.1-349. Hunting, erecting blind within 500 yards of licensed blind.

A. No person shall hunt or shoot migratory waterfowl in the public waters of this Commonwealth from a boat, float, raft or other buoyant craft or device within 500 yards of any legally licensed erected stationary blind of another without the consent of the licensee, or within 150 yards of a residence without the consent of the landowner, except when in active pursuit of a visibly crippled waterfowl that was legally shot by the person.

B. No person shall erect a stationary blind in the public waters within 500 yards of any other licensed blind without the consent of the licensee. Any person who violates this subsection shall be guilty of a trespass, and the affected blind licensee may maintain an action for damages. Furthermore, the trial court shall immediately revoke the blind owner's license for the stationary blind where the offense was committed. The blind owner may be eligible for a license in the following open season upon the same conditions that would apply to a new applicant. When a license for a stationary blind has been revoked, the blind shall be destroyed by the former licensee.

Code 1950, § 29-90; 1954, c. 305; 1956, c. 318; 1987, c. 488; 2004, c. 422; 2007, c. 87; 2013, c. 745; 2020, c. 415.

§ 29.1-350. Exemption from application of article.

The provisions of this article shall not apply to the shores and public waters and marshes of Accomack and Northampton Counties. However, in those localities no person shall hunt migratory waterfowl, whether from a blind or otherwise, without having obtained a season license to hunt.

Code 1950, § 29-91; 1970, c. 644; 1987, c. 488; 1993, c. 209.

§ 29.1-351. Regulations to be issued; present regulations continued in force.

The Board shall have the power to amend or alter the provisions of this article by regulation prescribing a distance less than 500 yards between blinds whenever and wherever such action seems practicable and desirable. The Board may adopt other regulations concerning the use of such blinds as may appear advisable to meet changing conditions as to hunting migratory game birds. The regulations of the Board now applying to such hunting are hereby continued in force until amended or repealed by the Board; however, the Board shall not have the power to alter in any respect the privileges prescribed for owners and their lessees and permittees in §§ 29.1-344 and 29.1-347.

Code 1950, § 29-92; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-351.1. Penalty for violations.

Unless otherwise specified, any person who violates any of the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-90; 1954, c. 305; 1956, c. 318; 1987, c. 488.