Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 29.1. Game, Inland Fisheries and Boating
6/17/2019

Chapter 5. Wildlife and Fish Laws.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 29.1-500. Reserved.

Reserved.

§ 29.1-501. Promulgation of regulations; publication of proposed regulations or change therein; validation; evidentiary nature of publication.

A. The Board may promulgate regulations pertaining to the hunting, taking, capture, killing, possession, sale, purchase, and transportation of any wild bird, wild animal, or inland water fish, and the feeding of any game, game animals, or fur-bearing animals as defined in § 29.1-100, or the feeding of any wildlife that results in property damage, endangers any person or wildlife, or creates a public health concern.

B. The full text or an informative summary of any proposed regulation or change in the regulations shall be published not less than fifteen nor more than thirty days before it may be acted upon. The publication shall name the time and place that the specified matters will be taken up, at which time any interested citizen shall be heard. If the proposed regulation or change in the regulations is of local application, the publication shall appear in a newspaper published in or within reasonable proximity to the affected locality. However, if the proposed regulation or change in the regulations is of statewide application, the publication shall be made in a sufficient number of newspapers having a general circulation throughout the entire Commonwealth.

C. A copy of proposed regulations or a change in the regulations, of either local application or statewide application, shall be published in the Virginia Register of Regulations pursuant to § 2.2-4031.

D. Prima facie evidence of any regulation may be given in all courts and proceedings by the production of a copy of the regulation, which shall be certified by the Director or his deputy.

Code 1950, § 29-126; 1956, c. 178; 1960, c. 539; 1962, c. 478; 1974, c. 56; 1987, c. 488; 2010, c. 184.

§ 29.1-502. Adoption of regulations.

The board may adopt regulations and amendments to regulations upon completion of all applicable hearing and notice requirements. The Board shall file the regulations with the Registrar of Regulations pursuant to § 2.2-4103.

Code 1950, § 29-127; 1974, c. 56; 1979, c. 264; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-503. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1996, c. 9.

§ 29.1-504. Annual publication of laws and regulations.

All laws relating to hunting, fishing and trapping, together with the regulations of the Board, of both general and local application, shall be published annually by the Department in a handbook or pamphlet. The courts of the Commonwealth shall take judicial notice of all laws and regulations contained in such publication.

1952, c. 608, § 29-128.1; 1979, c. 264; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-505. Penalty for violation of regulations.

It shall be a misdemeanor to violate any regulation promulgated pursuant to this title. Any person violating such a regulation shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor unless another penalty is specified.

Code 1950, § 29-129; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 19.

§ 29.1-505.1. Conspiracy; penalty.

If any person conspires with another to commit any offense defined in this title or any of the regulations of the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, and one or more such persons does any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, he shall be guilty of conspiracy to commit the underlying offense and shall be subject to the same punishment prescribed for the offense the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

1989, c. 362.

§ 29.1-506. Prescribing seasons and bag limits for taking fish and game.

After careful study of each species of wild bird, animal and fish within the jurisdiction of the Board in cities and counties of the Commonwealth, the Board shall have the power to prescribe the seasons and bag limits for hunting, fishing, trapping or otherwise taking such wild birds, animals and fish by regulation adopted as provided in this article.

Code 1950, § 29-129.1; 1950, p. 411; 1952, c. 619; 1960, c. 537; 1970, c. 239; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-507. Closing or shortening open season.

The Board may close or shorten the open season in any county or city (i) whenever extreme weather threatens the welfare of wild birds, wild animals or fish; (ii) whenever such wild birds, wild animals or fish have been seriously affected by adverse weather conditions; (iii) when investigation of the Board shows that there is an unusual scarcity of any species or; (iv) when there is substantial demand from any county or city. The Board shall immediately give notice of any closing or shortening of an open season by publishing the announcement in one or more newspapers having a general circulation in the county or city affected. The notice shall be published at least three days before the action becomes effective.

Code 1950, § 29-130; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-508. Board to prescribe seasons, bag limits and methods of taking and killing fish and game on lands and waters owned or controlled by Board.

The Board is hereby authorized to adopt rules and regulations to prescribe and enforce the seasons, bag limits and methods of taking fish and game on lands and waters owned by the Board and on lands owned by others but controlled by the Board.

1960, c. 538, § 29-130.1; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-508.1. Use of drugs on vertebrate wildlife.

A. Without written authorization from the Director or his designee, it is unlawful to administer any drug to any vertebrate wildlife, except in accordance with a permit issued under the provisions of this title or regulations adopted by the Board. This prohibition shall include, but not be limited to, drugs used for fertility control, disease prevention or treatment, immobilization, or growth stimulation. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the treatment of sick or injured wild animals by licensed veterinarians or permitted wildlife rehabilitators. This section shall not limit employees of agencies of the Commonwealth, the United States, or local animal control officers in the performance of their official duties related to public health, wildlife management, or wildlife removal. For the purposes of this section, the term "drug" means any chemical substance, other than food, that affects the structure or biological function of wildlife species.

B. The Department may take possession and dispose of any vertebrate wildlife if it believes that drugs have been administered to such wildlife in violation of this section.

C. Any person violating this section is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

2004, c. 171.

§ 29.1-509. Duty of care and liability for damages of landowners to hunters, fishermen, sightseers, etc.

A. For the purpose of this section:

"Fee" means any payment or payments of money to a landowner for use of the premises or in order to engage in any activity described in subsections B and C, but does not include license fees, insurance fees, handling fees, transaction fees, administrative fees, rentals or similar fees received by a landowner from governmental, not-for-profit, or private sources, or payments received by a landowner for rights of ingress and egress or from incidental sales of forest products to an individual for his personal use, or any action taken by another to improve the land or access to the land for the purposes set forth in subsections B and C or remedying damage caused by such uses.

"Land" or "premises" means real property or right-of-way, whether rural or urban, waters, boats, private ways, natural growth, trees, railroad property, railroad right-of-way, utility corridor, and any building or structure which might be located on such real property, waters, boats, private ways and natural growth.

"Landowner" means the legal title holder, any easement holder, lessee, occupant or any other person in control of land or premises, including railroad rights-of-way.

"Low-head dam" means a dam that is built across a river or stream for the purpose of impounding water where the impoundment, at normal flow levels, is completely within the banks, and all flow passes directly over the entire dam structure within the banks, excluding abutments, to a natural channel downstream.

B. A landowner shall owe no duty of care to keep land or premises safe for entry or use by others for hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, participation in water sports, boating, hiking, rock climbing, sightseeing, hang gliding, skydiving, horseback riding, foxhunting, racing, bicycle riding or collecting, gathering, cutting or removing firewood, for any other recreational use, for ingress and egress over such premises to permit passage to other property used for recreational purposes or for use of an easement granted to the Commonwealth or any agency thereof or any not-for-profit organization granted tax-exempt status under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code to permit public passage across such land for access to a public park, historic site, or other public recreational area. No landowner shall be required to give any warning of hazardous conditions or uses of, structures on, or activities on such land or premises to any person entering on the land or premises for such purposes, except as provided in subsection D. The provisions of this subsection apply without regard to whether the landowner has given permission to a person to use their land for recreational purposes.

C. Any landowner who gives permission, express or implied, to another person to hunt, fish, launch and retrieve boats, swim, ride, foxhunt, trap, camp, hike, bicycle, rock climb, hang glide, skydive, sightsee, engage in races, to collect, gather, cut or remove forest products upon land or premises for the personal use of such person, or for the use of an easement or license as set forth in subsection B does not thereby:

1. Impliedly or expressly represent that the premises are safe for such purposes; or

2. Constitute the person to whom such permission has been granted an invitee or licensee to whom a duty of care is owed; or

3. Assume responsibility for or incur liability for any intentional or negligent acts of such person or any other person, except as provided in subsection D.

D. Nothing contained in this section, except as provided in subsection E, shall limit the liability of a landowner which may otherwise arise or exist by reason of his gross negligence or willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity. The provisions of this section shall not limit the liability of a landowner which may otherwise arise or exist when the landowner receives a fee for use of the premises or to engage in any activity described in subsections B and C. Nothing contained in this section shall relieve any sponsor or operator of any sporting event or competition including but not limited to a race or triathlon of the duty to exercise ordinary care in such events. Nothing contained in this section shall limit the liability of an owner of a low-head dam who fails to implement safety measures described in subsection F.

E. For purposes of this section, whenever any landowner has entered into an agreement with, or grants an easement or license to, the Commonwealth or any agency thereof, any locality, any not-for-profit organization granted tax-exempt status under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or any local or regional authority created by law for public park, historic site, or recreational purposes, concerning the use of, or access over, his land by the public for any of the purposes enumerated in subsections B and C, such landowner shall be immune from liability to any member of the public arising out of such member's use of such land for any such purpose, and the government, agency locality, not-for-profit organization, or authority with which the agreement is made shall indemnify and hold the landowner harmless from all liability and be responsible for providing, or for paying the cost of, all reasonable legal services required by any person entitled to the benefit of this section as the result of a claim or suit attempting to impose liability. Any action against the Commonwealth, or any agency thereof, shall be subject to the provisions of the Virginia Tort Claims Act (§ 8.01-195.1 et seq.). Any provisions in a lease or other agreement which purports to waive the benefits of this section shall be invalid, and any action against any county, city, town, or local or regional authority shall be subject to the provisions of § 15.2-1809, where applicable.

F. Any owner of a low-head dam may mark the areas above and below the dam and on the banks immediately adjacent to the dam with signs and buoys of a design and content, in accordance with the regulations of the Board, to warn the swimming, fishing, and boating public of the hazards posed by the dam. Any owner of a low-head dam who marks a low-head dam in accordance with this subsection shall be deemed to have met the duty of care for warning the public of the hazards posed by the dam. Any owner of a low-head dam who fails to mark a low-head dam in accordance with this subsection shall be presumed not to have met the duty of care for warning the public of the hazards posed by the dam.

Code 1950, §§ 8-654.2, 29-130.2; 1962, c. 545; 1964, c. 435; 1977, c. 624; 1979, c. 276; 1980, c. 560; 1982, c. 29; 1983, c. 283; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 191; 1989, cc. 26, 500, 505; 1990, cc. 799, 808; 1991, c. 305; 1992, c. 285; 1994, c. 544; 2007, c. 664; 2010, c. 43; 2017, c. 366.

Article 2. Hunting and Trapping.

§ 29.1-510. Big game; small game.

For the purpose of the hunting and trapping laws of the Commonwealth, big game shall include bear and deer and small game shall include other game animals and all game birds.

Code 1950, § 29-132; 1954, c. 228; 1958, c. 165; 1960, c. 537; 1962, c. 469; 1974, c. 302; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 158.

§ 29.1-511. Open season on nuisance species.

There shall be a continuous open season for killing nuisance species of wild birds and wild animals as defined in § 29.1-100.

Code 1950, § 29-133; 1958, c. 165; 1974, c. 302; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-512. Closed season on other species.

There shall be a continuous closed hunting season on all birds and wild animals which are not nuisance species as defined in § 29.1-100, except as provided by law.

Code 1950, § 29-134; 1974, c. 302; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-513. Daily and season bag limits as promulgated by Board regulations.

It shall be lawful to hunt wild birds and wild animals specified in this article within any applicable daily and season bag limits during the open seasons as may be provided by Board regulations.

Code 1950, § 29-135; 1960, c. 590; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-514. Nonmigratory game birds.

A. The following nonmigratory game birds may be hunted during prescribed open seasons:

Birds introduced by the Board.

Bobwhite quail.

Grouse.

Pheasants.

Turkey.

B. The following provisions shall also be applicable to the raising and hunting of the particular nonmigratory game bird species listed:

1. The Board may issue a permit to raise or purchase pheasants which shall entitle the permittee to release pheasants raised or purchased by him on land owned or leased by him, and such pheasants may be hunted under rules and regulations promulgated by the Board.

2. The Board may open the season, including Sunday operation, on pen-raised game birds on controlled shooting areas licensed under Chapter 6 (§ 29.1-600 et seq.) of this title under regulations as may be promulgated by the Board. However, the regulations promulgated by the Board shall not allow Sunday operation in Augusta County, or in any county or city which prohibits Sunday operation by ordinance.

Prior to obtaining a license from the Board to operate a commercially operated controlled shooting area, an applicant shall (i) notify adjoining landowners of the proposed use and (ii) obtain approval from the governing body of the county, city or town that such activity is permitted under existing ordinances. The requirements of clauses (i) and (ii) shall only apply to applications filed on or after July 1, 1993, for commercially operated controlled shooting area licenses issued under Chapter 6 of this title and shall not apply to existing preserve licenses or renewals issued for the shooting of pen-raised game birds.

Code 1950, § 29-136; 1954, c. 228; 1956, c. 375; 1960, c. 590; 1987, c. 488; 1993, c. 87; 2007, c. 813.

§ 29.1-515. Migratory game birds.

Migratory game birds may be hunted in accordance with regulations of the Board. Board regulations shall conform to the regulations of the United States government insofar as open seasons and bag limits are concerned.

Code 1950, § 29-137; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-516. Game animals.

The following provisions shall apply to the killing and hunting of the particular game animals listed:

Black bear. -- A black bear may be killed by any person when (i) it is inflicting or attempting to inflict injury to a person or (ii) when a person is in pursuit of the bear commenced immediately after the commission of such offense. Any person killing a bear under this provision shall immediately report the killing to a state conservation police officer.

Deer. -- It is unlawful for a person to kill or attempt to kill a deer in the water of any stream, lake, or pond. It is unlawful to hunt deer with dogs in the counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Fox. -- There is a continuous open season for hunting with dogs only. The hunting or pursuit of foxes shall mean the actual following of the dogs while in pursuit of a fox or foxes or the managing of the dog or dogs, including by the use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) or other electronic tracking device, while the fox or foxes are being hunted or pursued. Nothing in this section shall preclude the managing of dogs by the use of a GPS or other electronic tracking device by hunters when hunting other game animals. Foxes may be killed at any time by the owner or tenant of any land when such animals are doing damage to domestic stock or fowl.

Rabbits and squirrels. -- It is unlawful to kill rabbits or squirrels during the closed season; however, the following persons may kill rabbits or squirrels for their own use during the closed season:

1. A landowner and members of his immediate family;

2. Resident members of hunt clubs who own the land in fee, either jointly or through a holding company;

3. Tenants residing on the premises, with the written permission of the landowner.

When such animals are committing substantial damage to fruit trees, gardens, crops, or other property, the owner of the premises may kill the animals or have them killed under a permit obtained from the conservation police officer.

Code 1950, § 29-138; 1960, c. 590; 1962, c. 469; 1977, c. 377; 1980, c. 271; 1984, c. 6; 1987, c. 488; 2007, c. 87; 2013, c. 345.

§ 29.1-516.1. Using tracking dogs to retrieve bear, deer, or turkey.

Tracking dogs maintained and controlled on a lead may be used to find a wounded or dead bear, turkey, or deer statewide during any archery, muzzleloader, or firearm bear, turkey, or deer hunting season, or within 24 hours of the end of such season, provided that those who are involved in the retrieval effort have permission to hunt on or to access the land being searched. A licensed hunter who is engaged in such tracking may have in his possession a weapon permitted under this title and may use such weapon to humanely kill the wounded bear, deer, or turkey being tracked, including after legal shooting hours. Such weapon shall not be used to hunt, wound, or kill any animal other than the animal that the hunter is tracking, except in self-defense.

2011, c. 459; 2018, c. 447.

§ 29.1-517. Trapping and shooting of fur-bearing animals during closed season.

A landowner may trap or shoot fur-bearing animals upon his own land during closed season when these animals are causing damage to crops or property, or are posing a threat to human health or safety, or are otherwise causing a nuisance.

Code 1950, § 29-139; 1964, c. 207; 1987, c. 488; 2004, c. 421; 2007, c. 87; 2013, c. 349.

§ 29.1-518. When killing of beaver permitted.

When beaver are damaging crops or lands, the owner of the premises, his agent or tenant, may kill the animals, or have them killed.

1958, c. 147, § 29-139.1; 1987, c. 488; 2004, c. 421.

§ 29.1-519. Guns, pistols, revolvers, etc., which may be used; penalty.

A. All wild birds and wild animals may be hunted with the following weapons unless shooting is expressly prohibited:

1. A shotgun or muzzleloading shotgun not larger than 10 gauge;

2. An automatic-loading or hand-operated repeating shotgun capable of holding not more than three shells the magazine of which has been cut off or plugged with a one-piece filler incapable of removal through the loading end, so as to reduce the capacity of the gun to not more than three shells at one time in the magazine and chamber combined, unless otherwise allowed by Board regulations;

3. A rifle, a muzzleloading rifle, or an air rifle;

4. A bow and arrow;

5. [Expired.]

6. A crossbow, which is a type of bow and arrow, in accordance with the provisions of § 29.1-306;

7. A slingshot, except when hunting deer, bear, elk, or turkey;

8. An arrowgun, which is a pneumatic-powered air gun that fires an arrow; and

9. A slingbow, which is a type of bow and arrow, in accordance with the provisions of § 29.1-306 except when hunting bear or elk.

B. A pistol, muzzleloading pistol, or revolver may be used to hunt nuisance species of birds and animals.

C. In the counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and counties east of the Blue Ridge where rifles of a caliber larger than .22 caliber may be used for hunting wild birds and animals, game birds and animals may be hunted with pistols or revolvers firing cartridges rated in manufacturers' tables at 350 foot pounds of energy or greater and under the same restrictions and conditions as apply to rifles, provided that no cartridge shall be used with a bullet of less than .23 caliber. In no event shall pistols or revolvers firing cartridges rated in manufacturers' tables at 350 foot pounds of energy or greater be used if rifles of a caliber larger than .22 caliber are not authorized for hunting purposes.

D. The use of muzzleloading pistols and .22 caliber rimfire handguns is permitted for hunting small game where .22 caliber rifles are permitted.

E. The use of muzzleloading pistols of .45 caliber or larger is permitted for hunting big game where and in those seasons when the use of muzzleloading rifles is permitted. The Board may adopt regulations that specify the types of muzzleloading pistols and the projectiles and propellants that shall be permitted.

F. The hunting of wild birds and wild animals with fully automatic firearms, defined as a machine gun in § 18.2-288, is prohibited.

G. The hunting of wild birds or wild animals with (i) weapons other than those authorized by this section or (ii) weapons that have been prohibited by this section is punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-140; 1962, c. 469; 1964, c. 441; 1974, cc. 108, 302; 1977, c. 377; 1983, c. 166; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 162; 1989, c. 421; 1993, c. 684; 1998, c. 144; 2002, c. 157; 2005, c. 8; 2007, c. 643; 2014, cc. 117, 136; 2016, c. 486; 2017, c. 530; 2018, cc. 557, 558.

§ 29.1-520. Times for hunting.

A. Nonmigratory game birds and game animals may be hunted from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Bears may be hunted without capturing or taking from 4:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. during bear hound training season.

B. Fur-bearing animals and nuisance species of birds and animals may be hunted by day or by night, except that muskrats may be hunted by day only.

C. A violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, §§ 29-141, 29-142; 1962, c. 469; 1974, c. 302; 1987, c. 488; 1989, c. 421; 2008, c. 31; 2012, cc. 69, 226.

§ 29.1-521. Unlawful to hunt, trap, possess, sell, or transport wild birds and wild animals except as permitted; exception; penalty.

A. The following shall be unlawful:

1. To hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species, with a gun, firearm, or other weapon, or to hunt or kill any deer or bear with a gun, firearm, or other weapon with the aid or assistance of dogs, on Sunday. The provision of this subdivision that prohibits the hunting or killing of any wild bird or wild animal, including nuisance species, on Sunday shall not apply to (i) any person who hunts or kills raccoons; (ii) any person who hunts or kills birds in the family Rallidae or waterfowl, subject to geographical limitations established by the Director and except within 200 yards of a place of worship or any accessory structure thereof; or (iii) any landowner or member of his family or any person with written permission from the landowner who hunts or kills any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species, on the landowner's property, except within 200 yards of a place of worship or any accessory structure thereof. However, a person lawfully carrying a gun, firearm, or other weapon on Sunday in an area that could be used for hunting shall not be presumed to be hunting on Sunday, absent evidence to the contrary.

2. To destroy or molest the nest, eggs, dens, or young of any wild bird or wild animal, except nuisance species, at any time without a permit as required by law.

3. To hunt or attempt to kill or trap any species of wild bird or wild animal after having obtained the daily bag or season limit during such day or season. However, any properly licensed person, or a person exempt from having to obtain a license, who has obtained such daily bag or season limit while hunting may assist others who are hunting game by calling game, retrieving game, handling dogs, or conducting drives if the weapon in his possession is an unloaded firearm, a bow without a nocked arrow, an unloaded slingbow, an unloaded arrowgun, or an unloaded crossbow. Any properly licensed person, or person exempt from having to obtain a license, who has obtained such season limit prior to commencement of the hunt may assist others who are hunting game by calling game, retrieving game, handling dogs, or conducting drives, provided he does not have a firearm, bow, slingbow, arrowgun, or crossbow in his possession.

4. To knowingly occupy any baited blind or other baited place for the purpose of taking or attempting to take any wild bird or wild animal or to put out bait or salt for any wild bird or wild animal for the purpose of taking or killing it. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a person charged with violating this subdivision knows that he is occupying a baited blind or other baited place for the purpose of taking or attempting to take any wild bird or wild animal. However, this shall not apply to baiting nuisance species of animals and birds, or to baiting traps for the purpose of taking fur-bearing animals that may be lawfully trapped.

5. To kill or capture any wild bird or wild animal adjacent to any area while a field or forest fire is in progress.

6. To shoot or attempt to take any wild bird or wild animal from an automobile or other vehicle, except as provided in § 29.1-521.3.

7. To set a trap of any kind on the lands or waters of another without attaching to the trap: (i) the name and address of the trapper; or (ii) an identification number issued by the Department.

8. To set a trap where it would be likely to injure persons, dogs, stock, or fowl.

9. To fail to visit all traps once each day and remove all animals caught, and immediately report to the landowner as to stock, dogs, or fowl that are caught and the date. However, the Director or his designee may authorize employees of federal, state, and local government agencies, and persons holding a valid Commercial Nuisance Animal Permit issued by the Department, to visit body-gripping traps that are completely submerged at least once every 72 hours, and the Board may adopt regulations permitting trappers to visit traps less frequently under specified conditions. The Board shall adopt regulations permitting trappers to use remote trap-checking technology to check traps under specified conditions.

10. To hunt, trap, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill, possess, deliver for transportation, transport, cause to be transported, by any means whatever, receive for transportation or export, or import, at any time or in any manner, any wild bird or wild animal or the carcass or any part thereof, except as specifically permitted by law and only by the manner or means and within the numbers stated. However, the provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit the (i) use or transportation of legally taken turkey carcasses, or portions thereof, for the purposes of making or selling turkey callers; (ii) the manufacture or sale of implements, including tools or utensils made from legally harvested deer skeletal parts, including antlers; (iii) the possession of shed antlers; or (iv) the possession, manufacture, or sale of other parts or implements authorized by regulations adopted by the Board.

11. To offer for sale, sell, offer to purchase, or purchase, at any time or in any manner, any wild bird or wild animal or the carcass or any part thereof, except as specifically permitted by law, including subsection D of § 29.1-553. However, any nonprofit organization exempt from taxation under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is (i) organized to provide wild game as food to the hungry and (ii) authorized by the Department to possess, transport, and distribute donated or unclaimed meat to the hungry may pay a processing fee in order to obtain such meat. Such fee shall not exceed the actual cost for processing the meat. In addition, any nonprofit organization exempt from taxation under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is (a) organized to support wildlife habitat conservation and (b) approved by the Department shall be allowed to offer wildlife mounts that have undergone the taxidermy process for sale in conjunction with fundraising activities. A violation of this subdivision shall be punishable as provided in § 29.1-553.

B. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, any American Indian who produces verification that he is an enrolled member of a tribe recognized by the Commonwealth, another state, or the U.S. government, may possess, offer for sale, or sell to another American Indian, or offer to purchase or purchase from another American Indian, parts of legally obtained fur-bearing animals, nonmigratory game birds, and game animals, except bear. Such legally obtained parts shall include antlers, hooves, feathers, claws, and bones.

"Verification" as used in this section shall include (i) display of a valid tribal identification card, (ii) confirmation through a central tribal registry, (iii) a letter from a tribal chief or council, or (iv) certification from a tribal office that the person is an enrolled member of the tribe.

C. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Department may authorize the use of snake exclusion devices by public utilities at their transmission or distribution facilities and the incidental taking of snakes resulting from the use of such devices.

D. A violation of subdivisions A 1 through 10 shall be punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-143; 1962, c. 469; 1974, c. 302; 1979, c. 264; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 175; 1989, c. 421; 1990, c. 237; 1994, cc. 244, 436; 1997, c. 249; 1998, c. 415; 2000, c. 13; 2001, cc. 26, 60; 2004, c. 862; 2005, cc. 170, 533, 534; 2006, cc. 20, 215; 2008, cc. 160, 161; 2010, c. 10; 2014, cc. 152, 482; 2015, c. 47; 2016, cc. 10, 62, 121, 372; 2017, c. 530; 2018, cc. 113, 557, 558, 620.

§ 29.1-521.1. Willfully impeding hunting or trapping; penalty.

A. It is unlawful to willfully and intentionally impede the lawful hunting or trapping of wild birds or wild animals.

B. It is unlawful for any person or his agent to knowingly and intentionally facilitate or attempt to cause a violation of subdivision A 4 of § 29.1-521 by putting out bait or salt for any wildlife in any place used or occupied by hunters to hunt wild birds or wild animals.

C. Any person convicted of a violation of this section is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1988, c. 584; 2010, c. 626.

§ 29.1-521.2. Violation of § 18.2-286 while hunting; revocation of license and privileges.

A. Any firearm, crossbow, slingbow, arrowgun, or bow and arrow used by any person to hunt any game bird or game animal in a manner which violates § 18.2-286 may, upon conviction of such person violating § 18.2-286, be forfeited to the Commonwealth by order of the court trying the case. The forfeiture shall be enforced as provided in Chapter 22.1 (§ 19.2-386.1 et seq.) of Title 19.2. The officer or other person seizing the property shall immediately give notice to the attorney for the Commonwealth.

B. The court may revoke the current hunting license and privileges of a person hunting any game bird or game animal in a manner that constitutes a violation of § 18.2-286. The court may prohibit that person from hunting for a period of one to five years. If found hunting during this prohibited period, the person shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Notification of such revocation or prohibition shall be forwarded to the Department pursuant to subsection C of § 18.2-56.1.

1993, c. 322; 1994, c. 18; 2010, c. 183; 2012, cc. 283, 756; 2017, c. 530; 2018, cc. 557, 558.

§ 29.1-521.3. Shooting wild birds and wild animals from stationary vehicles by disabled persons.

Any person, upon application to a conservation police officer and the presentation of a medical doctor's written statement based on a physical examination that such person is permanently unable to walk due to impaired mobility, may, in the discretion of the conservation police officer, be issued a permit to shoot wild birds and wild animals from a stationary automobile or other vehicle during established open hunting seasons and in accordance with other laws and regulations. Permits issued pursuant to this section shall (i) be issued on a form provided by the Department, (ii) not authorize shooting from a stationary vehicle less than 50 feet from nor in or across any public road or highway subject to the provisions of § 29.1-526, (iii) be issued for the lifetime of the permittee and be issued only to those persons who are properly licensed to hunt, and (iv) be nontransferable. Any permit found in the possession of any person not entitled to such permit shall be subject to confiscation by a conservation police officer.

1994, c. 244; 2007, c. 87.

§ 29.1-522. Unlawful to kill male deer unless antlers visible above hair.

Unless the Board declares otherwise by regulation, it shall be unlawful to kill male deer in any county or city of the Commonwealth unless the deer has antlers visible above the hair.

Code 1950, § 29-144; 1952, c. 608; 1958, c. 444; 1975, c. 529; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-523. Killing deer by use of certain lights; acts raising presumption of attempt to kill.

Any person who kills or attempts to kill any deer between a half hour after sunset and a half hour before sunrise by use of a light attached to any vehicle or a spotlight or flashlight shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. The flashing of a light attached to any vehicle or a spotlight or flashlight from any vehicle between a half hour after sunset and half hour before sunrise by any person or persons, then in possession of a firearm, crossbow, or bow and arrow or speargun, without good cause, shall raise a presumption of an attempt to kill deer in violation of this section. Every person in or on any such vehicle shall be deemed a principal in the second degree and subject to the same punishment as a principal in the first degree. Every person who, in any manner, aids, abets or acts in concert with any person or persons violating this section shall be deemed a principal in the second degree and subject to the same punishment as a principal in the first degree.

In addition to the penalty prescribed herein, the court shall revoke the current hunting license and privileges of the person convicted of violating this section and prohibit that person from hunting for a period of one to five years. If found hunting during this prohibited period, the person shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Notification of such revocation or prohibition shall be forwarded to the Department pursuant to subsections C and D of § 18.2-56.1.

This section shall not apply to persons duly authorized to kill deer according to the provisions of § 29.1-529.

1962, c. 520, § 29-144.2; 1970, c. 79; 1973, c. 369; 1980, cc. 602, 607, § 29-144.4:1; 1987, c. 488; 1994, c. 113; 2002, c. 157; 2010, c. 183.

§ 29.1-523.1. Hunting deer with sights after dark; forfeiture of weapon and sighting device.

A. Any person who kills or attempts to kill any deer between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise using a firearm equipped with any sighting device other than iron or open sights shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. In addition to this penalty, the court shall revoke the current hunting license and privileges of the person convicted of violating this section and prohibit that person from hunting for a period of one to five years. Notification of such revocation or prohibition shall be forwarded to the Department pursuant to subsections C and D of § 18.2-56.1.

B. Every firearm equipped with any sighting device other than iron or open sights used with the knowledge or consent of the owner in violation of this section shall be forfeited to the Commonwealth. Upon being condemned as forfeited in proceedings under Chapter 22.1 (§ 19.2-386.1 et seq.) of Title 19.2, the proceeds of the sale shall be disposed of according to law.

This section shall not apply to persons duly authorized to kill deer according to the provisions of § 29.1-529.

2001, c. 112; 2010, c. 183; 2012, cc. 283, 756.

§ 29.1-524. Forfeiture of vehicles and weapons used for killing or attempt to kill.

Every vehicle, firearm, crossbow, slingbow, arrowgun, bow and arrow, or speargun used with the knowledge or consent of the owner or lienholder thereof, in killing or attempting to kill deer between a half hour after sunset and a half hour before sunrise in violation of § 29.1-523, and every vehicle used in the transportation of the carcass, or any part thereof, of a deer so killed shall be forfeited to the Commonwealth. Upon being condemned as forfeited in proceedings under Chapter 22.1 (§ 19.2-386.1 et seq.) of Title 19.2, the proceeds of sale shall be disposed of according to law.

1962, c. 520, § 29-144.3; 1978, c. 199; 1987, c. 488; 2002, c. 157; 2012, cc. 283, 756; 2017, c. 530; 2018, cc. 557, 558.

§ 29.1-525. Employment of lights under certain circumstances upon places used by deer.

A. Any person in any vehicle and then in possession of any firearm, crossbow, slingbow, arrowgun, bow and arrow, or speargun who employs a light attached to the vehicle or a spotlight or flashlight to cast a light beyond the water or surface of the roadway upon any place used by deer shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Every person in or on any such vehicle shall be deemed prima facie a principal in the second degree and subject to the same punishment as a principal in the first degree. This subsection shall not apply to a landowner in possession of a weapon when he is on his own land and is making a bona fide effort to protect his property from damage by deer and not for the purpose of killing deer unless the landowner is in possession of a permit to do so pursuant to the provisions of § 29.1-529.

B. Any person in any motor vehicle who deliberately employs a light attached to such vehicle or a spotlight or flashlight to cast a light beyond the surface of the roadway upon any place used by deer, except upon his own land or upon land on which he has an easement or permission for such purpose, shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. Every person in or on any such vehicle shall be deemed prima facie a principal in the second degree and subject to the same punishment as a principal in the first degree.

C. The provisions of subsections A and B shall not apply to activities conducted by a locality pursuant to a permit or written authorization issued by the Department.

D. In addition to the penalties prescribed in subsection A, the court shall revoke the current hunting license and privileges of the person convicted of a violation of subsection A and prohibit the person from hunting for a period of one to five years. In addition to the penalties prescribed in subsection B, the court may revoke the current hunting license and privileges of the person convicted of a violation of subsection B and prohibit that person from hunting for one to five years. If a person convicted of a violation of subsection A or B is found hunting during the prohibited period, the person shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Notification of such revocation or prohibition shall be forwarded to the Department pursuant to subsections C and D of § 18.2-56.1.

1962, c. 520, § 29-144.4; 1973, c. 369; 1974, c. 101; 1980, cc. 602, 607, § 29-144.4:1; 1981, c. 60; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 450; 1994, c. 113; 2002, c. 157; 2010, c. 183; 2014, c. 126; 2017, c. 530; 2018, cc. 557, 558.

§ 29.1-525.1. Deer enclosures prohibited; exceptions; penalty.

A. It is unlawful to erect a fence that prevents or impedes the free egress of deer from the enclosed area with the intent to confine deer.

B. It is unlawful to hunt deer inside a fenced area that prevents or impedes the free egress of deer.

C. The provisions of subsection A shall not apply to:

1. Local, state or federal public lands on which fences are erected to protect public health or safety;

2. Enclosures permitted by the Department as fallow deer farms or permitted exhibitors holding native deer for educational purposes;

3. Enclosures permitted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as exhibitors, breeders, or dealers; or

4. Zoos accredited by the American Zoological Association.

D. The provisions of subsection B shall not apply to (i) local, state or federal public lands on which fences are erected to protect public health or safety, or (ii) any person hunting in an enclosure or facility that (a) was constructed prior to July 1, 2001, (b) has been registered with the Department not later than August 1, 2001, and annually thereafter, and (c) has been modified not later than 90 days following registration in a manner approved by the Director or his designee to allow the free egress of deer. Such registration shall not be transferable. The Department shall place information of the initial registration requirement in newspapers of general circulation throughout the Commonwealth. Such enclosures or facilities shall operate using acceptable hunting and wildlife management practices determined by the Director or his designee, including, but not limited to, methods of take, use of dogs, and supplemental feeding. The Director or his designee shall provide the owner of the enclosure or facility with information on what constitutes acceptable hunting and wildlife management practices.

E. Any registered enclosure or facility within which the owners or persons hunting have not followed acceptable hunting wildlife management practices shall have its registration revoked by the Department. Upon revocation of the registration, any person hunting within the enclosure or facility shall be subject to the provisions of subsection B and the penalties imposed under subsection F.

F. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any person who is convicted of violating this section shall have his hunting license and privileges suspended by the court for a period of one to five years. In addition, the court may order compensation for replacement for any deer killed be paid to the Department as provided for in § 29.1-551, and may order the owner of the fence to modify the fence to allow the free egress by deer.

2001, c. 856; 2010, c. 183.

§ 29.1-525.2. Fox and coyote enclosures prohibited; penalty.

A. It is unlawful to erect, maintain, or operate an enclosure for the purpose of pursuing, hunting, or killing or attempting to pursue, hunt, or kill any fox or coyote with a dog. For purposes of this section, "enclosure" means a fence or other barrier that is used to prevent or impede the natural egress by any fox or coyote. A person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. This subsection shall not be construed to limit the authority of the Department to enforce other available penalties.

B. This section shall not preclude the pursuing, hunting, or killing of any fox or coyote by a dog in the absence of an enclosure, or the killing of any fox or coyote by a landowner or tenant when the fox or coyote is damaging domestic stock or fowl on the owned or leased land.

C. Until July 1, 2054, the provisions of subsection A shall not apply to any location at which, as of January 1, 2014, a foxhound training preserve existed and was operating under a permit issued by the Department. The Department shall continue to issue or renew permits to existing locations in accordance with this section notwithstanding changes in the identity of the person or entity holding the permit.

D. The regulations governing foxhound training preserves in effect as of January 1, 2014, shall continue in full force and effect, provided, however, that the Department shall adopt regulations by October 1, 2014, to limit the total number of foxes stocked annually in all permitted preserves to 900. The Department shall specify a proportional number of foxes that may be stocked in each permitted preserve based upon the number of acres of the preserve as a percentage of the total acreage of permitted foxhound training preserves. If a preserve ceases to operate, its allocation of foxes from the previous year shall be deducted from the total number of foxes that may be stocked in foxhound training preserves in the Commonwealth.

E. The Department shall not deny a permit to an existing location solely due to recordkeeping failures or other technical violations of the regulations governing foxhound training preserves.

F. The Department shall deny a permit to an existing location if the location voluntarily ceases operation of its foxhound training preserve for a period of 12 consecutive months or longer.

G. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 2.2-4002, the denial of a permit to operate a foxhound training preserve by the Department shall constitute a case decision subject to the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.). If a permittee or owner of a location subject to a permit files a notice of appeal with the Department, the Department shall continue to permit the location until any such appeals have been exhausted and the Department's determination upheld.

2014, c. 605.

§ 29.1-526. Counties and cities may prohibit hunting or trapping near primary and secondary highways.

The governing body of any county or city may prohibit by ordinance the hunting, with a firearm, of any game bird or game animal while the hunting is on or within 100 yards of any primary or secondary highway in such county or city and may provide that any violation of the ordinance shall be a Class 3 misdemeanor. In addition, the governing body of any county or city may prohibit by ordinance the trapping of any game animal or furbearer within fifty feet of the shoulder of any primary or secondary highway in the county or city and may provide that any violation of the ordinance shall be a Class 3 misdemeanor. No such ordinance shall prohibit such trapping where the written permission of the landowner is obtained. It shall be the duty of the governing body enacting an ordinance under the provisions of this section to notify the Director by registered mail no later than May 1 of the year in which the ordinance is to take effect. If the governing body fails to make such notice, the ordinance shall be unenforceable.

For the purpose of this section, the terms "hunt" and "trap" shall not include the necessary crossing of highways for the bona fide purpose of going into or leaving a lawful hunting or trapping area.

1962, c. 141, § 29-144.5; 1964, c. 549; 1977, c. 377; 1982, c. 194; 1987, c. 488; 1989, c. 421.

§ 29.1-527. Counties, cities or towns may prohibit hunting near public schools and county, city, town or regional parks.

The governing body of any county, city or town may prohibit by ordinance, shooting or hunting with a firearm, or prohibit hunters from traversing an area while in possession of a loaded firearm, within 100 yards of any property line of a public school or a county, city, town or regional park. The governing body may, in such ordinance, provide that any violation thereof shall be a Class 4 misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall give any county, city or town the authority to enforce such an ordinance on lands within a national or state park or forest, or wildlife management area.

1985, c. 485, § 29-144.5:1; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-527.1. Localities may prohibit feeding of migratory and nonmigratory waterfowl.

Upon notice to the Department, any locality may prohibit by ordinance the feeding of migratory and nonmigratory waterfowl in any subdivision or other area of such locality which, in the opinion of the governing body, is so heavily populated as to make the feeding of such waterfowl a threat to public health or the environment. The terms "migratory" and "nonmigratory" waterfowl shall include those waterfowl defined as such in a listing as provided by the Department. The Department shall make available to localities a model ordinance suggested for use by localities. The locality shall post the appropriate signage that designates an area where the ordinance is applicable and shall be solely responsible for enforcement of the ordinance. The penalty for violating such an ordinance shall be a civil fine not to exceed $50.

A locality shall not enact such an ordinance on lands within a national or state park or forest, or wildlife management area.

2004, c. 386.

§ 29.1-527.2. Localities may prohibit feeding of deer.

Any city or town may, by ordinance, prohibit the feeding of deer within its jurisdiction. The Department shall make available to localities a model ordinance suggested for use by localities. The penalty for violating such an ordinance shall be a civil fine not to exceed $50. It shall be the duty of the governing body enacting an ordinance under this section to notify the Director by registered mail of the adoption of such an ordinance.

Any such ordinance shall not apply to agricultural, commercial, noncommercial, or residential plantings; distribution of food to livestock; or wildlife management activities conducted or authorized by the Department. The ordinance shall not limit the authority of the Board to regulate feeding of wildlife consistent with this chapter.

2016, c. 376.

§ 29.1-528. Board to develop model ordinances for hunting with firearms; counties or cities may adopt.

A. The Board shall adopt regulations establishing model ordinances for hunting with firearms that may be adopted by counties or cities. Such model ordinances shall address items including firearm caliber; type of firearm, including rifle, shotgun, or muzzleloader; type of ammunition; and the hunting of groundhogs or coyotes.

B. The governing body of any county or city may, by ordinance, (i) prohibit hunting in such county or city with a shotgun loaded with slugs, or with a rifle of a caliber larger than .22 rimfire; (ii) permit the hunting of groundhogs with a rifle of a caliber larger than .22 rimfire between March 1 and August 31; (iii) permit the use of muzzle-loading rifles during the prescribed open seasons for the hunting of game species; (iv) specify permissible types of ammunition to be used for hunting in the county or city; or (v) permit the hunting of coyotes with a rifle of a caliber larger than .22 rimfire.

C. No such ordinance shall be enforceable unless the governing body notifies the Director by registered mail prior to May 1 of the year in which the ordinance is to take effect.

D. In adopting an ordinance pursuant to the provisions of this section, the governing body of any county or city may provide that any person who violates the provisions of the ordinance is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1976, c. 443, § 29-144.6; 1977, cc. 20, 377; 1978, c. 303; 1986, c. 342; 1987, c. 488; 1989, c. 421; 2007, c. 642; 2016, c. 64.

§ 29.1-528.1. Board to develop model ordinances for hunting with bow and arrow; counties or cities may adopt.

A. The Board shall adopt regulations establishing model ordinances for hunting deer with bow and arrow, slingbows, and crossbows in those counties and cities where there is an overabundance of the deer population, which is creating conflicts between humans and deer, including safety hazards to motorists. The model ordinances shall include (i) the times at which such hunting shall commence and end each day and (ii) the number of deer that can be taken based on analysis performed by the Department.

B. No such ordinance shall be enforceable unless the governing body notifies the Director by registered mail prior to May 1 of the year in which the ordinance is to take effect. Any change jurisdictions may seek in the model ordinance shall be approved by the Board prior to its adoption.

C. In adopting an ordinance pursuant to the provisions of this section, the governing body of any locality may provide that any person who violates the provisions of the ordinance shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

2010, c. 512; 2017, c. 530.

§ 29.1-528.2. Local tree stand ordinance; disabled hunter exempt.

While hunting during any established open hunting season and in accordance with other laws and regulations, a hunter shall be exempt from any local ordinance requiring hunting from an elevated platform or tree stand if he (i) possesses a valid hunting license and is permanently disabled, as defined in § 58.1-3217 and as attested to by a licensed physician on a form provided by the Department and carried on the hunter's person while hunting, or (ii) holds a lifetime disabled or disabled veterans license under § 29.1-302, 29.1-302.02, or 29.1-302.03 or subsection C of § 29.1-302.1.

The exemption provided by this section shall apply only to a hunter whose permanent disability, as attested to by a licensed physician pursuant to the provisions of this section or as accepted by the Director pursuant to the provisions of subsection C of § 29.1-302.1, is based on a physical impairment or deformity.

2018, c. 836.

§ 29.1-529. Killing of deer, elk or bear damaging fruit trees, crops, livestock, or personal property; wildlife creating a hazard to aircraft or motor vehicles.

A. Whenever deer, elk or bear are damaging fruit trees, crops, livestock or personal property utilized for commercial agricultural production in the Commonwealth, the owner or lessee of the lands on which such damage is done shall immediately report the damage to the Director or his designee for investigation. If after investigation the Director or his designee finds that deer or bear are responsible for the damage, he shall authorize in writing the owner, lessee or any other person designated by the Director or his designee to kill such deer or bear when they are found upon the land upon which the damages occurred. However, the Director or his designee shall have the option of authorizing nonlethal control measures rather than authorizing the killing of elk or bear, provided that such measures occur within a reasonable period of time; and whenever deer cause damage on parcels of land of five acres or less, except when such acreage is used for commercial agricultural production, the Director or his designee shall have discretion as to whether to issue a written authorization to kill the deer. The Director or his designee may limit such authorization by specifying in writing the number of animals to be killed and duration for which the authorization is effective and may in proximity to residential areas and under other appropriate circumstances limit or prohibit the authorization between 11:00 p.m. and one-half hour before sunrise of the following day. The Director or his designees issuing these authorizations shall specify in writing that only antlerless deer shall be killed, unless the Director or his designee determines that there is clear and convincing evidence that the damage was done by deer with antlers. Any owner or lessee of land who has been issued a written authorization shall not be issued an authorization in subsequent years unless he can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Director or his designee that during the period following the prior authorization, the owner or his designee has hunted bear or deer on the land for which he received a previous authorization.

B. Subject to the provisions of subsection A, the Director or his designee may issue a written authorization to kill deer causing damage to residential plants, whether ornamental, noncommercial agricultural, or other types of residential plants. The Director may charge a fee not to exceed actual costs. The holder of this written authorization shall be subject to local ordinances, including those regulating the discharge of firearms.

C. Whenever wildlife is creating a hazard to the operation of any aircraft or to the facilities connected with the operation of aircraft, the person or persons responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft or facilities shall report such fact to the Director or his designee for investigation. If after investigation the Director or his designee finds that wildlife is creating a hazard, he shall authorize such person or persons or their representatives to kill wildlife when the wildlife is found to be creating such a hazard. As used in this subsection, the term "wildlife" shall not include any federally protected species.

D. Whenever deer are creating a hazard to the operation of motor vehicle traffic within the corporate limits of any city or town, the operator of a motor vehicle or chief law-enforcement officer of the city or town may report such fact to the Director or his designee for investigation. If after investigation the Director or his designee finds that deer are creating a hazard within such city or town, he may authorize responsible persons, or their representatives, to kill the deer when they are found to be creating such a hazard.

E. Whenever deer are damaging property in a locality in which deer herd population reduction has been recommended in the current Deer Management Plan adopted by the Board, the owner or lessee of the lands on which such damage is being done may report such damage to the Director or his designee for investigation. If after investigation the Director or his designee finds that deer are responsible for the damage, he may authorize in writing the owner, lessee or any other person designated by the Director or his designee to kill such deer when they are found upon the land upon which the damages occurred. The Director or his designee also may limit such authorization by specifying in writing the number of animals to be killed and the period of time for which the authorization is effective. The requirement in subsection A of this section, that an owner or lessee of land demonstrate that during the period following the prior authorization deer or bear have been hunted on his land, shall not apply to any locality that conducts a deer population control program authorized by the Department.

F. The Director or his designee may revoke or refuse to reissue any authorization granted under this section when it has been shown by a preponderance of the evidence that an abuse of the authorization has occurred. Such evidence may include a complaint filed by any person with the Department alleging that an abuse of the written authorization has occurred. Any person aggrieved by the issuance, denial or revocation of a written authorization can appeal the decision to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Any person convicted of violating any provision of the hunting and trapping laws and regulations shall be entitled to receive written authorization to kill deer or bear. However, such person shall not (i) be designated as a shooter nor (ii) carry out the authorized activity for a person who has received such written authorization for a period of at least two years and up to five years following his most recent conviction for violating any provision of the hunting and trapping laws and regulations. In determining the appropriate length of this restriction, the Director shall take into account the nature and severity of the most recent violation and of any past violations of the hunting and trapping laws and regulations by the applicant. No person shall be designated as a shooter under this section during a period when such person's hunting license or privileges to hunt have been suspended or revoked.

G. The Director or his designee may authorize, subject to the provisions of this section, the killing of deer over bait within the political boundaries of any city or town, or any county with a special late antlerless season, in the Commonwealth when requested by a certified letter from the governing body of such locality.

H. The parts of any deer or bear killed pursuant to this section or wildlife killed pursuant to subsection C shall not be used for the purposes of taxidermy, mounts, or any public display unless authorized by the Director or his designee. However, the meat of any such animal may be used for human consumption. The carcass and any unused meat of any such animal shall be disposed of within 24 hours of being killed. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

I. It is unlawful to willfully and intentionally impede any person who is engaged in the lawful killing of a bear or deer pursuant to written authorization issued under this section. Any person convicted of a violation of this subsection is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-145.1; 1954, c. 686; 1956, c. 684; 1958, cc. 315, 609; 1960, c. 129; 1962, c. 229; 1970, c. 79; 1980, c. 271; 1987, cc. 48, 488; 1991, c. 99; 1993, cc. 204, 273; 1994, c. 571; 1996, c. 314; 1998, c. 179; 1999, c. 563; 2000, c. 6; 2002, c. 174; 2003, cc. 123, 135; 2004, c. 447; 2008, cc. 17, 260; 2009, cc. 8, 305; 2010, c. 5; 2012, c. 247; 2013, c. 346.

§ 29.1-530. Open and closed season for trapping, bag limits, etc.

A. There shall be a continuous open season for trapping nuisance species and a continuous closed trapping season on all other species of wild birds and wild animals, except as provided by Board regulations. However, a landowner or his agent may trap and dispose of, except by sale, squirrels creating a nuisance on his property at any time in any area where the use of firearms for such purpose is prohibited by law or local ordinance.

B. In addition, the following general rules shall be applicable to any person trapping in the Commonwealth:

1. The trapper shall be responsible for all damage done by an illegally set trap, and any person finding a trap set contrary to law may report it to the landowner upon whose land the trap is located or to any conservation police officer who may destroy or otherwise make the trap inoperable.

2. Licensed trappers may shoot wild animals caught in traps on any day of the week during the seasons prescribed in subsection A in order to dispatch such animal. No additional licenses are required other than a valid Virginia trapping license.

3. It is lawful to trap wild animals within the daily bag and season limits, if any, during the open season provided by Board regulations.

Code 1950, § 29-146; 1958, c. 495; 1974, c. 302; 1982, c. 335; 1987, c. 488; 2006, c. 20; 2007, c. 87; 2013, c. 349.

§ 29.1-530.1. Solid blaze orange or solid blaze pink clothing required at certain times.

A. For the purposes of this section, "solid blaze orange" means a safety orange or fluorescent orange hue and "solid blaze pink" means a safety pink or fluorescent pink hue.

B. During any firearms deer season, except during the special season for hunting deer with a muzzle-loading rifle only, in counties and cities designated by the Board, every hunter and every person accompanying a hunter shall (i) wear a solid blaze orange or solid blaze pink hat, except that the bill or brim of the hat may be a color or design other than solid blaze orange or solid blaze pink, or solid blaze orange or solid blaze pink upper body clothing that is visible from 360 degrees, (ii) display at least 100 square inches of solid blaze orange or solid blaze pink material at shoulder level within body reach visible from 360 degrees, or (iii) when hunting from an enclosed ground blind, display at least 100 square inches of solid blaze orange or solid blaze pink material visible from 360 degrees attached to or immediately above a blind.

C. During the special season for hunting deer with a muzzle-loading rifle only, in counties and cities designated by the Board, every muzzleloader deer hunter and every person accompanying a muzzleloader deer hunter shall wear (i) a solid blaze orange or solid blaze pink hat, except that the bill or brim of the hat may be a color or design other than solid blaze orange or solid blaze pink, or (ii) solid blaze orange or solid blaze pink upper body clothing, either of which shall be visible from 360 degrees, unless such person is physically located in a tree stand or other stationary hunting location.

D. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction, pay a fine of $25.

E. Violations of this section shall not be admissible in any civil action for personal injury or death as evidence of negligence, contributory negligence, or assumption of the risk.

F. This section shall not apply when (i) hunting waterfowl from stationary or floating blinds, (ii) hunting waterfowl over decoys, (iii) hunting waterfowl in wetlands as defined in § 28.2-1300, (iv) hunting waterfowl from a boat or other floating conveyance, (v) hunting doves, (vi) participating in hunting dog field trials permitted by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries, (vii) on horseback while hunting foxes with hounds but without firearms, or (viii) hunting with a bow and arrow in areas where the discharge of firearms is prohibited by state law or local ordinance.

1987, c. 319, § 29-147.2; 1988, cc. 474, 715; 2002, c. 39; 2005, c. 167; 2009, c. 11; 2014, c. 140; 2017, c. 347; 2018, c. 151.

§ 29.1-530.2. Unlawfully killing bear; penalty.

Any person who kills or attempts to kill a bear in violation of any provision of this article or of a regulation adopted thereunder shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1988, c. 19.

§ 29.1-530.3. Remote hunting prohibited; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person to engage in computer-assisted remote hunting or provide or operate a facility that allows others to engage in computer-assisted remote hunting if the wild animal or wild bird being hunted or shot is located in the Commonwealth.

B. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. In addition to the penalty prescribed herein, the court shall revoke all current hunting licenses and privileges of the person convicted of violating this section and prohibit that person from hunting for a period of one to five years. Notification of the revocation or prohibition shall be forwarded to the Department pursuant to subsections C and D of § 18.2-56.1.

C. For the purposes of this section "computer-assisted remote hunting" means the use of a computer or other device, equipment, or software, to remotely control the aiming and discharge of a firearm or other weapon, that allows a person, not physically present, to hunt or shoot any wild animal or wild bird.

2005, cc. 172, 226; 2010, c. 183.

§ 29.1-530.4. Duty of certain entities to report hunting incidents.

Any law-enforcement agency or emergency medical services provider that receives a report that a person engaged in hunting as defined in § 29.1-100 has suffered serious bodily injury or death shall immediately give notice of the incident to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

2005, c. 688; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

Article 2.1. Wildlife Violator Compact.

§ 29.1-530.5. Wildlife Violator Compact.

ARTICLE I

Findings, Declaration of Policy, and Purpose

(a) The participating states find that:

(1) Wildlife resources are managed in trust by the respective states for the benefit of all residents and visitors;

(2) The protection of the wildlife resources of a state is materially affected by the degree of compliance with state statutes, laws, regulations, rules, and ordinances relating to the management of those resources;

(3) The preservation, protection, management, and restoration of wildlife contributes immeasurably to the aesthetic, recreational, and economic aspects of such natural resources;

(4) Wildlife resources are valuable without regard to political boundaries; therefore, every person should be required to comply with wildlife preservation, protection, management, and restoration statutes, laws, rules, regulations, and ordinances of the participating states as a condition precedent to the continuance or issuance of any license to hunt, fish, trap, or possess wildlife;

(5) Violation of wildlife laws interferes with the management of wildlife resources and may endanger the safety of persons and property;

(6) The mobility of many wildlife law violators necessitates the maintenance of channels of communication among the various states;

(7) In most instances, a person who is cited for a wildlife violation in a state other than the person's home state:

(i) Is required to post collateral or a bond to secure an appearance for a trial at a later date;

(ii) Is taken into custody until the collateral or bond is posted; or

(iii) Is taken directly to court for an immediate appearance;

(8) The purpose of the enforcement practices set forth in paragraph (7) of this subsection is to ensure compliance with the terms of a wildlife citation by the cited person who, if permitted to continue on the person's way after receiving the citation, could return to the person's home state and disregard any duty under the terms of the citation;

(9) In most instances, a person receiving a wildlife citation in the person's home state is permitted to accept the citation from the officer at the scene of the violation and immediately continue on the person's way after agreeing or being instructed to comply with the terms of the citation;

(10) The practices described in paragraph (7) of this subsection cause unnecessary inconvenience and, at times, a hardship for the person who is unable at the time to post collateral, furnish a bond, stand trial, or pay a fine, and thus is compelled to remain in custody until some alternative arrangement is made; and

(11) The enforcement practices described in paragraph (7) of this subsection consume an undue amount of law-enforcement time.

(b) It is the policy of the participating states to:

(1) Promote compliance with the statutes, laws, regulations, rules, and ordinances relating to management of wildlife resources in their respective states;

(2) Recognize a suspension of wildlife license privileges of any person whose license privileges have been suspended by a participating state and treat that suspension as if it had occurred in each respective state;

(3) Allow a violator, except as provided in Article III, subsection (b) of this compact, to accept a wildlife citation and, without delay, proceed on the person's way, regardless of the violator's home state, if that state is a party to this compact;

(4) Report to the appropriate participating state, as provided in the compact manual, any conviction recorded against a person whose home state was not the issuing state;

(5) Allow the home state to recognize and treat convictions recorded against its residents, which convictions occurred in a participating state, as though they had occurred in the home state;

(6) Extend cooperation to its fullest extent among the participating states for enforcing compliance with the terms of a wildlife citation issued in one participating state to a resident of another participating state;

(7) Maximize the effective use of law-enforcement personnel and information; and

(8) Assist court systems in the efficient disposition of wildlife violations.

(c) The purpose of this compact is to:

(1) Provide a means through which participating states may join in a reciprocal program to effectuate the policies enumerated in subsection (b) of this article in a uniform and orderly manner; and

(2) Provide for the fair and impartial treatment of wildlife violators operating within participating states in recognition of the violator's right to due process and the sovereign status of a participating state.

ARTICLE II

Definitions

As used in this compact, unless the context requires otherwise, the following words have the meanings indicated:

(a) "Citation" means any summons, complaint, summons and complaint, ticket, penalty assessment, or other official document issued to a person by a wildlife officer or other law-enforcement officer for a wildlife violation that contains an order requiring the person to respond.

(b) "Collateral" means any cash or other security deposited to secure an appearance for trial in connection with the issuance by a wildlife officer or other law-enforcement officer of a citation for a wildlife violation.

(c) "Compliance" with respect to a citation means the act of answering a citation through an appearance in a court or tribunal, or through the payment of fines, costs, and surcharges, if any.

(d) "Conviction" means a conviction that results in suspension or revocation of a license, including any court conviction, for an offense related to the preservation, protection, management, or restoration of wildlife that is prohibited by state statute, law, regulation, rule, or ordinance. The term also includes the forfeiture of any bail, bond, or other security deposited to secure the appearance of a person charged with having committed the offense, the payment of a penalty assessment, a plea of nolo contendere, or the imposition of a deferred or suspended sentence by the court.

(e) "Court" means a court of law, including magistrate's court and the justice of the peace court.

(f) "Home state" means the state of primary residence of a person.

(g) "Issuing state" means the participating state that issues a wildlife citation to the violator.

(h) "License" means a license, permit, or other public document that conveys to the person to whom it was issued the privilege of pursuing, possessing, or taking any wildlife regulated by statute, law, regulation, rule, or ordinance of a participating state.

(i) "Licensing authority" means the governmental unit in each participating state that is authorized by law to issue or approve licenses or permits to hunt, fish, trap, or possess wildlife.

(j) "Participating state" means a state that enacts legislation to become a member of this Wildlife Violator Compact.

(k) "Personal recognizance" means an agreement by a person made at the time of issuance of the wildlife citation that such person will comply with the terms of the citation.

(l) "State" means any state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the provinces of Canada, and other countries.

(m) "Suspension" means any revocation, denial, or withdrawal of any or all license privileges, including the privilege to apply for, purchase, or exercise the benefits conferred by a license.

(n) "Terms of the citation" means the conditions and options expressly stated upon the citation.

(o) "Wildlife" means all species of animals including, but not limited to, mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks, and crustaceans, that are defined as "wildlife" and are protected or otherwise regulated by statute, law, rule, regulation, or ordinance in a participating state. Species included in the definition of "wildlife" vary from state to state and the determination of whether a species is "wildlife" for the purposes of this Compact shall be based on the law of the issuing state.

(p) "Wildlife law" means a statute, law, regulation, rule, or ordinance developed and enacted for the management of wildlife resources and the uses thereof.

(q) "Wildlife officer" means any individual authorized by a participating state to issue a citation for a wildlife violation.

(r) "Wildlife violation" means any cited violation of a statute, law, regulation, rule, or ordinance developed and enacted for the management of wildlife resources and the uses thereof.

ARTICLE III

Procedures for Issuing State

(a) When issuing a citation for a wildlife violation, a wildlife officer shall issue a citation to any person whose primary residence is in a participating state in the same manner as though the person were a resident of the issuing state and shall not require such person to post collateral to secure appearance, subject to the exceptions noted in subsection (b) of this article, if the officer receives the recognizance of such person that he will comply with the terms of the citation.

(b) Personal recognizance is acceptable if not prohibited by local law; by policy, procedure, or regulation of the issuing agency; or by the compact manual and if the violator provides adequate proof of identification to the wildlife officer.

(c) Upon conviction or failure of a person to comply with the terms of a wildlife citation, the appropriate official shall report the conviction or failure to comply to the licensing authority of the participating state in which the wildlife citation was issued. The report shall be made in accordance with procedures specified by the issuing state and must contain information as specified in the compact manual as minimum requirements for effective processing by the home state.

(d) Upon receiving the report of conviction or noncompliance pursuant to subsection (c) of this article, the licensing authority of the issuing state shall transmit to the licensing authority of the home state of the violator the information in the form and content prescribed in the compact manual.

ARTICLE IV

Procedure for Home State

(a) Upon receipt of a report from the licensing authority of the issuing state reporting the failure of a violator to comply with the terms of a citation, the licensing authority of the home state shall notify the violator and shall initiate a suspension action in accordance with the home state's suspension procedures and shall suspend the violator's license privileges until satisfactory evidence of compliance with the terms of the wildlife citation has been furnished by the issuing state to the home state licensing authority. Due process safeguards shall be accorded to the violator.

(b) Upon receipt of a report of conviction from the licensing authority of the issuing state, the licensing authority of the home state shall enter such conviction in its records and shall treat such conviction as though the conviction had occurred in the home state for the purposes of the suspension of license privileges.

(c) The licensing authority of the home state shall maintain a record of actions taken and shall make reports to issuing states as provided in the compact manual.

ARTICLE V

Reciprocal Recognition of Suspension

(a) All participating states shall recognize the suspension of license privileges of a person by a participating state as though the violation resulting in the suspension had occurred in their state and could have been the basis for suspension of license privileges in their state.

(b) Each participating state shall communicate suspension information to other participating states in a form and content prescribed in the compact manual.

ARTICLE VI

Applicability of Other Laws

Except as expressly required by provisions of this compact, nothing in this compact may be construed to affect the right of a participating state to apply any of its laws relating to license privileges to any person or circumstance or to invalidate or prevent any agreement or other cooperative arrangement between a participating state and a nonparticipating state concerning the enforcement of wildlife laws.

ARTICLE VII

Compact Administrator Procedures

(a) For the purpose of administering the provisions of this compact and to serve as a governing body for the resolution of all matters relating to the operation of this compact, a Board of Compact Administrators is established. The board shall be composed of one representative from each of the participating states to be known as the compact administrator. The compact administrator shall be appointed by the head of the licensing authority of each participating state and shall serve and be subject to removal in accordance with the laws of the state he or she represents. A compact administrator may provide for an alternate for the discharge of his or her duties and the performance of his or her functions as a board member. An alternate is not entitled to serve unless written notification of the alternate's identity has been given to the board.

(b) Each member of the Board of Compact Administrators shall be entitled to one vote. No action of the board shall be binding unless taken at a meeting at which a majority of the total number of the board's votes are cast in favor thereof. Action by the board shall be only at a meeting at which a majority of the participating states are represented.

(c) The board shall elect annually from its membership a chairman and vice chairman.

(d) The board shall adopt bylaws not inconsistent with the provisions of this compact or the laws of a participating state for the conduct of its business and shall have the power to amend and rescind its bylaws.

(e) The board may accept for any of its purposes and functions under this compact any and all donations and grants of moneys, equipment, supplies, materials, and services, conditional or otherwise, from any state, the United States, or any governmental unit, and may receive, utilize, and dispose of those grants and donations.

(f) The board may contract with, or accept services or personnel from, any governmental or intergovernmental unit, individual, firm, or corporation, or any private nonprofit organization or institution.

(g) The board shall formulate all necessary procedures and develop uniform forms and documents for administering the provisions of this compact. All procedures and forms adopted pursuant to board action shall be contained in a compact manual.

ARTICLE VIII

Entry into Compact and Withdrawal

(a) This compact shall become effective at such time as it is adopted in substantially similar form by two or more states.

(b) Entry into the compact shall be made by resolution of ratification executed by the authorized officials of the applying state and submitted to the chairman of the board. The resolution shall substantially be in the form and content as provided in the compact manual and shall include the following:

(1) A citation of the authority from which the state is empowered to become a party to this compact;

(2) An agreement of compliance with the terms and provisions of this compact; and

(3) An agreement that compact entry is with all states participating in the compact and with all additional states legally becoming a party to the compact.

(c) The effective date of entry shall be specified by the applying state, but may not be less than 60 days after notice has been given by the chairman of the Board of Compact Administrators or by the secretariat of the board to each participating state that the resolution from the applying state has been received.

(d) A participating state may withdraw from this compact by official written notice to each participating state, but withdrawal shall not become effective until 90 days after the notice of withdrawal is given. The notice shall be directed to the compact administrator of each member state. The withdrawal of any state does not affect the validity of this compact as to the remaining participating states.

ARTICLE IX

Amendments to the Compact

(a) This Compact may be amended from time to time. Amendments shall be presented in resolution form to the chairman of the Board of Compact Administrators and shall be initiated by one or more participating states.

(b) Adoption of an amendment shall require endorsement by all participating states and shall become effective 30 days after the date of the last endorsement.

(c) Failure of a participating state to respond to the compact chairman within 120 days after receipt of a proposed amendment shall constitute endorsement of the proposed amendment.

ARTICLE X

Construction and Severability

This compact shall be liberally construed so as to effectuate the purposes stated herein. The provisions of this compact shall be severable and if any phrase, clause, sentence, or provision of this compact is declared to be contrary to the constitution of a participating state or of the United States, or if the applicability thereof to any government, unit, individual, or circumstance is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of this compact shall not be affected thereby. If this compact is held contrary to the constitution of a participating state, the compact shall remain in full force and effect as to the remaining states and in full force and effect as to the participating state affected as to all severable matters.

ARTICLE XI

Title

This compact shall be known as the "Wildlife Violator Compact."

2009, c. 648.

Article 3. Fishing Laws.

§ 29.1-531. Unlawful to take or attempt to take, possess, sell or transport fish except as permitted.

A. Unless otherwise provided by a regulation of the Board, it shall be unlawful for any person to take or attempt to take any fish in inland waters other than shad, herring or mullet, except by fishing with a hook and line or rod and reel, held in the hand.

B. It shall be unlawful to catch, trap, take, capture, kill, or attempt to take, capture or kill, possess, deliver for transportation, transport, cause to be transported, receive for transport, export, or import at any time or in any manner any species of game fish, or the carcass or any part thereof, except as specifically permitted by law and only by the means and within the numbers stated.

C. In Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward, Charlotte, Campbell, Halifax, Amelia (except between Vaughn's Pond and Meadsville Dam), Caroline and King George Counties, in the City of Danville, and in the Meherrin River in Lunenburg County, it shall be lawful to fish with fish traps, fish pots or haul seines in any streams and waters, provided that no person shall catch fish with fish traps or fish pots or haul seines for commercial purposes. However, it shall be unlawful in such localities to remove from the waters thereof any game fish caught with fish pots, fish traps or haul seines, and any person doing so shall immediately return them to the waters. The Board shall have the authority to close any streams or rivers or parts of streams or rivers in such localities when the waters are stocked with fish by the Department.

D. It shall be lawful to sell or offer to sell trout which have been lawfully acquired, provided such trout have been propagated and raised in a hatchery or by other artificial means. The Board shall by appropriate regulation establish a practical system of identification of trout so offered for sale for table or other uses as directed by the Board.

E. It shall be unlawful to offer for sale, sell, offer to purchase, or purchase at any time or in any manner any species of game fish, or the carcass or any part thereof, except as specifically permitted by law and only by the means and within the numbers stated. A violation of the provisions of this subsection shall be punishable as provided in § 29.1-553.

F. A violation of the provisions of subsections A through D shall constitute a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-148; 1956, c. 490; 1958, c. 514; 1960, c. 126; 1962, c. 469; 1966, c. 413; 1987, c. 488; 1994, cc. 413, 848; 2000, cc. 403, 447.

§ 29.1-532. Dams and fishways.

Any dam or other object in a watercourse, which obstructs navigation or the passage of fish, shall be deemed a nuisance, unless it is used to work a mill, factory or other machine or engine useful to the public, and is allowed by law or order of court. Any person owning or having control of any dam or other obstruction in the streams of the Commonwealth which may interfere with the free passage of anadromous and other migratory fish, shall provide every such dam or other obstruction with a suitable fishway unless the Board considers it unnecessary. The purpose of such a fishway is for anadromous and other migratory fish to have free passage up and down the streams during March, April, May and June, and down the streams throughout the remaining months. "Suitable fishway" means a fishway which passes significant numbers of the target fishes, as determined by the Board.

Owners of such dams or other authorized obstructions shall maintain and keep fishways operational, in good repair, and restore them in case of destruction.

Owners of dams or other obstructions which are not authorized by law must have the obstacles removed at their expense when the Board determines that the obstacles interfere with the free passage of anadromous and other migratory fish within the streams of the Commonwealth.

The circuit court of the county or city in which the dam is situated, after reasonable notice to the parties or party interested and upon satisfactory proof of the failure to comply, may order any necessary construction or destruction to be initiated or put in good repair at the expense of the owner of the dam or other obstruction. All such construction or destruction must be initiated within one year of the court order and completed within three years of the court order.

Any person failing to comply with this section shall pay as a penalty a percentage of the estimated cost of construction or destruction equal to the percentage specified on the judgment rate of interest pursuant to § 6.2-302, and the Board shall provide construction or destruction cost estimates.

Penalties collected pursuant to this section shall be directed to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

This section shall not apply to the Meherrin River within the Counties of Brunswick and Greensville, nor to the Meherrin River within or between the Counties of Lunenburg and Mecklenburg, nor to the Nottoway River between the Counties of Lunenburg and Nottoway, nor to Abram's Creek in Shawnee district, Frederick County, nor to the James River between the City of Lynchburg and the County of Amherst, nor to the James River within the City of Richmond and between the City of Richmond and Henrico County, except that the exemption for those dams west of Virginia Route 161 which are located on the James River within the City of Richmond and between the City of Richmond and Henrico County shall expire on January 1, 1990, nor any streams within the Counties of Augusta, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Louisa, Buckingham, Halifax, Montgomery, Pulaski, Franklin, Russell, Tazewell, Giles, Bland, Craig, Wythe, Carroll and Grayson, nor to that part of any stream that forms a part of the boundary of Halifax and Franklin Counties. Furthermore, no fish ladders shall be required on dams twenty feet or more in height. The City of Richmond shall continue to work with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries toward implementing and funding a plan for breaching dams to provide fishways for the passage of anadromous and other migratory fish.

Code 1950, § 29-151; 1950, p. 891; 1958, c. 607; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 487.

§ 29.1-533. Prohibition against use of substances injurious to fish.

It shall be unlawful to use any explosive for the destruction of fish, or knowingly cast any noxious substance or matter into any watercourse of the Commonwealth where fish or fish spawn may be destroyed, or to place or to allow to pass into the watercourses of the Commonwealth any sawdust, ashes, lime, gas, tar, or refuse of gas works, injurious to fish. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor, except that any person convicted of destroying fish by means of explosives shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The owner or lessee of any property on which fish are destroyed by means of explosives shall be entitled to recover liquidated damages in an amount deemed appropriate by the court from any person convicted of destroying fish by such means.

Code 1950, § 29-153; 1956, c. 709; 1962, c. 469; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 158.

§ 29.1-534. Right to fish in interjurisdictional inland waters.

A Virginia resident or a resident of an adjoining jurisdiction which has inland water lying adjacent to Virginia land or water may take fish with hook and line after complying with the requirements of the laws of the jurisdiction where the fishing occurs. For purposes of this section and § 29.1-535, the term "jurisdiction" shall include the District of Columbia.

1952, c. 484, § 29-153.1; 1964, c. 74; 1970, c. 194; 1987, c. 488; 1991, c. 200; 2011, cc. 93, 179.

§ 29.1-535. Reciprocal agreement as to fishing in such waters.

The Board shall have the necessary authority to enter into a reciprocal agreement with an adjoining jurisdiction having inland waters lying adjacent to Virginia land or water relating to the following:

1. A sport fishing license acquired in an adjoining jurisdiction shall be recognized when it is used by the person whose name appears on the face of such license, when such licensee is fishing in that portion of inland waters lying in either Virginia or the other jurisdiction or partly in each of the jurisdictions. Such recognition shall be contingent upon a reciprocal recognition by the adjoining jurisdiction to a licensee of Virginia who is fishing in the same waters.

2. Creel limits, open seasons for fishing and all other laws and regulations of the jurisdiction entering into the agreement shall be strictly observed, and any person failing to comply with the regulations set up under the agreement shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor and punished accordingly.

1952, c. 484, § 29-153.2; 1964, c. 74; 1970, c. 194; 1980, c. 28; 1987, c. 488; 1991, c. 200.

Article 4. Possession, Transportation, and Sale of Game and Fish.

§ 29.1-536. Sale.

When taken in accordance with the provisions of law or regulation, muskrat, opossum, rabbits, raccoon and squirrels may be bought and sold during the open hunting season only, but the hides, furs or pelts of fur-bearing animals legally taken and possessed, and the carcass of any fur-bearing animal may be sold at any time in accordance with §§ 29.1-400 through 29.1-407.

Code 1950, § 29-154; 1977, c. 377; 1980, c. 494; 1987, c. 488; 1994, c. 436; 1999, c. 204.

§ 29.1-537. Possession.

When taken in accordance with the provisions of this title, each species of wild bird, wild animal or fish may be possessed at any time.

Code 1950, § 29-155; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-538. Reserved.

Reserved.

§ 29.1-539. Keeping deer or bear struck by motor vehicle; procedure to be followed by driver.

Any person driving a motor vehicle who collides with a deer or bear may, upon compliance with the provisions of this section, keep the deer or bear for his own use as if the animal had been killed by that person during hunting season for the animal.

Any person so killing any deer or bear shall immediately report the accident to the conservation police officer or other law-enforcement officer of the county or city where the accident occurred. The conservation police officer or other law-enforcement officer shall view the deer or bear and if he believes that the deer or bear was killed by the collision with the motor vehicle or injured to such an extent as to require its death, he shall award the animal to the person claiming the deer or bear, and shall give the person a certificate to that effect on forms furnished by the Department.

1950, pp. 441, 442, §§ 29-155.2 to 29-155.4; 1980, c. 271; 1987, c. 488; 2007, c. 87.

§ 29.1-540. Carriage and shipment.

When taken in accordance with the provisions of this title, wild birds, wild animals or fish may be transported as follows:

1. By any person properly licensed, for lawful use in or out of the county or city where taken to another county or city in the Commonwealth or to another state during the open season in the county or city where taken.

2. By any properly licensed person via freight, express, parcel post or airplane mail, as a gift and not for market or sale, and so stating on the shipping tag. The wild bird, wild animal or fish may be transported in or out of the county or city where taken to another county or city in this Commonwealth, or to another state, during the open season in the county or city where taken. Any package in which birds, animals or fish are transported shall have the name and address of the shipper and consignee and a statement of the numbers and kinds of birds, animals or fish being transported clearly and conspicuously marked on the outside of the container.

Any such birds, animals or fish in transit during the open season may continue in transit, not to exceed five days, in order to reach their destination.

For the purposes of this section the terms "wild birds," "wild animals" and "fish" shall mean all or any part of the carcasses of any such birds, animals or fish.

Code 1950, § 29-156; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-541. Storage.

It shall be unlawful for any person to store any wild birds, wild animals or fish if selling them is prohibited by law, except persons may store them in a bona fide domicile or in a licensed cold storage establishment. Any licensed cold storage establishment which receives any wild birds, wild animals or fish, where selling them is prohibited by law, shall attach a ticket to each lot of wild birds, wild animals or fish. The ticket shall show the number of each kind of wild bird, wild animal or fish, the date upon which they are brought for storage and the name and address of the person storing them. Every such licensed cold storage establishment shall keep a record of all deliveries of game and fish so stored, the dates they are delivered, the number of each species delivered and the name of each person to whom any such delivery is made. Possession of any wild birds, wild animals or fish which are prohibited by law to be sold, in any place of business, except in a licensed cold storage establishment, shall be unlawful.

Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

For the purposes of this section the terms "wild birds," "wild animals" and "fish" shall mean all or any part of the carcasses of any such birds, animals or fish.

Code 1950, § 29-157; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-542. Importation.

Live wolves or coyotes, or birds and animals otherwise classed as predatory or undesirable, may not be imported into the Commonwealth or liberated therein, or possessed therein, except under a special permit of the Board. Nonpredatory birds, animals or fish may be imported, but upon arrival in the Commonwealth, shall be subject to the laws governing the possession of such birds, animals and fish in Virginia. Any person may bring into the Commonwealth, either in his personal possession or as his baggage, on the same conveyance with him and plainly labeled or tagged with his name and address, game and fish legally taken in another state or foreign country, but in no greater quantity than he could legally possess while in such other state or foreign country. Nothing in this section shall be construed as applying to birds, animals and fish being transported in unbroken packages from beyond the confines of Virginia through the Commonwealth to another state.

Code 1950, § 29-158; 1977, c. 377; 1982, c. 73; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-543. Game and fish taken and packaged outside the Commonwealth.

It shall be lawful to possess, store, transport, offer for sale, sell, offer to purchase, purchase and otherwise deal in any wild animal, bird, fish or any part thereof, which has been taken and packaged in a can, tin, pot or other receptacle outside the Commonwealth by any person, company or corporation duly licensed by the state in which such cannery or processing plant is located and recognized by the Board. Such packages may be transported into the Commonwealth, so long as the original package remains unbroken, unopened and intact.

1958, c. 153, § 29-158.1; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-543.1. Introduction, stocking, and release of blue catfish; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person to introduce into or stock in waters of the Commonwealth, including private ponds or lakes, the blue catfish or its hybrids or to release any blue catfish or any such hybrid into any water body other than that in which it was caught.

B. Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

2015, c. 470.

§ 29.1-544. Dressing, packing and selling bobwhite quail.

A. It shall be lawful for the licensee of a shooting preserve or his designated agents to dress, pack and sell bobwhite quail raised by him for use as food, under rules or regulations to be prescribed by the Board.

B. It shall be lawful to sell mounted bobwhite quail in the Commonwealth that have been legally raised captively and mounted outside of the Commonwealth.

1960, c. 131, § 29-158.2; 1987, c. 488; 1998, c. 179.

§ 29.1-545. Possession, sale, offering for sale or liberation of live nutria.

It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, association or corporation to possess, sell, offer for sale, or liberate in the Commonwealth any live fur-bearing animal commonly referred to as nutria.

1962, c. 106, § 29-158.3; 1987, c. 488.

Article 5. Penalties in General.

§ 29.1-546. General penalty.

Any person convicted of violating any of the provisions of this title shall, unless otherwise specified, be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-161; 1954, c. 694; 1962, c. 469; 1979, c. 264; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-547. Trapping, selling, purchasing, etc., migratory game birds.

Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 29.1-546 and 29.1-553, any person convicted of trapping or attempting to trap any migratory game bird, as defined in § 29.1-100, or convicted of possessing any such migratory game bird taken by means of a trap, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any person convicted of offering for sale, selling, offering to purchase, or purchasing any migratory game bird shall be subject to penalties as provided in § 29.1-553.

1960, c. 173, § 29-161.1; 1987, c. 488; 1994, c. 848.

§ 29.1-548. Killing deer illegally.

Any person killing a deer in violation of Board regulations, or who exceeds the bag limit for deer, or who kills a deer during the closed season shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, any person who kills a deer illegally during the open season shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor if such person immediately delivers the complete carcass in good condition to the conservation police officer of the county or city in which it was killed. At that time it shall be confiscated and disposed of by the conservation police officer or as otherwise provided. Any such person delivering such carcass to the conservation police officer shall be exempt from replacement cost as provided in § 29.1-551.

Code 1950, § 29-162; 1956, c. 466; 1958, c. 444; 1962, c. 469; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 19; 2007, c. 87.

§ 29.1-549. Hunting deer from watercraft.

A. Any person who kills or attempts to kill any deer while the person is in a boat or other type watercraft shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

B. Every boat or other watercraft and their motors, and any firearm, slingbow, arrowgun, crossbow, bow and arrow, or speargun, used with the knowledge or consent of the owner or lienholder thereof in killing or attempting to kill deer in violation of this section shall be forfeited to the Commonwealth, and upon being condemned as forfeited in proceedings under Chapter 22.1 (§ 19.2-386.1 et seq.) of Title 19.2 the proceeds of sale shall be disposed of according to law.

1973, c. 120, §§ 29-162.1, 29-162.2; 1987, c. 488; 2002, c. 157; 2012, cc. 283, 756; 2017, c. 530; 2018, cc. 557, 558.

§ 29.1-550. Taking game or fish during closed season or exceeding bag limit.

It shall be unlawful for any person to (i) take, or attempt to take, any wild bird, wild animal or fish during the closed season, (ii) exceed the bag or creel limit for any wild bird, wild animal or fish, or (iii) possess over the daily bag or creel limit for any wild bird, wild animals or fish while in the forests, fields or waters of the Commonwealth. Any person convicted of violating any provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 29-163; 1950, p. 936; 1952, c. 78; 1958, c. 444; 1962, c. 469; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 19.

§ 29.1-551. Assessment of value of game or fish unlawfully taken.

The judge or court, upon convicting any person of a violation of §§ 29.1-523, 29.1-525.1, 29.1-530.2, 29.1-548, 29.1-550 or § 29.1-552 shall, in addition to imposition of the punishment prescribed in those sections, ascertain the approximate replacement value of animals, birds or fish taken in violation of those sections and shall assess the value against the person convicted. The assessment shall be paid by the person so convicted within the time prescribed in the judgment of the judge or court, not exceeding sixty days, and the collecting officer shall forward such payments to the Board for payment into the state treasury. The Comptroller shall credit such payments to the game protection fund.

Code 1950, § 29-163.2; 1950, p. 936; 1952, c. 78; 1962, c. 469; 1976, c. 660; 1987, c. 488; 1994, c. 412; 2001, c. 856.

§ 29.1-552. Killing wild turkey during closed season.

Any person who kills a wild turkey during the closed season, or who kills a beardless turkey during an open hunting season prescribed by the Board for bearded turkeys only, shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor for each such turkey killed. However, if a person kills a beardless turkey when only the hunting of bearded turkeys is permitted, and immediately delivers the complete carcass in good condition to a conservation police officer or game checking station authorized by the Board, it shall be confiscated and disposed of as otherwise provided, and the person delivering the carcass shall be exempt from replacement cost provided in § 29.1-551.

1968, c. 309, § 29-163.2; 1974, c. 60; 1977, c. 377; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 19; 2007, c. 87.

§ 29.1-553. Selling or offering for sale; penalty.

A. Any person who offers for sale, sells, offers to purchase, or purchases any wild bird or wild animal, or any part thereof, or any freshwater fish, except as provided by law, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, when the aggregate of such sales or purchases, or any combination thereof, by any person totals $500 or more during any 90-day period, that person shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

B. Whether or not criminal charges have been placed, when any property is taken possession of by a conservation police officer for the purpose of being used as evidence of a violation of this section or for confiscation, the conservation police officer making such seizure shall immediately report the seizure to the Attorney for the Commonwealth.

C. In any prosecution for a violation of this section, photographs of the wild bird, wild animal, or any freshwater fish, or any part thereof shall be deemed competent evidence of such wild bird, wild animal, or freshwater fish, or part thereof and shall be admissible in any proceeding, hearing, or trial of the case to the same extent as if such wild bird, wild animal, or any freshwater fish, or part thereof had been introduced as evidence. Such photographs shall bear a written description of the wild bird, wild animal, or freshwater fish, or parts thereof, the name of the place where the alleged offense occurred, the date on which the alleged offense occurred, the name of the accused, the name of the arresting officer or investigating officer, the date of the photograph, and the name of the photographer. The photographs shall be identified by the signature of the photographer.

D. Any licensed Virginia auctioneer or licensed auction firm that sells, as a legitimate item of an auction sale, wildlife mounts that have undergone the taxidermy process, shall be exempt from the provisions of this section and subdivision A 11 of § 29.1-521.

Code 1950, § 29-164; 1962, c. 469; 1986, c. 182; 1987, c. 488; 1989, c. 203; 1994, c. 848; 1997, c. 172; 2005, c. 170; 2007, c. 87; 2018, cc. 764, 765.

§ 29.1-554. Violation of sanctuaries, refuges, preserves and water used for propagation.

It shall be unlawful for any person, including a property owner, to commit the following acts, the violation of which shall constitute a Class 3 misdemeanor:

1. To violate any regulation of the Board concerning refuges, sanctuaries and public shooting or fishing preserves in impounded waters or in forest and watershed areas owned by the United States government;

2. To damage the boundary enclosure of or enter a game refuge owned, leased or operated by the Board for the purpose of molesting any bird or animal, or permit his dog or livestock to go thereon;

3. To fish or trespass with intent to fish upon any waters or lands being utilized for fish propagation, or damage or destroy any pond, pool, flume, dam, pipeline, property or appliance belonging to or being utilized by the Board; or

4. To interfere with, obstruct, pollute, or diminish the natural flow of water into or through a fish hatchery.

Code 1950, § 29-171; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-554.1. Impeding lawful fishing in inland waters; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person to willfully and intentionally impede the lawful fishing of any species of fish. "Fishing" means those activities defined in § 29.1-100 as "fishing."

B. Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1997, c. 703.

§ 29.1-555. Reserved.

Reserved.

§ 29.1-556. Unlawful devices to be destroyed.

Any firearm, trap, net, or other device of any kind or nature for taking wild birds, wild animals, or fish, except as specifically permitted by law, shall be considered unlawful. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor, and the device shall be forfeited to the Commonwealth. Nets, traps or other such devices, excluding firearms, shall be destroyed by the conservation police officer if the owner or user of the device cannot be located within thirty days. Unlawful fixed devices may be destroyed by the conservation police officer at the place where the devices are found.

Code 1950, § 29-172; 1962, c. 469; 1979, c. 264; 1987, c. 488; 2007, c. 87.

§ 29.1-556.1. Release of certain balloons prohibited; civil penalty.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly release or cause to be released into the atmosphere within a one-hour period fifty or more balloons which are (i) made of a nonbiodegradable or nonphotodegradable material or any material which requires more than five minutes' contact with air or water to degrade and (ii) inflated with a substance which is lighter than air. Any person who violates this section shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed five dollars per balloon released above the allowable limit, which shall be paid into the Lifetime Hunting and Fishing Endowment Fund established pursuant to § 29.1-101.1.

B. The provisions of this section shall not apply to (i) balloons released by or on behalf of any agency of the Commonwealth, or the United States or pursuant to a contract with the Commonwealth, the United States, or any other state, territory or government for scientific or meteorological purposes or (ii) hot air balloons that are recovered after launch.

1991, c. 607.

§ 29.1-557. Confiscation of wild birds and animals under certain circumstances; disposition.

Wild birds, wild animals and fish are the property of the Commonwealth and may be reduced to personal possession only in accordance with law. Any wild bird, wild animal or fish which is illegally taken, possessed, sold, purchased, transported or imported shall be forfeited to the Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 29-173; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-558. Reserved.

Reserved.

§ 29.1-561. Self-incrimination.

No person shall be excused from testifying for the Commonwealth as to any offense committed by another under the provisions of the game, inland fish and boating laws by reason of his testimony tending to incriminate himself, but the testimony given by any such person on behalf of the Commonwealth when called as witness for the prosecution shall in no case be used against him, nor shall he be prosecuted as to the offense to which he has testified.

Code 1950, § 29-181; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-562. Reserved.

Reserved.

Article 6. Endangered Species.

§ 29.1-563. Definitions.

For the purposes of this article:

"Conservation plan" means a document developed by the Department and approved by the Director that describes the Department's approach to managing and, if possible, recovering an endangered or threatened species of fish or wildlife.

"Endangered species" means any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

"Experimental population" means any population of an endangered or threatened species of fish or wildlife, excluding those species appearing on the federal list specified in § 29.1-564, that is (i) established through deliberate introduction by humans; (ii) designated by regulation of the Board; and (iii) explicitly delineated in a conservation plan.

"Fish or wildlife" means any member of the animal kingdom, vertebrate or invertebrate, except for the class Insecta, and includes any part, products, egg, or the dead body or parts thereof.

"Incidental take" means any taking of an endangered or threatened species of fish or wildlife, excluding those species appearing on the federal list specified in § 29.1-564, that otherwise would be prohibited by this article or by regulation, if such taking is incidental to but not the purpose of an otherwise lawful activity allowed in accordance with regulations adopted pursuant to § 29.1-568.

"Person" means any individual, firm, corporation, association or partnership.

"Threatened species" means any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

1972, c. 329, § 29-231; 1977, c. 377; 1987, c. 488; 1990, c. 369; 2011, c. 47.

§ 29.1-564. Taking, transportation, sale, etc., of endangered species prohibited.

The taking, transportation, possession, sale, or offer for sale within the Commonwealth of any fish or wildlife appearing on any list of threatened or endangered species published by the United States Secretary of the Interior pursuant to the provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-205), or any modifications or amendments thereto, is prohibited except as provided in § 29.1-568.

1972, c. 329, § 29-232; 1977, c. 377; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-565. Reserved.

Reserved.

§ 29.1-566. Regulations.

The Board is authorized to adopt the federal list, as well as modifications and amendments thereto by regulations; to declare by regulation, after consideration of recommendations from the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation and from other reliable data sources, that species not appearing on the federal lists are endangered or threatened species in Virginia; and to prohibit by regulation the taking, transportation, processing, sale, or offer for sale within the Commonwealth of any threatened or endangered species of fish or wildlife.

1972, c. 329, §§ 29-233, 29-234; 1977, c. 377; 1987, c. 488; 1989, c. 553.

§ 29.1-567. Penalties; authority of conservation police officers and police officers; disposition of property seized.

A. Any person who violates the provisions of § 29.1-564 or § 29.1-566, or any regulations issued pursuant to these sections, or whoever violates any regulation or permit issued under § 29.1-568 shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor; however, the sale, offering for sale, purchasing or offering to purchase within the Commonwealth of any fish or wildlife appearing on a list of threatened or endangered species as prohibited by § 29.1-564 shall be punishable as provided in § 29.1-553.

B. Any judicial officer or other officer authorized to issue criminal warrants shall have authority to issue a warrant for the search and seizure of any goods, business records, merchandise or fish or wildlife taken, employed or used in connection with a violation of any provision of this article. All such search warrants shall be issued and executed pursuant to Chapter 5 (§ 19.2-52 et seq.) of Title 19.2.

C. Goods, merchandise, fish or wildlife or records seized under the provisions of subsection B of this section shall be held by an officer or agent of the Department at the direction of the judge or court pending disposition of court proceedings, and thereafter be forfeited to the Commonwealth for destruction or disposition as the Director may deem appropriate. However, prior to forfeiture, the Director may direct the transfer of fish or wildlife so seized to a qualified zoological, educational, or scientific institution for safekeeping, with costs assessable to the defendant. The Board is authorized to issue regulations to implement this section.

1972, c. 329, § 29-235; 1987, c. 488; 1990, c. 123; 1994, c. 848.

§ 29.1-568. When Board may permit taking of endangered or threatened species; designated experimental populations.

A. The Board may permit the taking, exportation, transportation, or possession of any fish or wildlife which is listed by the provisions of this article, for zoological, educational, or scientific purposes and for propagation of such fish or wildlife in captivity for preservation purposes. Any person may, in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws, possess, breed, sell, and transport any nonnative wildlife included on any list of threatened or endangered species published by the United States Secretary of the Interior pursuant to provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-205), as amended, when (i) the federal designation does not specifically prohibit such possession, breeding, selling, or transporting and (ii) the nonnative wildlife is not included on the list of predatory or undesirable animals specified by regulations of the Board adopted pursuant to § 29.1-542.

B. The Board may adopt regulations that:

1. Allow the taking, possession, exportation, transportation, or release of fish or wildlife within or among designated experimental populations of a specific species, within the context of an approved conservation plan for the species. Any regulation designating an experimental population shall (i) specify the circumstances under which taking of an individual member of an experimental population will be exempt from the prohibitions and penalties authorized under this article and (ii) describe the geographic extent of the experimental population, which shall be distinct from naturally occurring populations continuing to be subject to the prohibitions and penalties authorized under this article.

2. Allow incidental take provided such regulations shall (i) describe the allowable circumstances; (ii) include provisions that ensure offsets through the implementation of conservation actions specified by the Department to enhance the long-term survival of the species or population; and (iii) require any actual taking to be at a minimum.

1972, c. 329, § 29-236; 1987, c. 488; 2011, c. 47; 2014, c. 481.

§ 29.1-569. Keeping of reptiles generally; penalty.

It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of any exotic reptile or type of reptile not native to the Commonwealth of Virginia, including but not limited to the American alligator, to keep the reptile in any manner that will permit its escape or to knowingly permit the reptile to run at large. Any violation of this section shall constitute a Class 2 misdemeanor.

1980, c. 202, § 29-213.35; 1987, c. 488; 1999, c. 85.

§ 29.1-570. Cooperation of state agencies.

All departments, commissions, boards, authorities, agencies, offices and institutions within any branch of the state government shall cooperate with the Board in carrying out the purposes of this article.

1978, c. 835, § 29-248; 1987, c. 488.

Article 7. Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Species Act.

§ 29.1-571. Definition.

"Nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species" means a nonindigenous aquatic freshwater animal species whose presence in state waters poses or is likely to pose a significant threat of harm to (i) the diversity or abundance of any species indigenous to state waters; (ii) the ecological stability of state waters; or (iii) the commercial, industrial, agricultural, municipal, recreational, aquacultural, or other beneficial uses of state waters. Nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species shall include the zebra mussel, quagga mussel, and all species of snakehead fishes of the family Channidae.

2003, c. 446.

§ 29.1-572. Authority of Board; regulations.

The Board may promulgate regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of this article including, but not limited to, the designation of other nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species.

2003, c. 446.

§ 29.1-573. Department; powers.

A. The Department may conduct operations and measures to suppress, control, eradicate, prevent, or retard the spread of any nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species. The maximum effort shall be made to utilize the best available scientific technology that is specific to the targeted nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species, environmentally sound, practical, and cost effective.

B. Such operations and measures shall be conducted subject to the appropriation of general funds authorized for the purpose of suppressing, controlling, eradicating, preventing, or retarding the spread of any nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species, or the receipt of funds designated for this purpose from private entities, local governments, political subdivisions, or federal grants. If such funds are not available to carry out the purposes of this chapter, then the Secretary of Natural Resources shall seek and accept all possible funds from other sources, including federal, state, local, and private grants, loans, and donations.

C. In carrying out its powers, the Department may cooperate with any federal agencies, any agency of an adjacent state, any other state agencies, local governments, political subdivisions, and authorities within the Commonwealth. Other state agencies shall cooperate and provide assistance as requested by the Director in carrying out the purposes of this article.

2003, c. 446; 2004, c. 467.

§ 29.1-574. Prohibitions.

A. No person shall knowingly import, possess, transport, sell, purchase, give, receive, or introduce into the Commonwealth any member of a species designated as a nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species without a permit from the Director issued pursuant to § 29.1-575.

B. Subsection A shall not apply to any person who (i) lawfully catches a snakehead fish of the family Channidae, (ii) subsequently kills such fish, and (iii) notifies the Department, as soon as practicable, of his actions.

C. Subsection A shall not apply to any Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan (21 C.F.R. 120 et seq.) certified restaurant or retail market that purchases from an HACCP certified dealer or sells processed snakehead fish of the family Channidae.

2003, c. 446; 2005, c. 916; 2018, c. 559.

§ 29.1-575. Permits.

The Director shall permit the importation, possession, purchase, receipt, or transportation of a nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species for purposes of research by recognized academic institutions or government agencies upon receiving satisfactory assurance that adequate safeguards will be maintained to prevent the escape or introduction of any such species into the Commonwealth.

2003, c. 446.

§ 29.1-576. Authority for inspection; warrants.

To carry out the purposes of this article, the Director may obtain a warrant pursuant to § 19.2-52, or with the consent of the owner enter upon and conduct reasonable inspections of any property in the Commonwealth to determine if a nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species is present and to seize or eradicate any nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species found on such property.

2003, c. 446.

§ 29.1-576.1. Zebra mussels; education program.

The Director shall establish an education program that instructs boaters and other members of the public in methods of preventing or slowing the infestation of the waters of the Commonwealth by zebra mussels, quagga mussels, or other nonindigenous aquatic nuisance species as defined in § 29.1-571. The education program may be delivered through the boating safety education program required by § 29.1-735.2, by posting on the Department's website, or by other means, and shall include cleaning and draining guidelines, designated dry times for watercraft and other recreational equipment, and public outreach, including published instructions and training videos.

2016, c. 540.

§ 29.1-577. Penalties.

Any person who violates any provision of this article or who knowingly obstructs the Director or his designee in carrying out his lawful duties under this article shall upon such finding by a court of proper jurisdiction (i) be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $25,000, which shall be paid into the Game Protection Fund established pursuant to § 29.1-101, and (ii) be liable for the costs of investigation, control, and eradication incurred by any state agency, local government, political subdivision, or authority as a result of such unlawful conduct.

2003, c. 446.

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