Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 29.1. Game, Inland Fisheries and Boating
9/24/2018

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.

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