Oh Deer! It’s Deer Season in Virginia!

The following is a video transcript.

Deer hunting season is upon us, and many hunters have been preparing for several months leading up to opening weekend. But when was the last time you refreshed your knowledge of the gun laws regarding deer season? Here are three legal considerations you need to keep in mind this hunting season.

Illegal Weapons

Number one, knowing what weapons can and cannot be used when hunting. In Virginia, it is illegal to use a centerfire rifle or pistol with a caliber smaller than .23 to hunt deer. Why is this an issue? Many new hunters think they can use a very popular .223 or 5.56 caliber weapon to hunt. Unfortunately, because these rounds are under the crucial .23 caliber mark, they are illegal weapons to hunt deer in Virginia. Be sure to verify the law for individual counties. Ensure they have no other specific regulations that may affect your hunting. Be familiar with and know the laws in the area you plan to hunt.

It is also worth noting, most of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries regulations do not change the overall laws that apply to Concealed Handgun Permit holders. This means someone with a valid Concealed Handgun Permit can continue to carry their concealed weapon with them when hunting, unless otherwise prohibited by law.

Chronic Wasting Disease

Number two, chronic wasting disease. Another huge concern in parts of Virginia and some surrounding states is chronic wasting disease, also known as “CWD”. CWD can affect deer all over Virginia but seems to be most prevalent in the Northwest part of the state. If you hunt in Shenandoah, Culpeper, Madison, or Orange County and harvest a deer on Saturday, November 16th, 2019, then you must take it to a testing site to test for chronic wasting disease. If you hunt in Shenandoah, Warren, Clark, Frederick, Culpeper, Madison, or Orange county, and harvest a deer at any other time, while not required, you may still want to take the deer to a CWD testing site.

Why would you want to have the deer tested? Many effects of the disease are still unknown, but one thing we know for certain is CWD is killing a large number of the deer population. The CDC recommends venison which tests positive for CWD be disposed of. It is also important to know if you’re coming from another county into Clark, Frederick, Shenandoah, or Warren counties to hunt and harvest a deer, the carcass of the animal you harvested generally cannot be removed from the county unless processed in a specific manner. This is a scary disease for the deer population, and it is important for hunters to work together to control it.

Hunting Baited Sites

Number three, hunting baited sites. A baited site is one where someone intentionally feeds deer or other wildlife. Baited hunting is a common practice in some states. In Virginia, however, it is unlawful and carries serious penalties if you’re found hunting a location with a salt or mineral block, or any other bait setup. This sometimes confuses people who may think hunting on the edge of a corn field is illegal. This is not necessarily the case. Obviously, you are going to be hunting areas where deer may be eating. If this were the case, there would probably be nowhere left to hunt. What’s prohibited is hunting a location where a bait station has been setup for the sole purpose of attracting game.

For other questions on hunting laws in your state, reach out to U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

Between the red tape and fine print, we know sportsman’s laws are tough and can be confusing. A single hunting violation can cost you thousands of dollars. Call us or log into your member portal today and add HunterShield for game-changing protection.

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