Urban Archery Season

September 16-October 6, 2006 and January 8-March 31, 2007 within the incorporated limits of the cities of Colonial Heights, Danville, Emporia, Franklin, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Radford, Richmond, and Winchester, and the towns of Altavista, Amherst, Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Farmville, Independence, Rocky Mount, Tazewell, West Point and in Fairfax County. This season is open only in the localities just named.

This page is organized into the following sections below:

  1. General restrictions for all participating localities,
  2. Restrictions and other information specific to each participating locality,
  3. Background information about the urban archery season.

General Information (for all localities)

  • Only antlerless deer may be taken.
  • Lists of properties available for hunting are not maintained by the Virginia Department of Game of Inland Fisheries or local governments. To find available properties, visit with or contact local landowners, hunters, or check stations. Hunters in Fairfax County may wish to contact Suburban Whitetail Management of Northern Virginia, Inc.
  • You must obtain permission to hunt from the landowner. You must also obtain permission to pursue or retrieve deer from neighboring landowners. Due to the small size of parcels and proximity of residences, you or the landowner should notify adjacent property owners or tenants, as a courtesy, before hunting.
  • License and tagging requirements for the urban archery season are the same as for the other archery seasons in Virginia. You must purchase an archery license to hunt during any special archery season. See "License Requirements".
  • NEW: Crossbows are defined by law as a type of bow and are therefore legal during urban archery season. However, to use a crossbow during any special archery season, you must also purchase a crossbow license. See "License Requirements".
  • The season bag limit for deer cannot be exceeded unless bonus deer permits are purchased. See "Bonus Deer Permits".
  • Most localities participating in the urban archery season also allow archery hunting during other traditional deer seasons; i.e., early archery season, general firearms season, and late archery season (see below). Antlered deer may be taken during these traditional seasons, provided that the locality of interest allows archery hunting then. Remember that only antlerless deer may be taken during the urban archery season.
  • Bucks that drop antlers prior to the conclusion of the urban archery season are considered "antlerless" and may be legally harvested and tagged with an antlerless-only deer tag.
  • Deer must be checked by calling 1-866-GOT-GAME or at a big game check station.

Local Urban Archery Restrictions for 2006-2007

Altavista

  • Except for target shooting, discharge of archery equipment is prohibited within 100 yards of an occupied dwelling.
  • No hunting on private property without written permission from the landowner.
  • Except for target shooting, archery equipment can only be discharged from elevated stands.
  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season and the general firearms deer season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all other applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Amherst

  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season, the general firearms deer season, and during the late archery season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Blacksburg

  • Town Code restricts archery hunting only to properties in the agricultural and forestal districts.
  • Hunters must get permission to hunt from individual property owners.
  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season, the general firearms deer season, and during the late archery season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Christiansburg

  • Except for target shooting, discharge of archery equipment is restricted to land consisting of five (5) acres or more that is approved by the Town Manager and the Chief of Police.
  • Hunters must register with the Christiansburg Police Department to hunt on town property.
  • Hunters must carry written permission from individual property owners to hunt.
  • Agreement must be made between the participant and landowner in reference to field dress.
  • No person shall discharge a bow within 100 yards of any dwelling, building, street, sidewalk, alley, roadway, public land or public place within Town limits.
  • No person shall discharge a bow from, over or across any street, sidewalk, alley, roadway, or public land or public place within Town limits or toward any building or dwelling in such a manner that an arrow may strike it.
  • Except for target shooting, archery equipment can only be discharged from an elevated stand with a minimum height of 12 (twelve) feet.
  • Hunters must dispose of deer carcasses appropriately. Carcasses should be double bagged and will be taken by the local landfills.
  • No person shall hunt deer within the Town by use of dog or dogs.
  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season, the general firearms deer season (as set by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries) and during the late archery season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Urban Archery Season is restricted to hunting antlerless deer only.
  • Hunters must abide by all applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Colonial Heights

  • No hunting is permitted on City property.
  • Hunters must gain permission to hunt from property owners.
  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season and the general firearms deer season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Danville

  • Archery deer hunting in Danville is restricted to the urban archery season.
  • Any person discharging a bow must carry written permission from the property owner(s).
  • No person shall discharge a bow from, over, or across any street, sidewalk, alley, roadway, or public land or public place or toward any building or dwelling in such a manner that an arrow may strike it.
  • No person shall discharge a bow unless from an elevated position of at least ten (10) feet above the ground.
  • Hunters must abide by all other applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Emporia

  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season and the general firearms deer season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Fairfax County

  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season and the general firearms deer season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).
  • Hunters must gain written permission for posted property and verbal for un-posted property.
  • It shall be unlawful to discharge an arrow in a manner that can be reasonably expected to result in the impact of the arrow upon the property of another without permission from the owner, fee holder, or tenant.

Farmville

  • Except for target shooting, discharge of archery equipment is prohibited within 100 yards of a dwelling.
  • Except for target shooting, discharge of archery equipment is restricted to land that is five (5) or more acres under lease or ownership.
  • Hunting is restricted to parcels of private property where written permission has been obtained from the property owner.
  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season and the general firearms deer season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all other applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Franklin

  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season and the general firearms deer season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Independence

  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season, the general firearms deer season, and during the late archery season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Lynchburg

  • A city ordinance prohibits discharge of a bow or other weapon except on properties where the owners have been issued a kill permit, shotgun discharge permit, or bow discharge permit. The landowner - not the hunter - must annually apply for the appropriate permit.
  • Where property damage from deer is verifiable, a kill permit may be issued to the landowner if the Chief Animal Warden deems the property safe for the discharge of archery equipment or shotguns. Archery hunters wishing to assist must be specifically named on the kill permit. No acreage minimums are required for issuance of kill permits.
  • Where property damage from deer is not verifiable, archery hunting is still an option on properties where the owners have been issued a bow discharge permit (5 or more contiguous acres) or a shotgun discharge permit (25 or more acres).
  • When hunting, all hunters must have in their possession written permission from the landowner.
  • Archery equipment can only be discharged from an elevated tree stand located at least twelve (12) feet above the ground on approved properties.
  • No person shall discharge a bow from, over or across any street, sidewalk, alley, roadway, or public land or public place within the city limits or toward any building or dwelling in such a manner that an arrow may strike it.
  • No person shall hunt deer in the city by use of dog or dogs.
  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season and the general firearms deer season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all other applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Martinsville

  • Hunters must obtain written permission from the property owner.
  • No firearms other than a bow and arrow may be in the hunter's possession.
  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season, the general firearms deer season, and the late archery season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Discharge of an arrow is permitted only in order to take a deer. No discharge of an arrow shall be made toward any person, any animal other than a deer, any structure or any vehicle in such a manner as the arrow may strike such person, animal, structure or vehicle, nor shall a discharge be made in such a manner that the arrow may strike in any roadway.
  • Archery equipment can only be discharged from temporary platforms elevated at least seven feet above the ground. Any disabled hunter unable to hunt from such a platform must comply with all regulations established by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
  • No pursuit of an injured or wounded deer shall be permitted upon the land of neighboring landowners unless the hunter has first obtained permission from that landowner. No field dressing of deer shall be permitted without the permission of the landowner.

Radford

  • Discharge of archery equipment within city limits is only permitted for hunting.
  • On private property, discharge of archery equipment is restricted to parcels at least seven (7) acres in size where permission has been obtained from the landowner.
  • On city property, hunting is restricted to lands specifically identified on a map available from the Assistant City Manager, subject to written permission from the city.
  • Archery equipment can only be discharged from an elevated tree stand located at least ten (10) feet above the ground.
  • Discharge of archery equipment is not permitted within 100 feet of any highway, alley, roadway, sidewalk, or designated foot trail.
  • Discharge of archery equipment is not permitted within 300 feet of any residence.
  • Arrows may not be shot in the direction of an occupied dwelling, highway, alley, roadway, sidewalk, or designated foot trail.
  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season, the general firearms deer season, and during the late archery season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all other applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Richmond

  • No hunting is permitted on City property.
  • Hunters must gain permission to hunt from property owners.
  • This season does not authorize the use of firearms for hunting deer within the City.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge arrows from a bow or crossbow in any street or public alley of the City.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge an arrow at or upon the property of another without permission.
  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season and the general firearms deer season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Rocky Mount

  • Hunting is restricted to parcels of private property where written permission has been obtained from the landowner.
  • Hunting is prohibited on school or church property.
  • Discharge of archery equipment is permitted only for the taking of deer.
  • Archery equipment can only be discharged from an elevated tree stand located at least ten (10) feet above the ground.
  • Discharge of archery equipment is not permitted within 100 feet of any highway, street, alley, roadway, sidewalk, or designated foot trail.
  • Discharge of archery equipment is not permitted within 300 feet of any residence.
  • Arrows may not be shot in the direction of any residence, highway, street, alley, roadway, sidewalk, or designated foot trail.
  • Firearms cannot be used or carried while deer hunting.
  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season, the general firearms deer season, and during the late archery season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all other applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Tazewell

  • Archery deer hunting in Tazewell is restricted to the urban archery season.
  • Hunters must receive written permission from the property owner.
  • Except for target shooting, discharge of archery equipment is prohibited within 500 yards of a school or dwelling.
  • Except for target shooting, discharge of archery equipment is restricted to land that is a minimum of 10 (ten) acres.
  • Except for target shooting, archery equipment can only be discharged from an elevated stand with a minimum height of 12 feet.
  • Hunters must abide by all other applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

West Point

  • In addition to the urban archery season, archery deer hunting is also allowed during the early archery season and the general firearms deer season (i.e., from the first Saturday in October through the first Saturday in January).
  • Hunters must abide by all applicable sections of the Virginia State Code and Virginia Hunting Regulations (including bag limits and tagging/checking requirements).

Winchester

  • Discharge of a bow is permitted only on land that is five (5) acres or more of continuous area, approved by the City Manager and the Chief of Police.
  • The landowner(s) must apply for an annual permit from the City Manager to use their property for purpose of discharging archery equipment and have identified their properties as such by signage approved by the Chief of Police.
  • Any person discharging a bow shall, at all times, while engaged in such activity, have in his possession written permission from the landowner(s) to discharge such a weapon on his premises.
  • Discharge of a bow must be done from an elevated stand with a minimum height of ten (10) feet.
  • No person shall discharge a bow within one hundred (100) yards of any dwelling, building, street, sidewalk, alley, roadway, public land or public place within City limits.
  • No person shall discharge a bow from, over, or across any street, sidewalk, alley, roadway, or public land or public place within City limits or toward any building or dwelling in such a manner that an arrow may strike it.
  • No person shall hunt deer within the City limits by use of a dog or dogs.
  • Deer carcasses must be disposed of appropriately.
  • The hunter and the landowner(s) shall agree in reference to field dress.

Background Information

Human-deer conflicts are increasing in urban areas throughout the Commonwealth. Numerous cities, towns, and urbanized counties have requested assistance regarding damage caused by deer to vehicles and personal property. Residential, commercial, and industrial development has altered the landscape of Virginia. In many cases, more favorable habitat conditions for white-tailed deer populations have resulted, and deer populations have flourished. Additionally, many jurisdictions have enacted local ordinances to prohibit the discharge of firearms. This creates large tracts of land that act as refuges (sanctuaries) for unregulated growth of deer populations.

The objective of the urban archery season is to reduce human/deer conflicts in urban areas by concentrating archery-hunting pressure in urban/suburban areas. Archery deer hunting is an effective, quiet method for harvesting deer in urban settings. The concept is modeled after a successful urban archery season initiated several years ago in West Virginia. Additionally, urban archery seasons have been used as an effective deer management option for numerous years in several Midwestern states.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries established an urban archery season during 2002 to assist towns and cities across the Commonwealth with urban deer management issues. The urban archery season gives localities a means to reduce deer populations within their limits while at the same time providing hunting recreation. The regulation that establishes this season is permissive, and the season was made available to every incorporated city and town in Virginia and to Fairfax and York counties. Therefore, the season is only "open" in those towns, cities, and counties that requested to participate in writing.

Any locality participating in the urban archery season will remain in the program until it notifies the Department otherwise. Any city, town, or county no longer participating in this season shall submit by certified letter to the department prior to April 1 notice of its intent not to participate in the special urban archery season. On the other hand, a locality that is not currently participating, but wishes to do so, shall submit by certified letter to the department prior to April 1 notice of its intent to participate in the urban archery season.

To make this season a success, urban archery deer hunters are asked to be extra careful with respect to safety, to respect the property rights of all landowners, and to report any questionable behavior or violations they may witness. Because many urban archers may be hunting on small acreages and/or near dwellings during, they are reminded to be very careful with respect to trespassing and to notify adjacent landowners or tenants as a courtesy. State law does not allow a hunter to follow a wounded animal on to another person's property without the landowners' permission.

We as an agency are very pleased with this season that provides a permissive proactive approach for urban deer management to local governments. Hunters or citizens who have questions or comments about the urban archery season are asked to call Nelson Lafon, Deer Project Coordinator, at nelson.lafon@dgif.virginia.gov or (540) 248-9295.