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Learn About Virginia Hunting Licenses

A Virginia hunting license is a type of credential issued by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) that allows you to take wildlife in the commonwealth.

The DGIF, sometimes known as the DNR, sells a wide range of licenses that you can buy to suit your hunting, trapping or fishing needs. Licenses are required for almost every hunter, but you may be exempt as long as certain conditions are met.

Before you can buy a hunting permit, you will need to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements. Licenses are sold to both residents and non-residents, but you must verify that you live in Virginia if you want to qualify for resident rates.

A DNR license grants you permission to take many different types of wildlife, but be aware that you may need to buy additional permits in order to harvest certain species.

When using your DNR hunting license in Virginia, you will also need to ensure that you stick to the appropriate hunting season for any type of wildlife you are taking. Some species can be harvested at any time of year, while others are more strictly regulated, which results in shorter seasons.

Some licenses are valid for an entire year, whereas certain permits may expire at the end of a particular hunting season. For that reason, you will need to buy a new permit after your current one expires before you can continue hunting.

How to Get a Hunting License in Virginia

Finding out how to get a hunting license in Virginia is the first step to take if you want to get outdoors and hunt. You almost always need a hunting permit, issued by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), before you can hunt or trap any species of animal or bird in the commonwealth.

However, there are some exceptions to who needs to buy a license. If you are required to buy a permit, are several ways to get your credentials, such as ordering your license online, by phone or in person.

Before you can order an online hunting license or get your permit through any other means, you will need to meet the eligibility requirements for licensure.

Permits and licenses are available to both residents and non-residents, but there are a few different requirements you will need to know based on your age. In the sections below, find out whether you need to have a license and discover what steps you need to take when buying your credentials.

Types of Hunting Licenses in Virginia

A lifetime hunting license in Virginia is a great option for avid outdoorsmen who plan on hunting year after year. In addition to lifetime licenses, hunters can purchase temporary or annual licenses, and even extended licenses that are valid for multiple years. The available options vary depending on whether an applicant buys an out of state hunting license or a resident license. However, resident and non-resident licenses will come with the same rights and responsibilities regardless of a hunter’s residency.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) also issues licenses that are only available to youths and seniors. A youth hunting license or a senior permit will come with certain benefits, such as a lower fee to purchase the credential. In the sections below, hunters can learn everything they need to know about the types of hunting licenses in Virginia so that they can pick the correct license for any upcoming hunting trips in the commonwealth.

Hunter Safety and Education Courses in Virginia

A Virginia hunter safety course may be required before you can get a license from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF). A few exemptions apply, but in general you should expect to complete a hunter education course in order be qualified for your first hunt.

The DGIF recognizes certificates from other states, which means you do not need to complete a separate course in VA if you are applying for a resident license for the first time in the commonwealth.

A variety of hunters education opportunities are provided throughout the year, which makes it easy for first-time hunters to get the certifications they need. Classes can be taken online or in person, but most courses require at least one in-person session where hunters will demonstrate their skills.

In order to pass a class, all participants will also need to complete an exam. In the sections below, you can learn more about the DGIF education requirements and find out how to take a class.

Virginia Hunting Laws and Regulations

There is a hunting season in Virginia for most types of game animals, and knowing which season to use is one of the most important pieces of information you need as a hunter. There are a variety of regulations set by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), all of which you will need to follow in order to keep your license.

Hunting laws are put in place to keep hunters safe out in the field, both on their own and in the presence of other outdoorsmen. However, many hunting restrictions are also enacted to preserve wildlife populations as well as the environment.

Each hunter accepts a variety of responsibilities when applying for a license, and sticking to all the rules is important for everyone’s safety as well as the future of hunting. In the section below, outdoorsmen can find all of the information they need to know before planning a hunting trip in Virginia.