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Virginia Hunting License

Virginia hunting licenses are required of those who seek to harvest wildlife from the state’s wildernesses. Residents and visitors who wish to partake in this outdoor activity must buy hunting licenses, hunting permits and/or hunting stamps that are appropriate for the species of game they are chasing. Prior to purchasing hunting licenses, applicants must meet the VA hunting permit requirements set by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF). A license to hunt is classified by different categories based on the applicant’s age, residency status, the type of game the applicant plans to hunt and how long the hunting license will be valid. Hunting license application methods vary and can be chosen dependent on the requestor’s preference. While some applicants find it convenient to order online, others may wish to pick up a license to hunt at their local retailer. The above mentioned are just a few ways in which VA hunting licenses may be obtained. To qualify for a license to hunt, depending on their age, some hunting license applicants are required to complete a hunter education course. For the convenience of the applicant, the DGIF offers remote learning opportunities, making getting a hunting license an easy process throughout. Further information can be found in the text below on how to replace a hunting license that may have been lost, stolen or damaged. Read the sections below to learn more about how to get hunting licenses:

  • Types of hunting licenses in Virginia
  • How to buy hunting licenses in Virginia
  • Hunter education in Virginia


What types of hunting licenses are available in Virginia?

The types of hunting licenses offered by the Virginia DGIF vary based on factors such as the applicant’s age and the type of game he or she plans to hunt. Fees for hunting permits in Virginia vary based on the applicant’s residency status.

The main types of licenses available through the DGIF include the following:

  • Combination hunting and fishing license
  • Hunting license
  • Apprentice hunting license
  • Lifetime hunting license

Both residents and nonresidents enjoy similar hunting privileges. The main difference between the two is usually the price. Hunting licenses are also issued according to the type of weapon a hunter uses. For example, archery and muzzleloading licenses are each sold separately. Junior hunting licenses are issued to youths between the ages of 12 and 15.

To qualify for a resident hunting license, applicants must meet a set of qualifications set by the VA DGIF. Such requirements include: having been a resident of the state for the six months preceding the date of the hunting license purchase (or domiciled in the previous two months), being eligible to legally vote in Virginia, or being a member of the armed forces who is stationed on a military base. Students, including nonresident students living in campus housing, qualify as residents for the purpose of purchasing a license to hunt in Virginia. Finally, unnaturalized individuals who own property within the state or who have resided in the United States for at least five years are eligible to apply for a license to hunt as a Virginia resident.

How do I purchase hunting licenses in Virginia?

When buying hunting licenses in Virginia, you will find that there are many purchasing methods offered to applicants. Though, before you buy VA hunting permits, make sure you meet all the hunter safety requirements for the state. Hunting licenses can be purchased online, in person or by phone. Each option offers flexibility in where and how to procure licensure.

Online applicants can pay with a VISA or MasterCard credit or debit card. Upon purchase, the official hunting license document may be printed out immediately. Applicants who prefer to buy hunting licenses in person can do so in two different ways. The DGIF works in conjunction with the Virginia Circuit Courts to offer hunting licenses for sale at select clerk offices. Also, in-person applicants can visit any one of many authorized license agents that are located inside various retail locations throughout the state. The final way in which hunting licenses can be purchased is by phone. By contacting the DGIF Customer Service Department, customers may order a hunting credential during the center’s regular business hours.

Once you have purchased your hunting permit, you are authorized to hunt in the state, with limitations to this privilege based on the type of license you purchased.

Am I required to take any hunting classes in order to purchase a Virginia hunting license?

Individuals considering buying hunting licenses in Virginia should check to see if they are required to first complete a hunter safety course. Hunter education courses are mandatory for VA hunting license applicants who meet either one of the following requirements: They are between the ages of 12 and 15, or they have never purchased a hunting license before. Two options offered by the Virginia DGIF for satisfying hunter safety requirements include self-study and an online course.

Self-study students are tasked with learning most of the material at home and some in a classroom setting. Students who partake in this option will complete chapter exercises on their own time and submit them to the instructor at the start of their mandatory classroom session. Study manuals are free to download online or to pick up at any DGIF office location. Study manuals can be purchased by telephone for a fee. Students who obtain a manual by telephone are also responsible for paying a shipping and handling fee.

Students who choose the web-based hunter education course can complete it entirely online. To participate in the online option, hunter safety education students must be 12 years of age or older and Virginia residents. Students may print their certificate upon completion of the course.

Hunter safety courses in Virginia teach prospective hunters a number of useful skills based on topics such as hunting safety, principles of wildlife conservation and sportsmanship. Once you have completed your hunter safety course, you will receive a hunter education certificate, which you can then use to buy hunting licenses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. All throughout the United States, hunters safety classes must be completed in order for applicants to obtain their desired hunting permits and stamps. Failure to take this specific course will result in the rejection of your hunting license request, thus requiring you to start over.
Depending on your state of residence, you may be able to buy hunting licenses in a variety of ways, including online (through your state department’s portal), by mail, by phone or in person. Choose the option that is most convenient for you. Make sure to also have any type of official documentation and payment for fees on hand.
No. Different states have different limits and regulations on hunting licensure. Certain animals may be considered “prohibited species,” whereas other animals may be legal to hunt, so long as you have the necessary hunting permit/stamp. Keep in mind that if you do hunt for any type of prohibited species, you will be subject to serious consequences.
Yes. States typically offer various short-term hunters license options, such as one-day and one-week passes, to those who do not meet residency requirements. In order to receive issuance of a short-term hunting license, make sure to get in touch with your state/hunting wildlife department to find out the available methods you have to apply.
In the event your hunting credentials are lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, contact your state hunting/wildlife department to order a hunting license replacement. You may have to make an in-person visit to a local office to complete the process. At the time of your replacement request, you may be asked to present your state driving license or another type of identification.
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