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Last updateMon, 27 Nov 2017 12am

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New hunting regulations you need to know

I took a look at the new hunting regulations and found that many changes have been made for this year. Here is a summary for local hunters:

Hunter Education Gone is the traditional 10 hour format. Prospective hunters will study on their own and then attend a six hour instruction course. The classroom portion will be centered on safety, ethics and conservation.

Apprentice Days
A change to assist in recruiting new hunters was made to add apprentice hunters to the youth days. Apprentice hunters will now be sharing youth days for deer, bear and turkey seasons.

Late archery season
Archery hunters wishing to continue hunting in the spring will now be able to take antlerless deer in April in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. I find this interesting because most bucks will have shed their antlers by April.

Early firearms season
Now there is also an early firearms season for antlerless only deer in September for Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. Remember that some areas prohibit firearms discharging and a special permit is required to hunt deer in Fairfax. Contact the Div. of Animal Control, 4500 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 for details.

Other local deer related hunting reg. changes

There is no longer a late antlerless only deer season in Fauquier County.

There are fewer doe days in Caroline, Essex, King George, and Spotsylvania. (other counties too but these were the localized ones).

If you hunt in Fairfax, Loudoun, or Prince William then you need to take more antlerless deer to earn a buck. However, Franklin, Fauquier, Patrick and Shenandoah counties are removed from Earn a Buck restrictions.
Some mountain counties have antler point restrictions now.

Deer nor elk may NOT be fed at all in Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties. Nor may they be fed at all during any deer or elk season in ANY county. All feed must be removed from feeders or sites BEFORE September 1st. AND, any site is still considered baited for 10 days AFTER the removal of food.

Squirrels
We may now hunt until the end of February for squirrels.

Public Lands
VDGIF has added a new WMA in Accomack County. It is called Doe Creek, is 447 acres in size and has good waterfowl hunting, archery and muzzleloader deer, spring gobbler quota hunts. Managed hunts will be for squirrels and woodcock.

Again, I took these changes directly from the regulation book and summarized them. For more detail please obtain the new regulation book and read the fine print. There are more quota hunts this year too with plenty of youth opportunities. Get a kid involved in hunting this season. We have a long squirrel and rabbit season, plenty of deer hunting opportunities and some good turkey hunting around our area. Don’t take a kid to a place after it has been hunted over or during a tough time to hunt or even a poor area where they are unlikely to see something. Make their dream come true and let them bag dinner.

Although we were hit hard with HD last year I am seeing plenty of nice deer in fields and powerlines lately. It is time to get a trail camera out and begin inventorying what we have running around our hunting lands for the year!

Given the cool and wet spring we had, I have been concerned about the turkey hatch survival rate. However, I am still seeing plenty of adult birds and am now beginning to see some poults too. Hopefully your observations are showing young turkey out there.

Mark Fike

 

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