Virginia Safari List

by Chris McCotter

If there was a list of Virginia safari animals, what would be on it?

One that immediately comes to mind would be black bear, right? Then whitetail deer and turkey, to round out the top three big game species in the Old Dominion. But what about elk now that Virginia has an established, huntable herd? If one was actually awarded one of the six Virginia elk hunting special licenses, wouldn’t it be an amazing challenge to have to go harvest bear, deer and turkey in the same season? I mean a Hat Trick is possible, but a Grand Slam, now that would be a serious challenge.

What other animals could be on a Virginia safari list?

Fox, bobcat, coyote? Rabbit, raccoon, squirrel? Is a squirrel even substantial enough? Look up the Damara Dik Dik and see the smallest African safari animal.

Virginia fisherman and women have Master Angler status and then different levels after that to try and attain. Just ask W2 Pro Team member Aaron Ball or Stephen Miklandric. 

Why shouldn’t there be something similar for hunters? 

Speaking of elk hunting. Elk hunting in Virginia is possible in Buchanan, Dickenson and Wise counties, but only through an elk hunt lottery and only for six lucky lottery winners.

Virginia’s first elk hunt within the Elk Management Zone (Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise counties) will occur October 8–14, 2022. This comes on the 10-year anniversary of Virginia’s elk restoration program. Only six lucky hunters will have the opportunity to harvest a bull elk from Virginia’s restored elk population. 

Stay tuned later this fall to hear about the hunters’ success and if they go on to at least try and notch a Virginia Grand Slam that includes the bear, deer and turkey harvests.

Information on applying for the fall 2023 elk hunt will be available in January 2023. Interested individuals may apply for the lottery between February 1 and March 30 annually. The fee to apply for the elk hunt lottery is $15 for Virginia residents and $20 for non-residents.

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