What’s New?

by Chris McCotter

Virginia Migratory Game Bird Proposals

Each year, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) develops recommendations for Migratory Game Bird hunting seasons and bag limits in Virginia in accordance with the annual U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service migratory bird hunting regulations or “Federal Frameworks”.

   These “frameworks” are based on current bird population levels, and establish the basic season

parameters such as season lengths, total bag limits and dates within which the seasons can be

  The Virginia DWR sets the season dates and bag limits for Virginia within these basic  frameworks. The preliminary Federal Frameworks for the 2023–2024 hunting seasons were published in January 2023.

  Based on these proposed federal regulations, the Virginia DWR has

developed recommendations for the migratory game bird seasons and bag limits in Virginia.

  The public can comment on these recommendations by email from February 8 through March 3, 2023 at the following address: MigratoryGameBirdComments@dwr.virginia.gov

  After consideration of the public comments, final DWR staff proposals will be developed and presented to the DWR Board for final action at their March 16, 2023 meeting.

  Regulations approved by the Board will go into effect for the 2023-2024 hunting season starting on September 1, 2023. 

Virginia Elk Hunt Lottery Now Accepting Applications

  The hunt for the 2023–2024 Virgina Elk season will be held Saturday, October 14, 2023 – Friday, October 20, 2023. There are five (5) antlered elk licenses available for this year’s hunt via lottery. Application period for the elk lottery will open February 1, 2023, and close March 30, 2023. Applications for a special elk hunting license can be obtained online, under elk hunting, or by calling the Department of Wildlife Resources Customer Service for assistance in applying via phone.

  Applications require a non-refundable fee of $15 for Virginia residents and $20 for out-of-state residents. Winners of the elk hunting lottery will then need to purchase a special elk hunting license for $40 for in-state residents, and $400 for out-of-state residents. The special elk hunting license is not transferrable to another individual. Winners of the randomized computer drawing will be notified by May 30th. You can also check the status of your application by visiting your DWR GoOutdoorsVA page.

  Once awarded a special elk hunting license, applicants will have 30 days from notification to purchase the license. Licenses that are not purchased by the deadline will be awarded to alternate hunters who will be drawn concurrently with the original hunters. Alternates will not be announced or notified unless they become eligible to purchase a special elk hunting license. Elk hunters 15 years of age and younger or holders of an apprentice hunting license must be accompanied by and directly supervised by an adult who has a valid Virginia hunting license or is exempt from purchasing a hunting license. All applicants who are drawn for a Virginia special elk hunting license must read and acknowledge the “Elk Hunting Considerations” prior to beginning their hunt, which will be provided in their elk hunter orientation materials.

  DWR has many partnerships and agreements with private landowners in the Elk Management Zone that allow public access for elk hunting. Details about properties are only provided to elk license holders because of landowner privacy.

   Applications to the elk lottery will be limited to a single application, per drawing, per person. Duplicate, falsified, or improper applications will be removed from the applicant pool. Drawings will be completely random and will be done with witnesses present.   

 Applicants who are awarded a special elk hunting license will not be eligible to re-apply for three consecutive years to the special elk hunting license application. A successful applicant’s chances for any other Virginia quota hunts are not affected by the results of the elk application process. Applicants to Virginia’s elk hunt will not accumulate preference points or bonus points of any kind for years in which they are not drawn.

  For more information and to apply, visit https://quotahunt.gooutdoorsvirginia.com/Hunts/CustomerLookup.aspx

• All elk hunt lottery applicants are assigned a random number between 1 and the total number of applicants using a random number generator.

• Opportunities to purchase a special elk hunting license will be offered to the applicant randomly assigned number 1 and proceed sequentially until all slots have been filled in accordance with the following requirements.

o 1 license must go to someone who lives within the elk management zone

o No more than 1 license can be purchased by an out of state hunter

• If the winner who resides in the elk management zone cannot purchase the license, the next consecutive resident elk management zone applicant will be offered the opportunity.

• If any of the other 4 winners are unable to purchase the special elk license within 30 days, the opportunity to purchase a license will be offered to the next consecutive applicant meeting residency requirements.

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