Hunters track and kill rabbits for sport, meat, furs and lucky rabbit's feet. In Virginia, rabbit hunting season begins on October 30 and runs through February 28. Before hunting, check the state's laws regarding rabbit hunting. During the hunt, be sure to look for the small game near the edges of fields and roads where there are briars and thickets.
In order to hunt rabbits in Virginia, you must first receive a hunting license from a licensed agency, circuit court or the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website. To qualify for a hunting license, you must be a resident of the state for at least six months or live in the state for two months and have an approved affidavit from the Game Department. Nonresident students enrolled in a Virginia school and members of the armed forces stationed in Virginia also may apply for a license to hunt rabbits. However, you don't need a license to hunt on your own private property. Resident children under the age of 12 also do not need a hunting license, but must be under the supervision of a licensed adult hunter.
Virginia allows you to hunt rabbits using modern firearms, archery tackle such as bows and crossbows, muzzle-loading firearms and the aid of hunting dogs as long as you follow hunting dog regulations, such as not using dogs when hunting with archery tackle or on a baited site. However, individual national and state parks and forests may restrict the use of certain hunting methods. This may include the use of dogs altogether, the use of certain weapons or the use of tree stands. During rabbit hunting reason you may only legally bag six rabbits per day.
You can hunt rabbits on both private property or public property in Virginia. If hunting on private property you must have written permission from the landowner to do so. As of 2011, if you illegally hunt a hare on posted private property, you could be fined up to $2,500, spend 12 months in jail or both. If the land is not posted as private, you may be fined up to $500. Virginia also hosts national forests, state forests, state parks, national parks and federal refuges where you can hunt for rabbits. However, you must follow the individual rules of each location.
You should employ the leapfrogging technique when rabbit hunting. The method consists of choosing a patch of wilderness, hunting in this one area for a certain amount of time and then moving on to another patch of wilderness. Leapfrogging increases your chances of finding hares. If hunting on private farmland, it's a good idea to utilize the knowledge of the farmer. Chances are that he knows where the rabbits feed and take shelter. Also, instead of scanning the brush for the rabbit's entire body, it's best to concentrate on spotting the rabbit's round, dark eyes.
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries: Hunting Licenses and Fees
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries: Hunting on Private Property
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries: Public Hunting Lands
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries: Small Game Hunting Seasons
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries: General Information & Hunting Regulations
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