Annual deer feeding ban begins September 1

RICHMOND, Va. – It will be illegal to feed deer in the state of Virginia starting September 1.

The annual ban runs thorough the first Saturday in January in most of the state.  It is illegal to feed deer year-round in Buchanan, Clarke, Dickenson, Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, and Wise counties, including the cities and towns within.

All feed must be removed from any deer feeding site before September 1, and any area where deer feed has been distributed is cannot be hunted over for 10 days following the complete removal of food.

It is illegal to feed deer or elk in any county, city, or town during any deer or elk hunting season. Urban archery season runs through March and deer seasons run through April in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties.

These restrictions do not apply to agricultural plantings or food distributed to livestock.

Feeding deer can unnaturally increase deer populations and damage natural habitats, according to the Department of Game & Inland Fisheries. Deer hunting over bait is illegal in Virginia.

If you see or suspect someone of illegally feeding deer during this time period, or observe any wildlife violations, report it to DGIF’s Wildlife Crime Line at 1-800-237-5712.