Small Game Hunting Overview

Legal Hunting Methods and Restrictions

For small game hunting, several methods are legally permissible, but they come with specific restrictions. It's crucial for hunters to be aware of these details to ensure compliance with the law.

Modern Firearms

Using modern firearms for small game hunting is allowed, but hunters should refer to the section on "Legal Use of Firearms & Archery Tackle" for detailed restrictions and compliance requirements.


Arrowguns are considered a legal method for hunting small game. However, hunters should consult local regulations for any specific restrictions.

Archery Tackle

Archery tackle is permissible in small game hunting. As with other methods, it's essential to check for any local ordinances or specific rules that may apply.

Muzzleloading Firearms

Hunters can use muzzleloading firearms for hunting small game. Detailed guidelines and restrictions are available in the legal documentation pertaining to firearms use.

Use of Dogs

The use of dogs in hunting small game is authorized. Hunters should be aware of any specific regulations or limitations related to this practice.

Season Dates and Regulations for Specific Game

Crow Hunting

  • Season Dates: August 19 - March 15 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. On National Forest Lands and Department lands, these days are also applicable.
  • Regulations: Crows are a federally regulated migratory species. No HIP registration is required, and hunters may use unplugged shotguns. Electronic calls are allowed on both private and public lands. Written landowner permission is not required unless hunting on posted property.

Groundhog Hunting

  • Season Dates: Continuous open season on private lands. On National Forest and Department lands, the season is September 1 - March 10 and during the spring turkey season. Hunting is not permitted on National Forest lands during the spring squirrel season.
  • Regulations: Hunters can pursue groundhogs during the spring squirrel season on Department lands open for this purpose.

Grouse Hunting

  • Season Dates: October 28 - February 10 west of I-95. East of I-95, there is a continuous closed season.
  • Bag Limit: Three per day.

Quail & Pheasant Hunting

  • Season Dates: November 11 - January 31. Quail hunting is closed on all public lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Bag Limits: Quail - six per day. Pheasant - no daily or seasonal bag limit.

Rabbit Hunting

  • Season Dates: November 4 - February 29.
  • Bag Limit: Six per day.
  • Additional Regulations: For important regulation additions, refer to the section "Attention Rabbit Hunters".

Squirrel Hunting (Gray, Red, Fox)

  • Bag Limit: A combined limit of six per day for all squirrels.
  • Fall Seasons:
    • Gray and Red Squirrels: September 2 - February 29, statewide.
    • Fox Squirrels: September 2 - January 31 in designated areas only.
  • Spring Season: June 1 - 15, 2024, closed on National Forest Lands. Specific Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) allow hunting for gray and red squirrels unless otherwise posted.

Hunting Preserves

  • Season Dates: September 1 - April 30, including Sundays.
  • Regulations: Pen-raised game birds can be hunted on licensed preserves. Residents require a hunting license, while nonresidents need either a nonresident hunting license or a special preserve license.
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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.