Hunting and fishing are traditional uses within the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Eastern Virginia Rivers National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex, welcomes people of all backgrounds and abilities to participate in recreational hunting and fishing. 

Eastern Virginia Rivers NWR Complex, which Rappahannock River Valley NWR is a part, is seeking public review and comment on its proposed hunting and fishing plan. The public is invited to review the draft documents for the proposed hunts and fishing access, including the Draft Hunting and Fishing Plan, Compatibility Determination and Environmental Assessment. 

Draft documents are available online on the complex website at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Rappahannock_River_Valley/about/complex.html. The comment period will stay open through the end of the 2021–2022 Station-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations comment period, which will be announced in the Federal Register. The end of the comment period will be 60 days after the rule publishes, which they anticipate to be approximately mid-June. They will update the exact date later. Send comments to HuntFishRuleComments@fws.gov and include the refuge name in the subject line. For questions, you can contact the refuge at 804-333-1470 or Fw5rw_evrnwr@fws.gov to request more information. 

Eastern Virginia Rivers NWR Complex is proposing to: 

-Open hunting opportunities for new species: wild turkey; coyote; small game (squirrel and rabbit). Coyote and turkey can be hunted concurrently with deer hunting when seasons overlap.

-Open migratory birds (duck, coot, merganser, and light and dark goose) in 2022. 

-Small game hunting will be allowed on 1,181 acres and spring turkey quota hunt will be opened on 3,632 acres.

-Revision to season dates (e.g., new seasons associated with new species, occur during a period of October through April).

-1,478 new hunting acres are proposed for white tailed deer archery and 1,030 new hunting acres are proposed for white tailed deer shotgun.

-Reduced permitting requirements at some tracts are proposed.

A “Hunt Application/Permit” (FWS Form 3-2439) will continued to be required for most hunting on Rappahannock River Valley NWR. A permit fee for each type of hunt (deer, wild turkey and waterfowl) would be established (or continue to be charged for certain existing deer hunting opportunities) which helps to defray the costs of operation. Archery permits, would continue to be the same cost for a two-week hunt window. Permit applications would most likely be administered by a contracted company, as has been the case for the past three years. This contractor online portal collects hunter information, required fees, and issues permits. These services provide hunters with the ability to apply, pay for, and receive hunting permits in advance of the hunting dates.

Across the country, National Wildlife Refuges work closely with state agencies, tribes, and private partners to expand recreational hunting and fishing access. Hunting and fishing provide opportunities for communities, families, and individuals to enjoy the outdoors, support conservation efforts, and participate in a popular American tradition.