Woman dressed warmly in camouflage and standing in marsh reeds aims a shotgun into the air

Our 14,000-acre refuge is a world-class hunting destination. Every fall, huge flocks of waterfowl stop at the refuge along their migration route. The area is one of the best places to bag the beautiful Atlantic brant, a small goose species that feeds on the eelgrass of the estuary flats. Nearly two dozen species of duck may be seen during a hunt, from puddlers like mallard and black duck, to divers like scaup and bufflehead, to sea ducks like long-tailed ducks. Snow geese and a growing population of resident Canada geese use the refuge. There is a limited tag hunt for tundra swans administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia. As fantastic as the waterfowl hunting may be, it is often the big game that attract hunters. In 1915, Boy Scouts released a small herd of sika deer on the island after using them for a summer petting zoo. The deer quickly adapted to the marshy environments. Today, to keep the population of this non-native species in balance, refuge managers count on hunters to control the herd. The sika and white-tailed deer hunts are offered following the state of Virginia big game season.

2022-2023 Hunt Season information coming soon

Additional Information

Related Documents

The 2022 hunt plan for Chincoteague and Wallops Island National Wildlife Refuges.