Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In Virginia [Yes, But Why]

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Killing an animal is inhumane. There are multiple laws for the protection of animals in the USA. Illegal hunting, killing, or shooting of any bird or wildlife can lead to jail and a hefty fine. However, many states allow the hunting of specific pigeons depending on their population. So, is it illegal to kill pigeons in Virginia?  

It is illegal to kill pigeons or any other birds in Virginia. The state does allow the hunting of migratory pigeons during the game season, which happens yearly from September to November. However, it is illegal to shoot, hunt or kill homing pigeons.

Continue reading the article to learn more detail about pigeon hunting in Virginia.  

Which Types of Pigeons are illegal to hunt and eat in Virginia?

It is illegal to hunt and eat homing pigeons in Virginia. The state authorities do not allow hunting, trapping, and killing of any homing bird. According to the Code 1950, it is illegal to cause any harm or wound to the homing pigeon on private or public property.  

The common pigeon species living in Virginia are the Rock dove, Mourning dove, White-winged dove, Frillback, and common ground dove. It is unlawful to kill any of these species without any valid reason. The state allows the killing of pigeons only if they are causing any nuisance and damaging the property.  

During gaming season, Virginia state authorities allow the hunting of migratory pigeons, including a Rock dove, Mourning dove, White-winged dove, and common ground dove. The bag limit of Migratory pigeons during the game is only fifteen. It is illegal to kill any migratory bird off-season and without a license.

Why is it illegal to hunt and eat pigeons in Virginia?

It is illegal to hunt or eat any homing pigeon in Virginia. These pigeons are selectively bred and are part of the Migratory bird act of 1918. Plus, Homing pigeon specie is also going endangered in the United States.

The Virginia state strongly condemns hurting any pigeon without any valid reason. Therefore, the authorities do not allow the hunting of any pigeon species unless they are a nuisance.  

Similar to other USA states, Virginia also organizes a yearly gaming season. During this gaming season, the hunters can shoot about 15 Migratory pigeons daily. However, Virginia state does not allow the eating of common pigeons. The pigeons are a carrier of many diseases that can spread infections in humans.  

Can I Shoot Pigeons In My Garden In Virginia State?

Yes. It is legal to shoot pigeons that are destroying or damaging your garden. Local authorities do not protect common pigeons. However, it is unlawful to cause any harm to the homing pigeon in Virginia. If a homing pigeon is nesting on your property, it is better to leave it alone or inform the wildlife.  

Pigeons are annoying and are even called rodents of the sky. Therefore, wild pigeons in Virginia are not protected. The state allows killing them even without a license in an infestation. To shoot annoying pigeons, you must possess a good quality licensed air rifle that can kill the bird without causing must pain.

The necessary aspect you must consider before shooting pigeons in your garden is the type of area. It is illegal to use a weapon in residential areas. Therefore, look for alternative methods or ask wildlife for help.  

What Are The Alternatives Ways To Eliminate Pigeons From Your Property In Virginia?  

It is easy to shoot birds but an inhumane way of eliminating pigeons. Before shooting the pigeons, try other methods to remove them. A few such tips and tricks are below to help you.  

  • The decoys of snakes, owls, and hawks can scare away pigeons.  
  • Place reflective items like CDs or mirrors to frighten pigeons. Large glass walls around the lawn and backyard can eliminate the pigeons.  
  • Install anti-bird spikes on the walls and windows to prevent pigeons from landing on your property.  
  • Remove bird feeders and other sources of food and water.  
  • Install sensor motion water pressure in your garden. It will remove all types of pests, including pigeons, raccoons, and rats.  
  • Grow pepper plants in your garden. Pigeons hate the smell of pepper and will avoid going near the area.  
  • Netting outdoor open areas will prevent pigeons from nesting on the property.  

Laws Governing Pigeon Shooting In Virginia State 

There are specific laws and regulations regarding pigeon hunting in Virginia. Ignoring these laws and hunting pigeons without a license or permit can cause a hefty fine. Following are some necessary laws in Virginia about pigeon shooting.

Hunting License  

A hunting license is mandatory for shooting pigeons on private or public property. People 15 to 18 must possess a minor hunting license and must be accompanied by an adult. The adults should have a hunting license and permit for shooting Migratory birds.  

Shooting Homing Pigeon

It is not legal to capture, hurt, harm, kill or shoot homing pigeons on any property in Virginia. This law exempts government employees that relocate or move pigeons only on the official request.  

Shooting Nuisance Pigeon  

The Virginia state authorities allow the shooting of nuisance pigeon species on private properties. The timing for shooting annoying pigeons begins from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunrise.  

Shooting For Amusement  

Shooting pigeons for entertainment or displaying shooting skills is illegal. Anyone participating in capturing or targeting pigeons for entrainment or practice purposes will be punishable by a fine.  

Shooting Pigeon On Sunday

According to article 2, 29.1-521 of Virginia state rule. It is unlawful to shoot any birds, including nuisance pigeons, on Sundays within the 200m of the worship place. It also prohibits hurting any young pigeon or its nest without a valid reason.  

Migratory Bird Hunting During Game Season 

The hunting of the Mourning dove split into three seasons: September first to October ninth, October thirty-first to November thirteenth, and December nineteenth to January twenty-fourth. The daily bag limit for mourning dove is 15, and the total possession limit for an entire season is 45.    

How Can you Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In Virginia State?

Virginia state is strict towards hurting wildlife, including pigeons. You can only shoot if they are a nuisance. Hunting or harming pigeons for no valid reason or entertainment is unlawful. The state authorities strongly condemn hurting any pigeon off-season. The pigeon hunting season begins in September and ends around January.  

Below are a few essential tips to help you in hunting or shooting pigeons in Virginia.  

  • Inform the local authorities about nuisance pigeons around your property. Look for alternate options for eliminating pigeons before shooting them.  
  • You must possess a hunting license for shooting or hunting on private or commercial property.  
  • The license is according to age. People under 18 should have a minor hunting license. People under 15 cannot hunt for pigeons, even on private properties.  
  • It is necessary to practice hunting objects before shooting live birds.  
  • Use high-quality weapons and aim for the target within 25 yards. Your aim must be smooth and should kill the target in one go without causing much pain.  
  • You cannot relocate, capture and shoot homing birds on private or commercial property.  
  • Use wood pigeon decoys and food to lure the target pigeon toward the hunting area.  
  • During gaming season, inform the daily bag count to the authorities.  
  • Properly dispose of the pigeon bodies after shooting them. Never leave the dead pigeon outside in open areas, which can cause many infectious diseases.  


It is not illegal to kill pigeons in Virginia, but state authorities strongly condemn hurting any bird. The state allows killing pigeons that are annoying and destroying your property. However, look for alternate methods before you shoot nuisance pigeons.    

You cannot kill or harm any homing birds on commercial or private property as they are endangered pigeon species. The Virginia state organizes the hunting of pigeons at the end of each year.

Every pigeon species has its own season time and bag count. You can hunt common pigeons all year if you possess a hunting license. However, it is not legal to kill pigeons for fun.